Following its launch earlier this month in Malaysia, streamer Aha is set to bow in Singapore and the Middle East.
The service, currently available in the Telugu and Tamil languages, will also begin offering Malayalam-language content with an eye on the Middle East expansion, where a migrant population that speaks the language abounds.
Operated by Arha Media and Broadcasting, the Telugu-language service began in Jan. 2020 and the Tamil service followed in February this year. Malaysia, where there is a large Tamil-speaking population, was a logical next step, with four originals by local filmmakers in Malaysian Tamil, where the inflexions are slightly different from the Tamil spoken in India. Singapore, which also has a significant Tamil population, will follow.
“We’re not trying to be a South Indian platform or a regional platform, instead, we want to go on a hyperlocal strategy,” Aha CEO Ajit Thakur told Variety on the sidelines of the APOS conference in Singapore. “We want to build and invest in the creative community.”
Aha is available in more than 100 territories, including the U.S. The streamer’s first U.S. original “American Dreams” bowed last year and two more shows are being planned. Aha’s promise to subscribers is a new show a week in each language. Of the 52 Telugu and 52 Tamil shows every year, 50% are commissioned and the other half acquired.
Aha has a base of 10 million monthly active users, of which 2.3 million are paying subscribers and the rest access it as an AVOD service. Thakur says that the aim is to build paying subscribers to 10 million in three years.
“We have the audacious goal that in the fifth year of operation we will break even. And we are on our way to that,” Thakur said. “Break-even will happen at the sweet spot of 60% subscription revenue, 30% advertising revenue, another 10% will come from syndication and others.”
The Aha global expansion is powered by Los Angeles technology company Quickplay. The company’s COO Goutham Vinjamuri and CBO Paul Pastor are also attending APOS.