New Delhi: Viacom18 Digital Ventures has announced its foray into the Telugu market with the launch of the company’s Telugu language television channel Colors Telugu on its video streaming service VOOT. The new language play will offer audiences 1,200 plus hours of content including catch-up television, digital originals and more than 150 Telugu movies.

“We were getting a lot of native Telugu speakers from states like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on our Hindi library. That is when we realized there is an audience out there and we owe it to them to come up with content," said Gourav Rakshit – chief operating officer, Viacom18 Digital Ventures.

Rakshit said the regional play was important for the company and their digital plans, especially given the success of languages like Marathi, Tamil and Bengali on VOOT. The recent success of Bigg Boss Marathi with over 100 million views establishes the scale of the regional content opportunity.

According to the Ficci- EY media and entertainment industry report 2019, Google claims that 97% of content consumed on its YouTube platform is now in local languages and a similar trend was seen across most OTT platforms in India, all of whom claimed that over 90% of consumption on their platforms was in local languages. Driven by the faster growing rural internet population, as well as increased time spent by rural audiences on their phones on entertainment as compared to urban audiences, this trend will continue to be relevant in 2019 and beyond, and is expected to lead to more money being allocated to regional language content and marketing, the report added.

As far as the Telugu library goes, VOOT has four fiction shows in production. The marquee offering, however, will be the Telugu derivative of its popular Hindi programme, Feet Up with the Stars. In this case, it will be hosted by popular Telugu movie actor Lakshmi Manchu.

“Regional continues to be a key revenue driver for VOOT and with the new COLORS Telugu on VOOT slate we will have added further depth to our very dynamic regional content proposition," Akash Banerji, head, AVOD (advertising led video-on-demand) Business, Viacom18 Digital Ventures said in a statement. “Regional has also become the new national and plays a decisive role in the outreach strategy of many brands. Our presence in the segment hence allows us to serve our existing advertisers better while also tapping into new region-specific advertisers, thereby broad basing our base. We are already seeing significant response and going forward our innovative brand solutions will help us deliver substantial value to our advertisers and thereby garner their patronage."