15% of VOOT’s 80 mn subscriber base watches kids' content: Sudhanshu Vats

In a move to tap into a digital-savvy generation, Viacom18 is turning its kids’ offering on their OTT platform VOOT into an independent multi-format app offering audio books, e-books, content, and quizzes. The move reflects their commitment to strengthening their digital tree of services to reflect the changing consumption habits.

Christened VOOT Kids, the platform is certified by Early Childhood Association (ECA) and seeks to create a seamless experience for both fun and learning in a safe, parentally controlled environment. Priced at Rs 799 for a year and Rs 99 per month with Free Trials in both packages, the VOOT Kids app is available to download on iOS and Play Store.

Making the announcement about VOOT Kids, Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18, said that the platform was in line with “Our mission is to connect every story to its audience and every audience to its story. To achieve that, we need to be platform, pipe and screen agnostic.”

In a presentation, Vats shared some impressive numbers affirming why Viacom18 is a leader in the kids’ space. Viacom18’s kids’ channel, Nickelodeon, has been the No.1 kids’ channel for the past 5 years straight, leading with twice as many viewers against its closest competitor, POGO TV. Their other TV channels Sonic Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. are also performing well. As per BARC India data for Week 44 of 2019, Nickelodeon leads the kids’ genre with a gross viewership of 191,758, while Sonic Nickelodeon is placed in the third spot with a gross viewership of 81,988. Viacom18’ overall network share of the kids’ genre stood at 34 per cent, which is far ahead of its competitors, who were at 23 per cent and 18 per cent.

In its 3-year-old digital journey, VOOT has made great strides among digital viewers. Quoting latest numbers, Vats said that the platform is seeing 80 million monthly active users (MAUs). These are encouraging numbers for the organisation that is targeting 100 million MAUs. Time spent on the VOOT platform is highest in the industry, with the average user spending 50 minutes on the app daily. This amounts to 135 billion minutes of watch time and counting.

Vats further shared that 15 per cent of the daily users of VOOT watch kids’ content, which includes both kids and adults. Given the strength of this co-viewing, and with the kids’ space slated to be even bigger in the future, Viacom18 is investing heavily in building a platform specifically for kids.

The opportunity

India has close to 400 million kids in the country aged between 2 years and 10 years, with 107 million households with kids; and these 107 million homes have at least one TV set and multiple smartphone devices.

Saugato Bhowmik, Business Head, VOOT Kids, describes the opportunity as such, “We found that parents are looking for holistic development of their child, including emotional development, cognitive development, physical skills development, life skills development and fun.”

Continuing further, he said, “Because of that need they start curating different activities – both offline and online. All of this is very disaggregated. We asked if we could balance all this in one app and deliver it to the parent at a reasonable price which is much lower than what they are spending at different points. That’s how the VOOT Kids idea took shape and the product was developed.”

Viacom18’ internal research showed that Indian parents spend up to $2 billion or Rs 14,000 crore on books, toys, skill development, casual gaming and other developmental coaching for their children.

The offering

The catchup content from Viacom18’s TV channels will account for 20 per cent of the content on the VOOT Kids’ app, which is offering 20,000 pieces of content.

VOOT Kids will not be a video-only app, but will offer e-books, audio storytelling and parental control features, which technically makes it a learning app in competition with players such as Disney BYJU’s. There will be no in app advertising.

Viacom18 is offering VOOT Kids at Rs 99 per month, which, they claim, is far lesser than the amount parents are spending right now to develop their children’s skills.

Viacom18 will leverage the entire network’s strength in promoting the app and has launched a 360-degree marketing campaign across TV, digital, OOH, radio and print. A TVC has been released, which has been conceptualised by McCann Worldwide.



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