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“YouTube Kids app was expected to be launched this year end” – Vinoth Chandar, Chuchu TV
By Brindaalakshmi K on April 4, 2017
“YouTube Kids app was expected to be launched this year end” – Vinoth Chandar, Chuchu TV
By Brindaalakshmi K on April 4, 2017

Due to the channel’s reach in the US, Chuchu TV claims* to be the only kids channel to be featured on the YouTube Kids app in the US. The company claims to have garnered 300,000 in 20-25 days for its first video on YouTube in 2013. Chuchu TV currently has a subscriber base of 1,888,041 subscribers and 2,094,006,026 views (at the time of writing this story). What does it take to cater to an audience in the age group of 0-5 years? In a conversation with MediaNama, Vinoth Chandar, the Founder of Chuchu TV talks about the channel’s content strategy, languages, geographies that drive traffic, mobile device traffic, YouTube Kids app, among others in the first part of this interview.


Content strategy


MediaNama: How many channels do you have on YouTube? What kind of content do you produce on each of these channels?
Chandar: We own only one channel, Chuchu TV, which is a pre-school kids channel. We do do animated videos on original nursery rhymes, animal songs, alphabet, numbers and the like for kids between 0-5 years.


MediaNama: What do the kids between 0-5 years want to watch?
Chandar: Kids love colours with some good music to move with the animation. That’s the thing that we cracked from our first video, which we did in July 2013. It garnered 300,000 views in less than a month. This was actually a pet project. Chuchu is my daughter’s nickname. I run a software company that develops games and apps for clients globally. I wanted to model content created on the channel after my daughter when she was two years old. She loved listening to nursery rhymes.


Back then, I had a gaming artist, so I made the artist sketch a character like her and tried animating it. So I created five characters like her and created an environment like a playground where kids usually play along with a nursery rhyme. Since the video was made, I decided to try it out on YouTube. I uploaded it and within 20-25 days, it had 300,000 views. That’s when I realized that people liked the content. Previously, I watched similar videos on YouTube with my daughter. Although the content was really good, there was still room for improvement. So then I made the first video, and then I made the second video and released it within the next two months.


Within the span of those two videos, we had 5,000 subscribers. We even got a call from YouTube saying, “You guys are doing great. You need to concentrate more on this.” We had only 3 people at that time. We immediately recruited more people and even trained many of them. So now, we have a 40-member team working for Chuchu TV.


MediaNama: What kind of training did you give them?
Chandar: We trained them in animation. My partner Krishnan and I decide on the creative aspects in the video. I do the music and he does the lyrics. We work on the concept together. I decide the graphic style and animation for the videos.


MediaNama: Where do you choose the stories to create content from? Or are they original ideas?
Chandar: Yes, our content is original. Even the nursery rhymes that we produce are rewritten by us. Many nursery rhymes have a negative subtext. For example, Ring a Ring o’ Roses is originally based on a plague that had broken out back then. This was a sarcastic rhyme about that plague. Similarly, there are many others. Humpty Dumpty is supposed to be a cannon during a British war that fell off the wall. We wanted to change these negative connotations.


NDTV had recently featured our version of the Jack & Jill rhyme. The original version says that they fell down and broke their leg. We added another paragraph saying where there is a will, there is a way. In our version, they successfully bring down the pile of water. It changed many things. So similarly, we don’t use the other nursery rhymes as they are. We change the concept and the lyrics. Everything is original from our end. This is precisely what made us popular. Basically we want to spread the values of sharing and caring.


Baa baa black sheep, the song was ignored in our country because it is a black sheep. There is a racist tinge to it. So we added a black, brown and white sheep to the video and also added the concept of sharing, caring and helping others. This became a big hit. This is how we adapt all nursery rhymes. Other than that, we write our own original songs – number songs, alphabet songs as well. We have taken old content and repackaged it with better and peppy music to suit the children of the new era.


Geographies and languages


MediaNama: Which are the geographies that you are targeting?
Chandar: Right now maximum views are from the U.S, second is India, then is U.K, Vietnam, Canada, Australia and Malaysia. We didn’t plan it but it turned out that way. We wanted to be global from day 1, not just India. And luckily, the content is consumed all around the world as planned.


MediaNama: When you say you get traffic from so many countries, which languages do you produce the content in?
Chandar: Only English. We are in talks with some people to do it in Spanish and in some Indian regional languages. We are also soon going to be starting a few more YouTube channels in English. We might start content in other languages, only in the next year.


MediaNama: What kind of content are you looking at for the upcoming channels?
Chandar: The channels will target the same audience pre-school kids but the content will be on different subjects, not just nursery rhymes. Kids are learning from our videos so we want to make it more educational.


MediaNama: What kind of educational content are you looking to provide kids between 0-5yrs
Chandar: We want to do something special and unique. I can’t divulge the content right now.


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