In the US, YouTube revenue has been penalized for Islamic cartoons made in Malaysia

Animation for Muslim childrenOmar and HanaIt’s been watched over 3 billion times in 50 countries, through its YouTube channels, but last year it’s been hard to come by. digital durianMalaysian animation production company. Its revenue has been affected by new US tax policy, as well as lawsuits over data collection from children’s content on streaming platforms, without considering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on commerce.

Launched in 2017, this cartoon, which chronicles the ups and downs of two brothers, Omar and Hana, who are four and six years old respectively, quickly became popular in Malaysia, through his YouTube channel, which now has 5 million subscribers.

When the English language channel was launched, Omar & Hana attracted an international audience of 830,000 subscribers and daily views, peaking at 100,000. Also, during this year’s Ramadan, there were around 2 million daily views.

Despite such a large number of views, “the past year has been busy,” said Digital Durian CEO Sinan Ismail, not just because of the pandemic, but mostly because of the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). , which posted a 60-70% drop in YouTube revenue last year.

The Malaysian production company’s business model is based on advertising revenue generated by the world’s most popular free-to-watch platform, YouTube, divided by 45% for the platform and 55% for the creator.

However, in September 2019, the owner of the streaming platform, Google, was forced to reach a $170 million settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission alleging a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), limiting the collection and use of data from children under the age of 13 years without my father.

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YouTube faces a similar legal challenge in the UK for $3.2 billion.

The revenue loss prompted Digital Durian to change its business model, publish YouTube channels in more languages ​​and produce more content, which once again boosted growth and revenue.


Digital Durian has accelerated the Arab launch of Omar & Hana, as it has attracted, since September 2020, 700,000 daily views and reached 210,000 subscribers.

Saudi Arabia accounts for about 40% of the spectators.

In addition, an Urdu language channel was launched, which attracted 30,000 subscribers, mostly in Pakistan.

The need to reach more eyes and the challenge of monetization prompted Digital Durian to launch a dedicated Omar & Hana app, which has been downloaded half a million times.


Omar and Hana toys and accessories have been affected by reduced foot traffic at retail outlets in Southeast Asia as a result of the pandemic. Regulated by a licensing model, the company was not able to force licensees to adopt new sales strategies, such as e-commerce. That is why he had to take a new direction by developing a preschool curriculum.

Omar & Hana content was launched in Malaysia, and is used in educational modules.

Financing the Global Roadmap to 2030

Digital Durian is now expanding its plans with its 2030 Roadmap.

The biggest change is the company’s direction, with the long-term goal of becoming a world-class entertainment company, with an Islamic core, by continuing to produce “Omar and Hana”, but also creating new content. Intellectual property and launch more applications.

To achieve its goal, the company is looking for local and international financing, without losing sight of its “mission”.

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Raising funds for the entertainment of Muslim children has proven to be a challenge.

For example, Canada-based Muslim Kids TV (MKTV) is looking for lenders after five years in business and is also struggling to attract the right kind of investors.

There is no normative standard for Islamic content, and it is difficult to get potential investors to understand the difference between a project with more nuances, in the medium and long term, and a simple cartoon (even if it really isn’t).

With money in their pocket, Digital Durian can seek to partner with a broadcast channel, provided that they have control over their own content or develop their own broadcast platform, in addition to expanding the range of shows and also launching theme parks, which they intend to invest thanks to the experience accumulated with time passing.

Maggie Benson

"Bacon trailblazer. Certified coffee maven. Zombie lover. Tv specialist. Freelance communicator."

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