VOOT eyes premium market, international business in 2018

Viacom18’s video streaming platform VOOT is banking on three avenues to achieve its next growth spurt. Launched in May 2016, the ad-supported OTT (over-the-top) platform will launch regional originals in four languages, expand its services beyond India and introduce a paywall in 2018. 

VOOT, the OTT platform, houses a number of original shows and kids’ centric content, altogether amounting to 50,000 hours of content. According to data provided by the company, VOOT has 50 million downloads, with 32 million monthly active users. 

According to App Annie data provided by sources, the watch time on digital video has gone up four times in one year. In terms of total time spent by consumers (in billion minutes), VOOT ranks No.3, behind Hotstar and JioTV. In terms of average time spent viewer, it rank second only to Netflix.

“Over the past year and a half, we’ve noticed that almost 25 per cent of our consumption happens in the regional space (ex-Bigg Boss). So, we’re confident there is appetite for VOOT Originals in the regional markets. And since we’re entering the Tamil market in TV, we thought it would be a good idea to compliment that with content on VOOT in the language as well,” said Gaurav Gandhi, COO, Viacom18 Digital Ventures.

Viacom18 had earlier announced it would launch its first Tamil entertainment channel by the end of the current fiscal or early next fiscal. Apart from Tamil, VOOT would launch shows in Bangla, Marathi and Kannada. 

Viacom18 operates two general entertainment channels in Kannada and has seen success in Bangla and Marathi markets on TV as well. VOOT will launch 30 or more shows in the regional space next year. It will also launch kids’ content in regional languages, apart from the originals. 

While it scales up its regional language portfolio along with the Hindi content, VOOT will have a premium offering. The OTT service will not go full pay, but will put some premium content, Indian and international, behind a paywall. This also includes content in HD and Ultra HD. It will, however, continue to offer that the ad-supported model as well. 

VOOT is also looking to boost partnerships with OEMs. Gandhi said that among the most common requests was to make VOOT available on more smart TVs. The third aspect of VOOT’s growth strategy includes going beyond Indian shores and into the living rooms of the Indian diaspora in the traditional international markets.

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