Vinoth Chandar, the Founder of the kid’s YouTube channel, Chuchu TV spoke about the channel’s content strategy, languages, geographies that drive traffic, mobile device traffic, YouTube Kids app, among others in the first part of his interview with MediaNama. In the second part, he speaks about monetisation through ad inventory, brand integration and other means; marketing and analytics; competition and future plans of the channel.
Ad Inventory and Brand Integration
MediaNama: Do you only monetise through YouTube inventory? Or do you also work with brands to monetise your content?
Chandar: Several brands have approached us, both in the US and in India. We are in discussions but we haven’t started working with brands on our own. We have started working with brands only through YouTube as of now. YouTube does not have the option of mentioning sponsors inside the video. Now any brand that wants to sponsor on any channel should get in touch with YouTube. For example, if there is a kid’s toothpaste company. They should approach YouTube directly to reach us.
MediaNama: How about product placement? Have you considered it?
Chandar: A few people contacted us but we have not looked into it as a lucrative option for now because we are new to this idea. YouTube has been handling the advertising for us so far. So it is better if YouTube handles it for now, at least till we are with them. If we are going to expand beyond YouTube and have our own app where users can download our content or if we go onto other platforms like Netflix, then it would make sense for us. We are in talks with many other partners and platforms. We are planning to go onto other platforms as well. But YouTube is going to be our primary focus for another year or two. We want to start more channels here.
MediaNama: If YouTube inventory is the only source of revenue, does it meet your cost of production and give your returns?
Chandar: Yes, that is definitely a concern. That’s the reason we are also moving into merchandising. Kids are asking for our merchandise. We just partnered with Spreadshirt.com to give toddlers Chuchu TV branded characters and merchandise such as toys and as other accessories like T-shirts, mugs etc. They are primarily based in the US and Canada but they ship worldwide. We are also in talks with several Indian companies to partner with us in delivering our merchandise. That is one additional means of revenue.
Our viewership is high in the US But we get considerable number of views even from India. We are not targeting markets for our merchandise only based on revenue. In terms of views, if the US gives us 10 million then India will give us 6 million. In that sense, India is as important for us. We are also going to start DVD production. There is a large demand for our DVDs. I get about 15-20 mail everyday, requesting for our content to be released as DVDs. We are looking to go on other VOD platforms as well.
MediaNama: Do you monetise your site? How do you utilise it?
Chandar: We don’t monetize it. We have only one video embedded on the homepage. The site currently only has links to the apps, lyrics to our songs, goodies that we would like to give the kids etc along with company details. The site is just a corporate presence for the brand. It is not a kid’s website. If it is a kid’s website then it needs to be planned differently. We would have to upload our content from our own servers and talk to brands. Then we will be competing with YouTube, which we are not planning to do.
Difference in revenue between U.S and India
MediaNama: If maximum traffic for your channel is from the US then what kind of difference do you see in revenue between India and the US?
Chandar: We get advertisers from both the US and India. But both are very different, some are from US YouTube and the others are from Indian YouTube. If you compare the Indian revenue to the US revenue, then the amount generated from the US is double or triple the amount earned from India. In India, the digital advertising industry is just booming.
Actually, we would like to target our products worldwide. Our plan is not to be only a YouTube channel. We want to showcase ourselves as a kids brand. That’s why we are expanding into merchandise and DVDs. I have an ambitious plan to even start a Chuchu TV theme park. The rates will start matching the US ones soon but presently, the US rates are much higher than India. If India gives you $1 then the US gives about $4.
Marketing and Analytics
MediaNama: How do you market your videos? How do you make sure that parents get to know about your new videos?
Chandar: We do social media marketing. We have an active Facebook page with 100,000 likes. We actively promote our content through our Facebook page and Twitter profile. We create many apps supporting our content and brands, like colouring book, puzzle apps for pre-schoolers etc. We relate Chuchu TV content in the context of those apps. These apps will have links to our YouTube channel and videos.
MediaNama: What is the kind of analytics that YouTube has been giving you in terms of understanding your target group, kids and parents of kids?
Chandar: We get analytics on the demographics, the age group that consumes our content the most.
MediaNama: How does it work for kid’s content since usually the kids watch through their parents’ account?
Chandar: Yes, the data only shows the age of the parents. And that’s precisely why our viewer’s age group is 25-34 years consisting of young parents. YouTube gives us very good analytics. Their kids watch our channel. We know that kids are watching the content because of the minutes of content viewed. More than 1 billion minutes of watch time. We get 200 million views and 1 billion minutes of watch time on an average. YouTube always gives us the watch time. That is the main metric that tells us that our content is being viewed.
MediaNama: Why is it so?
Chandar: Everything is going well as of now. With the size of YouTube, I don’t think we will be able to compete with them now. It makes more sense to be on YouTube than outside of it because all the users are coming from YouTube. That’s place where young parents who want to consume your content are. And YouTube is present globally, even in countries that we aren’t aware of. That is the place to market your content.
Competition and Future Plans
MediaNama: How are you dealing with competition in kid’s content space?
Chandar: Creative competition is good. We learn from the rest in the space. We don’t see them as competition. We see them as an inspiration. Before we started, there were about 15-20 great channels. Inspired by their work, I started this channel. There will be newcomers coming into this space, everyday. If they create something interesting then we try to learn from it. We have healthy competition going in the space.
MediaNama: Will you be looking to go beyond the current age group?
Chandar: We have some plans. Once the child grows older than five, the child will stop watching our channel. Parents will move them on to other channels because our channel doesn’t have content for their age group. We are planning to start a few channels to move from one age group to the next with our subscribers: 0-4 years then move on to 4-8 years of age.