EXCLUSIVE: Sony YAY! Business Head Talks About ‘Anime Booth’ Being A Significant Milestone For Indian Anime Fans

Sony YAY! recently launched ‘Anime Booth,’ a 24/7 anime channel, in collaboration with Airtel in India. This was seen as a positive development for anime fans in the country. Even with the increasing presence of anime streaming services in the country, the channel offers new dimension and opens up exciting possibilities for anime in India.

In light of this recent development, Animehunch team decided to have a chat with Leena Lele Dutta, Business Head Sony YAY!, to know more about Anime Booth and what it holds for us in the future.

Leena Lele Dutta
Leena Lele Dutta

AH: What was the thought process behind launching Anime Booth? How long has this plan been under work?

Leena Lele Dutta: Since 2022, Sony YAY! has expanded its content offering to include anime. With a steady rise in anime viewership, Sony YAY! recognizes the immense potential in this genre, particularly among Indian audiences. The launch of Anime Booth is a strategic step towards meeting this growing demand not just amongst kids but also young adults.  The channel offering includes thoughtfully curated selection of popular and high-quality anime titles that resonate with the audience, ensuring they can enjoy their favourite shows anytime and anywhere.

Airtel also realized this demand and the collaboration with Sony YAY! for Anime Booth led to a mutually beneficial partnership. This collaboration is a significant milestone as it is a first -of -its kind 24X7 anime channel available in Hindi in India. 

AH: Fan-favorite Anime like Dragon Ball Super, MHA, Naruto etc currently air on CN & Sony YAY!. Will the launch of Anime Booth change anything for these channels?

Leena Lele Dutta: Most channels, including Sony YAY! , offer anime in a specific block on the channel, limiting the viewing hours for anime. A dedicated channel for anime allows us to increase the expanse of offering for this ever-growing fanbase. The introduction of Anime Booth will complement the existing offerings by providing a dedicated platform for anime content in Hindi, catering to a wider audience. This expansion is to create a dedicated destination that will further enhance the overall viewing experience for anime fans, offering them more options to enjoy their favourite shows across a unique platform. 

AH: We are curious to know about Sony’s licensing process for acquiring anime for Anime Booth and if there will be any licensing clashes with other streaming services that offer anime in India.

Leena Lele Dutta: Sony YAY! will continue building the Anime block and continue to acquire relevant content that lend itself to the niche yet growing the anime fan base. Through these acquisitions we have had the opportunity to collaborate with Airtel to build a 24×7 anime offering. 

AH: According to reports, all the anime on Anime Booth will be Hindi dubbed. What prompted Sony and Airtel to make this choice?

Leena Lele Dutta: The decision to dub all anime on Anime Booth in Hindi was made to make the content more accessible to a wider audience in India. Hindi is widely understood and spoken across the country, and we believe that dubbing the anime in Hindi will help us reach a larger audience, even across the deepest pockets of the country. 

AH: Can fans expect Anime Booth to roll out more regional dubs, including Tamil Telugu etc?

Leena Lele Dutta: We launched Sony YAY! in regional languages and that set our channel apart from our competitors. We are planning on the same strategy for Anime Booth. Our goal is to make anime more accessible to audiences across India. While our focus is currently on Hindi dubs, we are open to exploring the possibility of rolling out more regional dubs, including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, etc., if there is a demand for more such languages. We will continue to explore ways to achieve this and are committed to serving the diverse preferences of our audience.

AH: Finally, do you think Anime Booth will be able to fill the void that has been left behind by Animax in India?

Leena Lele Dutta: We understand the love and passion that Indian audiences have for anime, and we are committed to providing them with a platform where they can enjoy their favorite anime shows. We believe that Anime Booth will be able to capture the essence among Indian viewers and offer a similar experience with a fresh and exciting lineup of internationally acclaimed anime titles.

Anime Booth will be accessible through Airtel’s DTH services, with a subscription cost of  ₹1.8 per day. The channel will provide an ad free experience to fans with an ever expanding library as new anime series will be added periodically to it.

Anime Booth is currently confirmed to air Naruto and Naruto Shippuden, along with Ninja Boy Rantaro, Sergeant Keroro and others.