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New Delhi: Telugu language video streaming service aha has launched a sub-brand called aha Kids to introduce programming for children. The platform will bring out the vertical on this Vinayak Chaturthi,10 September with an eight-episode animated show titled Maha Ganesh in partnership with Green Gold Animation. It plans to have a new offering every two months, with the next slated for Children’s Day and then Christmas.

“When we started out, we wanted to focus on the youth as our target audience. But more than a year into the game, we’ve realized we have to look beyond them since OTT is the new TV and we have, so far, had content for everyone except kids," Ajit Thakur, CEO, aha, said. 

While the sub-brand would be part of the original aha app, for now, it has the potential to grow into a separate app in a few years, he added. The company is looking at a promotional campaign across TV, cinema halls, outdoor spaces like malls and digital media.

Thakur said the kids vertical would see a mix of genres including mythology and folktales, contemporary animation and live-action with VFX. The last would be in the form of an original movie at the end of this year. “This generation has grown up on Marvel and DC movies but we want to position ourselves as a platform that talks about epics and folklore and reminds them of our local heroes and culture," Thakur said.

Rajiv Chilaka, founder, Green Gold Animation, which has produced shows like Chhota Bheem and Mighty Little Bheem in the past said India has a large kids population and while most platforms are targeting global audiences, it made sense for the company to partner with aha to teach kids about Indian culture and values.

To be sure, 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. discovery+, the OTT service owned by Discovery Inc. introduced a genre devoted to kids content this February. 

It has premiered a movie Kaal Ki Shatir Chaal from the Little Singham franchise and has brought 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.

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 kids and family titles on the service include Motu Patlu Kung Fu Kings 4, Arlo the Alligator Boy and others.

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