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Decoding kids’ genre in OTT space: Part 1 – The market dynamics

The OTT (over-the-top) space has been gaining rapid momentum and the entry of new players has intensified the competition. In a bid to woo different segments of the audience, OTT players have been introducing targeted content. While Sony Liv and Hotstar are betting big on sports and originals, Viacom18’s Voot, nexGtv, dittoTV and YuppTv are building up a strong content line-up aimed at the 5-12 age group. 

Kids content on OTT has become a fast growing segment. nexGTv launched ‘nexGTv Kids’ app with videos and infotainment for kids in May 2016. The app features nursery rhymes, fairy tales, Akbar Birbal stories, Panchtantra tales, Vikram & Betal, Ducktales, Malgudi Days and Champak. Viacom18’s Voot has also built a strong vertical around kids. YouTube has also come up with YouTube Kids in India in partnership with leading content creators like ChuChu TV, Toonz Animation, Sesame Workshop and Appu Series. In November 2016, SonyLIV launched LIV Kids boasting 100+ videos (shows and rhymes) in English and Hindi free of cost and plans to add substantial amount of content around kids in sometime. 

To trace the growth of the kids genre in the Indian OTT space and gain insight in the market dynamics, content development, etc., Adgully spoke to a cross-section of industry experts… 

Disruption in kids’ content on OTT platforms 

According to, Archana Anand, Head of Digital - India Z5 Business (dittoTV, Ozee and the new Premium offering) at Zee Digital Convergence, “Kids’ content is an area that is being increasingly focused on across all digital platforms the world over. Encompassing both educational and  entertainment content, kids are an increasingly important demographic for OTT companies because they are fast adopters of technology and tend to be much more loyal users, so adding not only traffic (and therefore revenue) but also lending stickiness to the platform. However, given the age group, there are various sensitivities that have to be factored in, both at a product and content level. I think we will see a lot of innovation in the space with regional language content and innovative themes/ storytelling styles.” 

Dushyant Kohli, Head - Growth, nexGTv, observed that OTT is fast emerging as the preferred medium for consumption of entertainment content for all age groups. The convenience of OTT platforms, coupled with the relevance and superior quality of the curated content on offer has helped them zoom in popularity. He added, “As OTT becomes the next big thing in terms of entertainment across genres, it was only natural for it to create a concomitant disruption in the kids’ content space. Today, kids’ OTT content is a huge market, which is being flooded with innovation in terms of quality, formats and achieving a perfect balance between entertainment and education. Moreover, producers are creating content considering the devices and infrastructure available for kids to consume the content on. Shorter formats are being given preference as they are more conducive to children’s eyesight and prevent habit creation or dependence while enabling a highly pleasurable viewing experience.” 

“If there is one space that is primed for disruption by digital video, it is the kids’ space,” remarked Gaurav Gandhi, COO, Viacom18 Digital Ventures, adding, “The ones born after 2006-07 have grown with touch screens…. they learn to swipe before they learn to walk or talk. They are the first ones to genuinely becoming screen agnostic – jumping from TV to their parents’ phones to the home laptop and/or to the tabs when the family is out shopping! They can’t live without their favourite toons and the world therein. Given that we understand this space well as a network (as we run the largest kids broadcast play in India), we wanted to extend our leadership position to other screens as well. Therefore, when we launched VOOT, we created a dedicated pin-protected world of kids – called VOOT Kids – within the main app and this world of kids has the largest digital repository for premium kids’ content in India – including the favourite toons from Nick, Turner channels and other big internationally popular characters. We are pretty much defining the disruption in this space with both product features as well as content.” 

Uday Reddy, CEO & Founder, YuppTV, pointed out, “Kids make up for the major 39 per cent of the viewing population for the OTT industry. Given the colossal opportunity made available in this space, along with the increasing adoption of VOD content viewing, OTT players are continuously innovating and disrupting the kids’ content. We are looking at better quality content, innovative formats and emergence of infotainment and edutainment content. Furthermore, the viewing experience is being revamped to suit the unique preferences of kids and hence, we see the presence of shorter and simplistic content.” 

The growth drivers 

Viacom18 Digital Ventures’ Gandhi claimed, “We have seen phenomenal response for VOOT Kids, which was quite in line with what we had expected, especially since we have pretty much all the favourite characters in one place. All data on the consumption patterns of kids across various platforms indicates that kids’ loyalty towards their favourite content and characters is extremely high. If they like a show or a character, they keep coming back to it. Kid’s content is turning out to be a key differentiator for us and continues to be a healthy contributor to the overall watchtime on VOOT – with close to 10-12 per cent of all views coming from VOOT Kids (the percentage is even higher if we look at only APP usage).” 

Echoing similar views, nexGTv’s Kohli said, “Kids’ content has shown remarkable growth on its own as well as in comparison to other genres in the OTT space. In fact, the number of repeat views for certain types of content is higher in the kids’ category than for any other segment, except music videos. The rise in numbers and the heightened traction can be attributed to the fact that children have much greater access to net-enabled devices than ever before. Parents are becoming more liberal in terms of usage time being allowed to children on OTT-compatible devices as they have come to realise that much of the content on offer is on demand and of a rich quality and educates while entertaining. This increase in OTT consumption is in turn fuelling growth in creation and curation of relevant content resulting in a very vibrant and fast-scaling ecosystem.” 

YuppTV’s Reddy observed that the kids’ genre has had one of the most promising growths in the past 12 months. “In fact, after the music videos, we have observed the maximum repeat viewership for kid’s content and hence, it isn’t difficult to decipher that the engagement on these formats is immense,” he added. 

OTT platforms Vs kids television 

While comparing to the television space, Kohli pointed out that OTT platforms might not eclipse live kids’ channels anytime soon. AT the same time, he added, “However, in view of the rapid rise in traction and acceptance that we are witnessing in this space, OTT platforms are definitely going to enjoy top spot as far as video-on-demand content in this genre goes. As children’s viewing patterns evolve, their preference for digital devices continues on its upward trajectory and parents and kids alike become more exacting about the kind of content they wish to consume/ allow access to, OTT is definitely going to be the proverbial next big thing in terms of children’s edutainment.” 

On the other hand, Archana Anand noted that usage of technology for watching videos or playing games and ownership of tablets or handheld devices among kids was definitely on the rise. “Parents often find it difficult to keep children engaged when they are travelling or do not have access to television, as kids get restless without their daily dose of cartoon shows. A variety of quality online content for kids is, therefore, a lifesaver for both bored kids and their parents, and given the importance of this demographic, there is a proliferation of players offering kids content online across platforms. We definitely see it becoming a significant channel of contentconsumption in the near future,” she affirmed. 

Reddy felt that the transition might take a while to happen and that other channels of kids’ entertainment might still remain viable, however, the evolution is on its way. He observed, “Parents today are more tech savvy and they perceive the OTT content for kids as one to educate and entertain in equal proportions. Besides, kids themselves demonstrate a higher affinity towards utilising gadgets and smartphones and hence, prefer having videos on-demand made remotely available to them. As OTT viewership gets more mainstream acceptance and validation, so will the kids’ content.” 

According to Gandhi, kids are truly screen agnostic and they are increasingly moving to on-demand viewing of their favourite toons. In addition to that, cheaper data and affordable devices are only helping this even more market. Over a period of time, on-demand will lead the way kids consume their shows and these kids will become the adults of tomorrow taking this disruption through all the content they watch even when they grow up.


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