‘Aha is happy to be the country’s local language app’

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After witnessing success in Telugu, aha has recently entered the Tamil market. Allu Arvind, Promoter, aha and Ajit Thakur, CEO, aha are betting big as they are ready to deliver a significant amount of locally flavored content. aha is also all about going the AVOD route in the next two months. Video-on-demand streaming service aha recently launched aha Tamil with content including Tamil originals, web series, non-fiction shows and list of theatrical content with all-Tamil celebratory proposal, and priced at Rs 365 / year.

Owned by Arha Media & Broadcasting Private Limited – a joint venture between Geetha Arts and My Home Group – aha launched in 2020 with 100% Telugu OTT and the promise of 100% local entertainment. Aha Telugu gained one million subscribers within a year of its launch and now has over 1.8 million paid subscribers and over 27 million downloads to become the favorite OTT platform for Telugu viewers. Commenting on why aha chose Tamil after Telugu Promoter Allu Arvind, aha says, “Tamil Nadu is one of the biggest Internet consumer markets in the country and content consumption is high. This is a big market and that was a big reason for us to enter this market. There is strong competition here and we will have to pull up our socks and race. Also, I have an affinity for Tamil as I spent my childhood in Chennai.

Replicate the success of aha Telugu

Allu Arvind, Promoter, aha

Aha Tamil is ready to replicate this success and the buzzword is “hyperlocal”. Arvind explains,We are getting ahead of the local by going hyperlocal and 100% Tamil reflects that. When we say hyper-local, it means that our content will be local, personalized and will highlight and reflect the ethnic issues and culture of the Tamil diaspora wherever they are based, be it Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Middle East or elsewhere. worldwide. Aha also enlists young talent and writers from within the state to create content for the platform. While the platform has a dedicated “listening post” in Chennai, the agenda is to set up similar listening posts in places such as Trichy and other parts of India. State. This is an attempt to engage writers across the state and gather information to tell local stories.

A key differentiator for aha is that when a user chooses their preferred language, say Tamil, the viewer will only receive Tamil content, thus maintaining 100% nativity. aha’s marketing strategy will not only go deep and wide in the state to Tier III, Tier IV cities and rural areas, but will also target Tamil audience globally. A key feature of aha Telugu was the commitment to post new content every Friday. Ajit Thakur, CEO, aha says, “Despite the lockdown, we have managed to release new content – ​​a new non-fiction show/episode, movie or series – for our viewers every week. even at aha Tamil where we will offer our viewers something new every week as we believe local language content is underserved.Many platforms have Tamil OTT content but they do three to five shows a year. We’ll have fifty. We’ve engaged with all the major film and TV producers and want to deliver local content built with a talented young in-house team. He adds, “Good stories will create markets and that market will generate revenue. This n It’s not the other way around. If you don’t have storytellers, you can’t create a successful OTT, that’s my belief.

The haha ​​model

Ajit Thakur, CEO of aha

What sets aha’s business model apart from other players is that Telugu and Tamil numbers will be a completely separate count, as the company considers the two propositions as two separate local apps. Thakur says, “The easiest thing for our developers was to tell us to keep adding languages, we don’t. We create a new app in each market, aha Tamil is run by an entirely local team. Thakur thinks the move could prove beneficial for aha, even when it comes to acquisitions. He adds, “The acquisition costs and competition in Tamil are higher than in Telugu. This is why our local positioning and local team will give us the edge over others who lack Mumbai.

Aha Telugu has actors Vijay Devarakonda and Allu Arjun as brand ambassadors, both of whom also have an investor stake in aha. For aha Tamil, actor Silambarasan aka Simbu and music composer Anirudh Ravichander have joined us as brand ambassadors. Thakur says, “As per our model, our Brand Ambassadors have the opportunity to be investors. Although our Brand Ambassadors for aha Tamil are currently not investors, the intention is that they have the opportunity to become an investor at any time.

When it comes to monetization, Thakur candidly states that subscription alone will not cover the full cost of operations, especially since the ambition of the platform is to deliver massive amounts of content. aha looks at three to four things “that will help us monetize better and break even faster than anyone else in the OTT industry. Thakur explains, “We are focusing on international markets because ARPUs are higher. We are now available in over 100 countries and with Tamil we will expand to more countries. The second is that we have set up a team in six cities for sales, because we are looking to offer branded content solutions and also to integrate brands into content. Over the next few months we will also be rolling out AVOD for all of our free viewers and will start advertising on the platform. He continues, “There is no advertising on aha Telugu. We have enough free content on the platform, but we haven’t monetized it yet. We will now monetize it. Today we have over 10 million MAUs – Monthly Active Users – if they’re watching free content, there’s no reason why we can’t show them ads.

The path to follow

Looking ahead, Arvind is optimistic and says, “In just two years, we have become the most preferred OTT platform in Telugu. I wish in 18 months we will see this also in Tamil, this is our belief and trust. Our vision is to expand to other languages, such as Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, with a focus on hyperlocality.

On his part, Thakur adds, “We need to get some Tamil Nadu love first and then hopefully we get to number one. We want to be number one in the markets in which we operate. The scale we’ve seen in one language tells us that when we get our second, third, and fourth languages ​​together, we’re likely to be a much bigger national player. without being in Hindi and we are happy to be that. Some of these parts are much larger than in Hindi. We have a stated ambition not to do Hindi, we are happy to be the country’s local language app. He adds: “If we are going to be number one in a year, we should reach around 25 to 30% market share. There are at least eight to ten apps in every market right now and we know there are more people looking at our model and the markets than we are so I think there will be intense competition. However, I believe that they will propose different things, we will propose different things. The local storytelling that we’ve done to many people won’t be able to do it that way at frequency and volume. »

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