tamil: Indian Telugu OTT service Aha expands into Tamil market with new offering

Aha, the Telugu OTT platform that claims to provide 100% local entertainment to the Telugu-speaking population across the world, is now expanding into another South Indian market with the launch of Tamil service, coinciding with Puthanduthe Tamil New Year.

Aha Tamil, will follow the similar business model as of Aha Telugu, and have complete local entertainment. The annual subscription for Aha Tamil will be available at a price of Rs 365, which is Re 1 per day.

The company has also roped in ctor Silambarasan aka Simbu and music composer Anirudh Ravichander as the brand ambassadors for the Tamil service.

“We at aha are constantly working towards catering to all demographics through our diverse and relatable content offerings. The reveal of our Tamil slate today on the occasion of Tamil New Year is a reflection of the belief that entertainment and stories are best told and enjoyed in one’s local language,” said Ram Jupally, promoter, Aha. “Silambarasan and Anirudh are not only brand ambassadors for us, but they are our brand partners whose presence will promote a sense of familiarity among the public and will help them gain the following and respect of the audience. After its success in Telugu, aha is aiming to provide quality content with diverse genres to fulfill the interest and demands of different age groups in Tamil.”

Most of the Tamil slate will have original content. It will include director Vetrimaaran’s ‘Pettakaalai’ and a host of originals such as ‘Bhamakalaapam’ featuring Priyamani, ‘Ammuchi 2’, ‘Ramany vs Ramany 3’.

The service will also have theatrical films such as ‘Selfie’ featuring GV Prakash Kumar and Gautam Menon, ‘Sardaar’ featuring Karthi, and Venkat Prabhu‘s’ Manmadha Leelai’ starring Ashok Selvan.

“We are excited to present our slate that has been developed locally with creators from Tamil Nadu,” said Allu Arvind, promoter, Aha. “It is a collection of diverse stories and genres, told through web series and movies. Today, aha will disrupt the Tamil industry with phenomenal content, bringing the best Tamil global talent to the fore to showcase their artistry.”

Aha had started as a Telugu service in 2020 and gained one million paid subscribers within the first year of its launch. The service today has over 2 million paying subscribers, said CEO Ajit Thakur.

“As of yesterday, we have over 50 million users, about 10 million monthly users and 2 million paid subscribers, all organic, without bundling,” Thakur said. “We are overwhelmed with the response and love we have received for Aha, both in India as well as from the Indian diaspora spread across the world. The content is resonating with Telugu audiences across about 100 countries in the world. We are growing rapidly in the US and also have a significant presence in Canada, Australia, and the UK. With Tamil launching we will also expand to Southeast Asia and the Middle East.”

Thakur said that the company is investing double to have localised teams in both the markets. “The team that is running marketing and content for Aha Telugu is completely different and based in Hyderabad, while we will have a completely different team based in Chennai for the Tamil service. The content being created is completely different and so is the acquired one. We have done massive reengineering of the product. So, while the backend infrastructure is the same, from a consumer point of view, Telugu and Tamil are separate services.”

He added that Aha might look at launching similar services for other regional languages in the future.

On the revenue part, Thakur said that despite being a subscription-based video-on-demand (SVOD) platform, the company set up a sales team with people in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Chennai to sell branded solutions.

“To begin advertiser funded programming, to bring in integrations into content and we have made very good progress on that. We have come from zero to upwards of $2 million in terms of brand solutions and in the next couple of months, we will open up advertising too for the free users,” he said. “Our breakeven time will surprise a lot of people in the industry, despite us having new content every Friday.”