With story tellers at home being a rarity what with nuclear families being the norm, and children rushing to school and attending other classes to supplement their learning, it was opportune time for an app that would narrate stories for children. Bulbul Apps, a company focusing on narrating stories, has a target audience of pre-schoolers and children up to eight years of age.
The company recently released TUK-TUK in Mumbai, the first app in its travel series, about a child’s imaginative journey on a vehicle. Three-time Emmy Award winner Mark Zaslove wrote 30 stories for Bulbul Apps, of which Princess and the Pea recently went on to become the number one e-book in 14 countries.
Bulbul Apps was founded in 2014 by film maker Prakash Dantuluri, so that his daughter could be familiarized with traditional and regional stories of India.
"While majority of people moved away from books to the digital world our research showed that there is very little content available out there except English folk tales and fables. We found hardly any quality stories that and stories from our region or in our native language. Though the media consumption was shifting to personal devices, most of the content available on smartphones and tablets were still aged and there was a need for something fresh and new."
After introducing a technology that enables artists to publish stories as apps without any coding, Dantuluri created Bulbul Apps, a library app, so that anyone anywhere can easily access stories on any device or platform. It has stories in eight categories-- folktales, princess stories, Indian mythology, Mowgli and Bulbul, Krishna series and English rhymes.
The company has raised $250K in angel round. It follows a collaborative model. “We believe collaboration solves the problem of talent scarcity and brings down the production cost, in some cases by 90 percent,” says Dantului.
Bulbul Apps has 120 story tellers, animators, illustrators from 30+ countries and 45 books live in its Apps library. One such collaboration led to a Christian writer from Mumbai, a Spanish artist from Mexico, an Israeli music studio, a Muslim animator and a Hyderabadi voice-over artist collaborated to create Krishna and the Universe, a mobile phone story for children.
How it works
The app is available as free download on Google Play Store, Apple App Store and Microsoft Windows App Store.
The user can choose any book by scrolling through the library or selecting from a list. Once a book is downloaded, you can open it by tapping on it. Each book has 15-18 pages depending on the story and every page has an illustration, one sentence of text, voice over and interactive animations.
“We began with folk tales in English. Now we are moving into local apps in Hindi and Telugu. Our target is to introduce apps in another 12 languages over the next six months,” says Dantuluri.
Revenues are driven by subscription. Some innovations include offline videos, a new book every week, learning activities, puzzles and games.
The company is focusing on user acquisition and retention and piloting few experiments to build its monetization plans. It plans on offering more features before monetizing the app.
Dantuluri says lack of a payment mechanism on Android has become a barrier for the firm. “We find a huge challenge in terms of payment gateways. What is missing is a robust payment mechanism for parents to use services like ours.”
“We were recently approached by a Chinese content aggregator. They loved our Krishna series so much so that, they are creating a whole new category called ‘Indian Stories’ and offering our apps and videos in that category. We never thought of things like these,” informs Dantuluri.
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Updated Date: Dec 07, 2015 16:15 PM