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All aboard the Chu Chu Train

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

His digital abode for kids has taken Youtube by storm. The Afternoon D&C Education Reporter Parth Khatau chats with Youtube sensation Vinoth Chandar about his online venture that went from zero to over two million followers in a heartbeat.

Vinoth Chandar was right all along. When he entered the digital fray in 2006 by posting tunes composed by his father, Chandrabose, a famous Tamilian music composer who composed music for famous south-Indian actors like Rajnikanth, he was certain that YouTube and the digital space per se, was the future. "At that time i was catering to a very niche audience," said Vinoth. "However, I knew that digital media was the stream I wanted to venture into full time. I have been well versed with YouTube ever since its inception in 2005-2006."

Coming from a software background and since quitting his job at digital creative agency 'Buddies Infotech' in Chennai in 2001, Vinoth's rise to fame was steady to say the least. He sold audio CDs and cassettes after that before using digital platforms like YouTube to publish his father's work. So how did Chu Chu TV come about and what was did he wish to achieve?

"I have always loved children and being around them, I used to make my 2 year old daughter, Harshitha who is also know as 'Chu Chu' at home listen to nursery rhymes and other content for kids on YouTube, I felt there was a lot of room for improvement and a lot more could be done. Hence, in 2013 I started ChuChu TV, posting original nursery rhymes and content for children with a positive spin whilst drawing my daughter in the sketches. Our first two videos became instant hits, receiving a whopping 300,000 views and the channel bagged 5000 subscribers. I was overwhelmed with the response to be honest," said Vinoth. The videos earned us 5000 subscribers in those two days and that really acted as a springboard and gave me ammunition to make that my full-time job." Vinoth's growth after that was rapid and along with his partners Krishnan, Subbiramanian, Ajith and Suresh went on to drive the channel to achieving 10 million subscribers with 154 videos posted to date, making ChuChu TV the fastest growing YouTube channel in the world.

"We are delighted and proud to have made history by becoming the fastest growing family entertainment and preschool channel in the world on the back of just 154 videos. As a team, we have always believed in quality and positive messaging and this landmark is a thumbs up from our audience and care-givers. It tells us that we are on the right path and inspires us to push new boundaries, create iconic content, introduce consumer products and basically do more of everything that delights and educates our audiences across the world", said Vinoth.

Vinoth is extremely appreciative about his staff and partners. "Krishnan is a kid-manager," he said. "He and Ihead the creative side of things. Krishnan writes the songs, helps with concepts and stoaryboarding. I take care of the music, screenplay and editing and we both jointly direct all the vidoes in general." Speaking about the rest of his partners, the 38 year old said, "Ajith takes care of the legal side of things, Surbhi takes care of finance and partnerships and Suresh heads operations and Human Resources as we are growing everyday as a team and a channel."

Vinoth feels that the channel is the 'cartoon network of the digital world' and targets the age group of 0-6. "We are planning to get that up to 0-8," said Chander before adding that all the vidoes posted on his channel have no violence in them. Many of their videos are a compilation of many, making them 45 mins long so that parents do-not have to switch between videos on YouTube while working as their children enjoy.

When asked about how his life has changed since rising to fame, Vinoth immediately quipped, "We have our feet firmly on the ground. We have expanded operations and have 200 people working for us at our studio here in Chennai." "Fingers crossed, we hope to increase five-fold and have a subscriber base of 50 million in the next two to three years," he added.

The amount of time and energy that goes in to make a 2 to 3 minute video is surprising. "It takes three weeks," said the co-founder. The channel is also available ad-free for subscribers on other digital platforms like 'Amazon Prime' and plans are in place to make original content for the channel.

The channel has two million followers on Facebook and Vinoth and his team are constantly interacting with their fan-base, taking their views and suggestions on board. "Our fan-base is like our family," said Vinoth. "Many of our story ideas stem from their suggestions."

ChuChu TV is the fourth largest YouTube channel in India with its online audience larger than that of All India Bakchod (AIB), Viral Fever Videos or Comedy Nights, Colors TV and Star Plus. The channels more popular with a larger subscriber-base than ChuChu TV are T-Series, Sony and ZeeTV. However, T-Series has grown over the years through an upload of around 10000+ videos, SET India has around 17000+ videos and ZeeTV around 68000+ videos, whereas ChuChu TV has only 154 so far, making it a leader in its own right. In addition ChuChu TV has achieved this milestone in just 4 years since its inception. In terms of views, ChuChu TV has a whopping 12 billion views across all its channels. It ranks #1 in Asia Pacific region and in India and #2 worldwide in terms of  subscribers in the family entertainment & pre-school education categories. It has a fan-base spreading across 75 countries around the globe.

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