Regional OTT platform aha is looking for a pan-India expansion by offering content in multiple Indian languages amid growing demand for non-Hindi, hyper-local content.
“Our larger business plan was to first launch the platform in Telugu followed by Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi and Punjabi. aha is going to be launched in many Indian languages offering hyper-local content in each of these languages,” Allu Aravind, veteran Telugu film producer and promoter of aha, told BusinessLine.
Launched as a 100 per cent Telugu OTT platform in March 2020, aha witnessed a phenomenal growth in viewership and subscription within a short span of time amid spike in online video consumption during the Covid-19 pandemic and growing consumer preference for regional content.
aha currently has over 1.8 million paid subscribers and 27 million plus downloads, catering predominantly to the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. aha is owned by Arha Media & Broadcasting Private Limited, a joint venture by Geetha Arts and My Home Group.
On Thursday, aha officially launched its new service ‘aha Tamil’ along with a slate of content targeting Tamil-speaking audiences across the globe.
“Similar to Telugu, Tamil market also has a huge following for movies and original content. We have already employed 50 people to exclusively focus on running the local content and we believe that they can bring-in a lot of value to our local plan,” said Aravind.
Priced at ₹365 per year, the subscription video on demand (SVOD) platform’s core strategy lies in offering 100 per cent local language. For instance, an user logging into aha Tamil will only have an exclusive list of Tamil contents as against major OTT platforms where users navigate multiple languages to choose a content of their choice.
“That is our USP. One day, we will spread into all Indian languages but an user opening our app will only see content in their local language,” Aravind added.
The OTT platform announced its upcoming Tamil content slate, which includes National Award winning director Vetrimaaran’s Pettakaalai along with a host of originals such as Bhamakalaapam, Ammuchi 2, Ramany vs Ramany 3. It also has theatrical films such as Selfie featuring GV Prakash Kumar and Gautam Menon, Sardaar featuring Karthi, director Venkat Prabhu’s Manmadha Leelai.
On helping small budget Tamil films to launch on the platform, Aravind said, “We are looking at a lot of Tamil contents and whichever we like, we are taking it. We have already bought 10 small films.”
He also added that, similar to aha Telugu, the new Tamil service will also aim to launch at least one original web series or movie releases every week.
aha has firmed up plans for Malayalam foray next. “We are planning to launch aha Malayalam in 2023 and we are also planning to launch the Kannada service by the same year but the plans are yet to finalised, he said.” The Hindu BusinessLine