Regional OTT aha to double subscriber base with launch of Tamil service

Mumbai: Regional OTT platform aha announced the launch of its Tamil slate of content at an event held in Chennai on Thursday. The platform, which offers Telugu content, has launched a new service aha Tamil that is targeted at the Tamil-speaking audience. Speaking exclusively with, CEO Ajit Thakur said aha, which has a subscriber base of two million, aims to double up current number with the launch of this new service.

“India’s SVOD subscribers are at 42 million and the share of these two markets (Telugu and Tamil) will be six-eight million. We are aiming for a 25 per cent share in each language,” Thakur stated. “The internet penetration in Tamil Nadu is one of the highest in the country and there are a great bunch of storytellers working in Tamil cinema. There is an excellent opportunity in terms of available audience for subscription-driven OTT. At the same time, it is also a challenge because the content preferences are dissimilar from any other part of the country and the benchmark is high.”

The launch event was graced by Tamil Nadu chief minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin and was joined by actor Silambarasan and music composer Anirudh Ravichander who were announced as the brand ambassadors for aha Tamil. aha Tamil announced the launch of the film “Thattina Tamil Mattume” which stars the brand ambassadors.

When queried why aha Tamil was launched as a separate service from aha Telugu, Thakur explained, “We have always believed that there is no homogenous South audience. When we started aha Telugu, we observed that people were watching everything from Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam on OTT but there was still a native language preference within a large part of the audience. 100 per cent local positioning was our core strategy no matter the language. If we put all languages under one service then we would lose that differentiation and that’s why we had to launch aha Tamil as a separate service.”

While the backend i.e., app, website to access aha Telugu and aha Tamil is the same, the two services will have separate content, marketing and teams managing the operation. The platform offers two plans to access Tamil content, a quarterly plan priced at Rs 149 and a yearly plan priced at Rs 365.

Speaking about the wallet share of consumers in the Tamil market, Thakur noted, “It holds true that subscribers in Tamil and Telugu markets on average subscribe to two paid platforms from a consumer habit point of view. A lot of national OTT players are fighting for this pie with multilanguage global scale content. However, we are uniquely placed in these two markets, where nobody is offering local language content at our scale.”

aha Tamil has a library of 150-200 films and 10 web originals at the time of launch. By the end of the year, the count of originals should increase to 40-60 with a commitment to release four originals per month. Thakur was not able to share details about the expansion of the film library as theatrical releases are still fluid all over the country owing to the effects of the pandemic."

“People don’t pay for the content library, they pay for new premieres,” said Thakur, commenting on what will drive subscriptions. “Initially, a lot of our library will be available for streaming for free so that audiences can sample our content. What will drive subscriptions are the new pieces of content that we’ll add every week. The library will help consumers spend more time on the app.”

In the coming months, aha Tamil will offer theatrical films including “Selfie” featuring GV Prakash Kumar and Gautam Menon, “Sardaar” featuring Karthi, Venkat Prabhu’s “Manmadha Leelai” starring Ashok Selvan. The content slate also includes director Vetrimaaran’s “Pettakaalai” along with a host of originals such as “Bhamakalaapam” featuring Priyamani, “Ammuchi 2,” and “Ramany vs Ramany 3.”

“We at aha are constantly working towards catering to all demographics through our diverse and relatable content offerings,” said aha promoter Ram Jupally in a statement. “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. After its success in Telugu, aha is aiming to provide quality content in Tamil with diverse genres to fulfill the interest and demands of different age groups. A majority of our Tamil slate is original content and I believe it is only prudent for the platform to associate with content creators who can complement us in meeting our vision”.

“We are excited to present our Tamil slate that has been developed locally with creators from Tamil Nadu,” said aha promoter Allu Arvind. “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 talent to the fore and showcasing their artistry globally.”

aha was launched in 2020 as a Telugu OTT service with original programming such as web series and films.

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