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What is Byju's doing with Disney?

Last updated on: March 20, 2019 17:50 IST

Byju's acquires licences of hundreds of characters from Disney; to use cartoon characters to teach math, science.
Yuvraj Malik and Bibhu Ranjan Mishra report.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Byju's

Learning is about to get less mundane as popular cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, among hundreds of others, will soon be teaching math and science.

Byju's, the unicorn Indian start-up that recently became the world's most-valued edu-tech firm, is bringing popular cartoon characters to its learning platform through licensing deals with top media production houses globally, highly placed sources said.

The Bengaluru-headquartered firm, which is preparing for its global launch this year, including in the US and several English speaking markets, has bought rights to use some 80 per cent of characters from The Walt Disney Company.

Business Standard reported the development in October. Besides Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Disney is also the creator of Aladdin, Winnie-the-Pooh, and Snow White -- characters that have global reach.

"There will have a lot of powerful characters in the app, not only from Disney. The company is bringing cartoon and human characters which are popular across the world that have a good recall in markets," said sources close to the development.

 

IMAGE: Byju Raveendran, Founder and CEO, Byju

More such deals and integrations are underway, the person added.

The premise is simple. Byju's is entering the elementary school category and working on a product line for Class I-III student, an audience segment that it does not cater at present.

It is also working on a fresh offering in the US, the UK and Australia.

Sources said that Byju's had a business partnership with these production houses as per which the company will give a royalty for each character it uses.

The company plans to use certain characters in geographies where they are most popular.

The strategy, it is expected, will help Byju's gain early traction among users who are not already familiar with Byju's brand.

The company, however, declined to comment on these developments.

As part of the international expansion strategy, Byju's has already established an office in the US in January.

It also acquired Osmo, a developer of learning and educational gaming for $120 million. The biggest moot of Osmo is that it uses external inputs and attachments for an immersive learning experience.

Byju's will integrate Osmo's offering with its own products, which largely include video lessons, games and reading material.

Byju's is also set to benefit from Osmo's users in 20,000 US schools and insights on the local user base.

The company said it was open to more such acquisitions and strategic tie-up in overseas markets after a mega funding round in December.

Byju's is evaluating a few companies that either have established products in this space or have good brand awareness in these markets, or a combination of both, Raveendran said.

In December last year, Byju's raised $400 million from Nasper, Tencent and Canada Pension Fund, valuing the 10-year old firm at $3.6 billion.

The learning app has 30 million users and 2 million paid subscribers, according to the company.

Yuvraj Malik and Bibhu Ranjan Mishra in Bengaluru
Source: source
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