MyToonz is a first-of-its-kind OTT platform for delicious and nutritious content for kids and families: Toonz CEO P Jayakumar

Animation Interviews OTT Top News

Toonz Animation India, the animation production division from the Toonz Group, has established itself as a leading animation production house in India. Headquartered in Thiruvananthapuram Technopark, the 20-year-old animation powerhouse has now launched MyToonz, a first-of-its-kind exclusive kids OTT platform for kids and families.

In an exclusive interview, Toonz Media Group CEO P Jayakumar tells ottwatcher.com that Toonz will cash in on its already-formidable and impressive IP library that comes with its 20+ years of legacy in the industry. Promising to ensure both entertainment and enrichment, MyToonz will also be a robust platform to leverage and monetize its vast catalogue of world-class titles, including Toonz’s own IPs, co-productions and licensed titles.

“The USP of MyToonz is safety, which is our hallmark. The programming is carefully curated to provide quality entertainment to kids and families through fun, educational, safe, non-violent and environmentally sensitive content that celebrates diversity,” explains Jayakumar.  

Excerpts from the interview:

Please give an overview about Toonz’ OTT platform for kids and families.

Toonz has launched our own brand-new OTT platform called MyToonz. It is an exclusive platform for kids and families, and carries over the 20+ years of legacy that Toonz has in the kids and family entertainment space.

MyToonz is a first-of-its-kind exclusive kids OTT platform to be launched by an Indian entertainment company. It is a place where the whole family can come together to enjoy world-class content in multiple global languages.

The USP of MyToonz is safety, which is our hallmark. Besides this, we are focusing on delicious and nutritious content for kids, ensuring both entertainment and enrichment.

What was the inspiration for launching an OTT app by Toonz? 

MyToonz originates from the compelling need to create a safe entertainment destination for kids and families in the digital landscape. While there are a plethora of entertainment apps and OTTs in the market, MyToonz will be unique in that it will be an entertainment space dedicated to kids and families focusing on providing safe and nutritious content. Toonz already has a formidable IP library that comes with our 20+ years of legacy in the industry. MyToonz will also be a robust platform for us to leverage and monetize our vast catalogue of world-class titles, including our own IPs, co-productions as well as licensed titles. Down the lane, we will also be developing and producing exclusive content for the MyToonz platform.

What will be the platform’s target audience and which are the countries you intend to focus on?

The target demographics of MyToonz is pre-schoolers, kids and tweens. Besides this, we will also be targeting the family audience by focusing more on content apt for co-viewing. The content on the platform will be segmented category-wise, but will be kept gender-neutral.

MyToonz will be available to consumers across the world through iOS, Android and Android TV playstores, besides the Roku Video-on-Demand platform, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. The MyToonz library can also be accessed online over the website www.mytoonz.com.

We will be focusing on the English-speaking markets to begin with, covering Asia, Europe and the US. Later on, we will expand to other language markets as well.

What is your content strategy for the new OTT platform?

The programming is carefully curated to provide quality entertainment to kids and families through fun, educational, safe, non-violent and environmentally sensitive content that celebrates diversity.  The keywords for us with respect to programming will be safety and socio-emotional development of kids. All MyToonz programming is compliant with international safety standards for child viewing. The platform is designed as a free AVOD destination for content viewing with COPPA-compliant advertising and sponsors as well.

With MyToonz, we will be taking Toonz’s impressive catalogue of world-class titles, including international co-productions with the top studios and productions houses in the world, directly to kids and families across the globe. The MyToonz library will essentially comprise of over 1500 half hours of movies and episodic content across different genres. New originals and co-productions will be updated on the platform on a continual basis. Besides English, there are dedicated playlists in Spanish, Russian, and Hindi languages.

What will be the OTT platform’s revenue model (pay-per-view, etc.)? Will you also look for ancillary revenue streams such as brand associations, etc.?

MyToonz has been launched as an AVOD platform, so our primary revenue source is advertisements. Once we reach a certain benchmark in subscriptions, we will add an additional layer in the SVOD mode.  We will also definitely look to leverage brand associations as we build subscribers and viewership.

What is your vision for the platform? Where do you see the platform two years from now?

Our vision for MyToonz is that it becomes the go-to entertainment destination for kids and families across the world. So that’s where we see ourselves two years from now. We want MyToonz to be a fun, happy and educational space for the kids. And we want to earn the trust of parents as well, so that they have the confidence that MyToonz is a safe and trustworthy place where kids can hang out.

Will Toonz be having deals with more OTT platforms like the one you had with Disney+ Hotstar VIP for the Chacha Chaudhary series?

We will be looking to integrate MyToonz with other OTT and telco platforms. Currently, we have a deal with Airtel to integrate MyToonz on their app store. We have also tied up with mobile tech service providers U2opia Mobile to integrate MyToonz on various telco platforms in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

How did Toonz tide over the crisis caused by the pandemic. What were the learnings and how do you plan to use them going forward?

The year 2020 has been rather eventful for the animation industry. Content consumption has skyrocketed and the demand for content has never been so pressing before. With kids all over the world staying home, there has been an urgent need to keep them positively engaged. Content is now being seen as a source of not just entertainment but also education and inspiration. At Toonz, our studios had to be shut for a while following government and health protocols. The lockdown was imposed rather swiftly and we did not have much time at hand. Yet, we were able to tackle the situation to a large extent through meticulous planning and crisis management.

The learning so far has been that a well-formulated Business Continuity Plan is imperative for all businesses. Animation is a highly creative and collaborative process. The dependence on technology and labour is high. Yet we managed to not just survive but flourish during the crisis with many new projects and co-productions, thanks to our industry standing and reputation. The learning is to cherish and maintain this reputation. That is exactly what will be your source of strength during tough times.

What are the changing trends and content consumption patterns you have observed in the recent past in the animation segment?

In terms of content there is a lot of emphasis currently on edutainment, particularly in the area of social and emotional learning. This is one area that kids completely missed out during lockdown with the schools remaining shut. There is also increased demand for interactive, immersive and gamified content that can propel kids to involve in some kind of activity. The pandemic has also interestingly created a lot of interest in content suitable for co-viewing. Programming that the whole family can sit together and enjoy.

In general, the overall focus remains on creating value-oriented shows with a global appeal. Shows that have multi-cultural characters and universal values.