VOOT unveils kids and original programming strategy

Viacom18 has unveiled further details of its digital platform VOOT, which is focusing on kids programming, along with original comedies and dramas.

The AVOD service, which is free to viewers on iOS, Android and the internet, offers around 17,000 hours of content.

Drawing on Viacom18’s large library of kids shows, the service will stream content featuring popular characters such as Dora, Spongebob and Motu Patlu from Nickelodeon and external characters including Chhota Bheem and Pokemon.

Bollywood actors Gulshan Grover, Baba Sehgal and Alok Nath, along with celebrity scriptwriters and directors, have been tapped to work on VOOT Originals, including long and short formats across comedy and drama.

Viacom18 has also moved its entire content library, from channels including Colors, MTV and Nickelodeon, to be digitally available on VOOT.

“India is at the cusp of a digital boom with over 400 million internet users and 200 million plus smartphone users spending a significant amount of time online with entertainment and allied content being the prime driver,” said Viacom18 group CEO Sudhanshu Vats in a statement.

“As more people move towards consuming content online, it is time for Viacom18 to move into the world of connected screens.”

Gaurav Gandhi, COO, Viacom18 Digital Ventures added: “From a business standpoint, we are following the advertising led VOD model. As the market matures in the next 12-24 months, we will be evaluating both freemium and subscription led models.”

VOOT has planned six originals through its launch phase, including mockumentary Badman, written and directed by Soumik Sen and co-written by stand-up comedian Anubhav Pal. The four-part film stars Gulshan Grover playing himself.

Original shows also include sitcom Soadies, starring Baba Sehgal; comedy Chinese Bhassad, written by Raahil Qaazi and directed and produced by Saurabh Tewari and talk show Sinskari, starring Alok Nath.