With children remaining at home for longer periods and getting accustomed to web content during the lockdown, streaming platforms have begun to see value in animation and kids’ content which is also safe from a regulatory perspective at a time when web originals are under the scanner.
About 60% of Netflix’s members globally choose to watch kids and family content every month, while the animation segment alone grew by 10% in India in 2020. While many OTT players were so far banking on television content they had acquired over time, some are now investing in originals.
“Spurred by the lockdown, kids’ viewership went up significantly in 2020 over 2019. While children were eager to seek new content, parents seeking to keep their kids engaged were looking for enriching, value-driven programming,” said Megha Tata, managing director, south Asia – Discovery, Inc. whose streaming service discovery+ introduced a genre devoted to kids content this February.
A recent study conducted by discovery+ with a group of parents and children revealed that though parents were concerned about screen time, they were open to it as long as the content was educative and encouraged creativity, Tata added. discovery+ that premiered a movie Kaal Ki Shatir Chaal from the Little Singham franchise, is bringing out a mix of edutainment (Chopped Junior) and informative (How Do They Do it and MythBusters Jr) titles for children along with programmes that hold nostalgic value for millennial parents, especially those who have grown up consuming edutainment content on the Discovery TV channel.
“All families are different. We want to ensure that parents have a wide choice of stories – as well as the controls – to make the right decisions for their families. It’s why we’re investing in best-in-class kids and family films and series across genres and improved controls to help parents make informed decisions about what their families watch,” a Netflix spokesperson said. About 50% of Netflix’s members around the world choose to watch animation content. The viewing of kids’ titles increased more than 100% in India in 2020 over 2019 and upcoming kids and family titles include Motu Patlu Kung Fu Kings 4, Arlo the Alligator Boy and others.
Gourav Rakshit, chief operating officer, Viacom18 Digital Ventures pointed out that the gestation period for kids’ content is longer as children are happy to watch the same shows again for the love of some characters.
That explains why the production of original kids’ content need not be as aggressive as other programming. In 2019, Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd had announced the launch of VOOT Kids, an app that combines audio, video and text along with puzzles and quizzes.
“At the moment, a lot of kids content on OTT tends to be acquired because they prefer to invest in characters that are tried and tested and that they know will notch up viewership,” said Rajiv Chilaka, founder and chief executive officer at Green Gold Animation Pvt. Ltd. A decent-sized animation original in India can be made for Rs. 30-40 lakh per episode but may be acquired for 10-20% of the same cost. Investments in originals are, however, rising as India gets used to paying for content with the trend already having started for adults and soon expected to follow for children too.
“The facility to choose ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ to watch has made parents more curative of the content their kids consume, and OTT has facilitated that to the maximum by giving them greater variety from across the world with an increased level of control,” said Anish Mehta, CEO at animation company Cosmos Maya that saw the release of multiple shows in the OTT space recently including Selfie With Bajrangi (Disney+ Hostar), Bapu (ZEE5) and Gadget Guru Ganesha (ZEE5). Live Mint