A new generation of children is all set to completely grow up on new age gadgets, sans the gradual transformative process of acquaintance with technology that their parents and grandparents travelled through. This means that children’s consumption patterns have vastly changed and content that was previously confined to books or the general physical expanse needs to be digitized.
This is where Hyderabad-based startup, BulBul Apps comes in, with the mission of building a library of localised quality content for children, accessible from new age gadgets. According to founder, Prakash Dantuluri, what he realised was that while a lot of digital content was being created, the space to connect storytellers and animators with children as audience was under serviced.
“This is when we decided to develop an app with a focus on quality localised content that could be accessed anywhere,” says Dantuluri, “Most importantly, we wanted to create content that was just not translated but intrinsically relatable.”
What Dantuluri found was there was actually a pent up demand and that parents were more than happy to pay. “The challenge was to create something in which parents found utility. Our focus was to create a format that was easy to understand,” he says.
On launching, the BulBul Apps team engaged in very basic marketing on Facebook and was soon featured on the App Store, Google Play Store and the Windows Store and downloaded a quarter of a million times within four months, something which was the biggest indicator of the huge want for such an app, according to Dantuluri.
Connecting local animators and storytellers with an audience
A Christian writer from Mumbai, a Spanish artist from Mexico, an Israeli music studio, a Muslim animator and voice-over artist from Hyderabad came together to create Krishna and the Universe, one of the mobile phone stories for children featured on BulBul Apps. And this is exactly what the company aspires to do—create quality content by facilitating collaborations.
“We give them (local storytellers) the opportunity to produce content of international quality, provide them with access to a technology platform and a marketplace with gives them visibility,” says Dantuluri.
He goes on to say that this is what allows the creation of unique content, which becomes instantly relatable to children.
The company’s YouTube channel has also been picking up. Giving an insight into the kind go content featured on the app so that parents and children can give it a try before putting down their money, it has amassed 1.8 million views.
Monetizing animated content
At the moment BulBul Apps has not completely kicked off its full monetization plans, offering basic books for free and a per week subscription for Android users.
However, the team is clear on one thing—monetisation will be based on payment for a clean enriched content experience that is easy for both parents and children to use and not advertising. “We want to keep the interface very clean and easy to browse. That is why we are clearly steering away from the advertising option. We don’t want to put forward a cluttered experience,” says Dantuluri.
And there is a huge market that could potentially be willing to pay. According to the company, the edutainment segment is all set to grow; as India boasts of 310 million children who are under the age of eight, with over 100 million of them, eager to lay their hands on a smart device to access content in the next few years.