Nisha Qureshi

Crunchyroll’s ambitious anime plans for India

The OTT anime platform is aiming at capturing the Indian market by getting the most-regarded anime shows on the platform for the Indian youth in Hindi and other languages.

From Pokemon and Dragonball z in the 90’s to Naruto and Death Note today, anime shows have had a sizable audience in India. According to reports, India ranks fourth globally in viewership of anime content. with more than 30 million viewers nationwide. Crunchyroll- an anime OTT platform that entered India a few months ago is posing itself as the only dedicated anime platform with 500+ titles, of which over 100 titles are dubbed/subbed in Hindi. The platform is now aiming at scaling rapidly in the country and has roped in Rashmika Madana and Tiger Shroff as brand ambassadors.

Speaking about the platform’s plans, Gita Rebbapragada, Chief Marketing Officer, Crunchyroll says they are positioning themselves as the ultimate home for anime fans. “Our positioning is that we try to be everything to someone and not something to everyone, like a general entertainment streaming service would do.”

The platform has announced that it would add 40 new series and 200 hours of content by the end of 2023, many of which will be available in Hindi and also Telugu and Tamil.

According to Rebbapragada, India is one of the most important markets for them. “We see 60% of our growth coming from India in the next three years,” she adds.

Marketing plans

Crunchyroll’s marketing will be centered around ‘Community Building’ in India, says  Rebbapragada. Asked if marketing a genre as niche as anime could pose a challenge in India she says, “I see it as an opportunity, one of our biggest advantages is that not a lot of companies are in the anime segment. I think that the focus has given us a lot of advantages.”

She says anime viewership has caught up well among the Indian youth who have made it a part of pop culture and the genre is at an interesting intersection as kids as well as millennials are watching it actively.

“What's interesting about anime is that you're starting to see multiple generations of fans for the first time, and we see this really acutely with our Dragon Ball franchise, where a lot of people started watching it 20 years ago, and they have kids now, and they're sharing it with their kids. If you look at the age breakdown of who is watching anime, as you go younger, the engagement and awareness levels are very high. I feel the demographic trends are in our favor because the younger generation is surely watching us and anime is mainstream.” 

Globally, Crunchyroll does not rely on celebs for their marketing. They instead work with people who are super passionate anime fans to build community. Rebbapragada says Rashmika Madanna and Tiger Shroff are both avid anime fans and will talk about the shows and characters they love.

Asked if they are looking at any content or aggregator partnerships in India Rebbapragada says they will continue to explore any opportunity to best serve the fans here however have no announcements on that front.

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