Creating an Independent Entertainment Industry in India-Role of YouTube

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 2521 , Published on 15 April 2013
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At 1,879, 577 views TVF (The Viral Fever)’s spoof on popular MTV reality show , was one of the top 10 most watched videos on Youtube of last year. The popularity of the video gave them a new lease of life. Ever since then TVF has been a leading channel for online entertainment with close to 45,000 subcribers today.

Stand-up comedian Nitin Gupta, popularly known as Rivaldo, who performs stand-up comic pieces on politics, finance, relationships, etc and simultaneously uploads them on Youtube, has became a rage on social networking sites.  

However, the question that arises is whether the popularity of their content good enough to help them earn their living? Is it a sustainable model to generate revenue of any kind?

The answer is yes!

image:freedigitalphotos.net

In the recent years, Youtube has attracted many professionals by giving them a share in the advertisement revenue. Based on the popularity and genre of content, Youtube serves ads along with them. These ads are very similar to the TV Ads we have been accustomed to from ages.

There are 4 kinds of Ads.

  1. Display ads: These are banners run across all areas of the site except the Homepage. 
  2. Overlay in-video ads: These are transparent overlay ads that appear on the lower portion of your video.
  3. TrueView in-stream ads: These are skippable video ads that are inserted before, during or after the main video.
  4. Standard in-stream ads: These are video ads that are inserted before, during, or after the main video.

One of the first organizations in India to understand the potential of this social media forum was 1takemedia headed by Saameer Mody. Through their content division, Pocket Films, 1takemedia uploads the short films and documentaries of various independent filmmakers in India. There is no cost charged for uploading. Once Youtube puts its ads along with a video uploaded, the channel starts earning revenues on “per view” basis.

Certain genres attract more views; hence the ads on those videos increase.

The website periodically informs the channel about the number of views and countries in which the video was viewed. 

It is interesting to note that even Corporate have started realizing how easily they can break the clutter at fractional costs with viral content. One of the many forms of Guerilla Marketing the objective is to create a unique, engaging and thought-provoking concept to generate buzz.

So apart from revenue through Youtube Ads, TVF also earns from creating online viral content for various brands.

One of the best examples of their creativity was when they created a imaginary news session in an undivided India for the promotion of Hindi film “Kya Dilli Kya Lahore”.

The news session ended with the newsreaders informing about the release of the film saying it was based on “imaginary events where India has supposedly been divided in 1947 and the repercussions of which continue to haunt both the nations”. The irony of the ad proved a great help to the film generating the right amount of curiosity for it besides setting the required tone.

How does one define viral? Is it just the number of hits? Stephen Remedios who takes workshops for b-school students on shopper behavior and guerilla marketing defines anything that grows at a rapid pace (in terms of views on Youtube) as viral. Social Networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr have only helped multiply the reach and impact of these videos.

Youtube has become a preferred source of entertainment over Television because of mismatch in timings at which a program is aired and when people are free. The following chart would illustrate the activities of a regular T.V. viewer in India.

Profile

Morning

Afternoon

Evening

Night

Working Men/ Women

Getting ready for work

Away on work

Away on work

Come back home

Housewives

Busy with household chores

Relatively free time

Dinner preparations

Household chores/ Relatively free time

Youngsters

School/ College

School/ College

College student come back home

Spare time- spent at home/ with friends/ on the net

Kids

School

Come back home

Mostly at play, studying or coaching classes

At home: time divided between homework and spare time

Retired Members/

Grandparents

Small household chores

Sleep

Outdoors for walks, meeting people

Free time

Source: “TV Viewing: Reasons for shifting loyalty” by L.V.Krishnan, Sharan Sharma & Akash Chawla

From the above data it can be inferred that apart from housewives, nobody else has enough time to watch the television.

People mostly catch up with programmes they have missed, by downloading them from television channel websites or recording them over digital video recorder.

However, lack of contemporary content on Indian television channels and exposure to western television shows has permanently altered the loyalties of younger audience to Youtube.

“Youtube is a new channel in itself. We need not rely on television channels to give us a slot anymore” says Rivaldo.

What needs to be taken note of is that apart from independent artistes a lot of established names are also airing their content on Youtube for various reasons.

The makers of the popular television show ‘Movers & Shakers’ decided to launch their new show ‘Jay Hind!’ on Youtube instead of a television channel. It gave them an edge in the following two areas:-

  1. No censorship issues with either jokes or dig at someone.
  2. Wider Reach as unlike a satellite channel, its viewership is not limited to certain countries. More importantly, a program put on Youtube is at our disposal, to be seen at any time of the day and any number of times.

The show became so popular that Colors, a leading Hindi General Entertainment Channel, acquired its satellite rights and started airing it under a new name – ‘The Late Night Show’.

Shradda Sharma is another great example of Youtube success story. The amateurish singer used to upload cover versions of Hindi movie songs on her Youtube channel shraddharockin. The videos became so popular that Shraddha Sharma was signed as the brand ambassador of MTS MBlaze – an internet data card company, showing how the power of Internet established her as a Cyberworld Celbrity. Another major brand, Hair & Care, signed her too for an advertisement. Shraddha has just sung her first original solo composition. Needless to say, it was aired on Youtube first.

Even major film production houses are making customized promotional content for Youtube. Whether it’s a gaming Application [Barfi!], an unedited trailer [Gangs of Wasseypur] or making of the film, the content is up on Youtube first before coming on television.

The reason is simple. According to a recent online survey by Google (with 2000 respondents), almost 70% of the viewers in India are under 35 years of age, who spend over 48 hours a month on the website. 72% of these viewers have a college degree or higher. (The growth trajectory matches Youtube’s global trend)

This is exactly the target audience for any Indian film. If they can make a positive impression on them, the film is sure to have a great opening weekend.

One of the best examples is the effect of song from Tamil Film ‘3’ – “Why this Kolaveri di?” The song registered a record 3.5 million views within first week of its release becoming the first Tamil Song to be aired on MTV. Needless to say, the film also got a great opening.

What lies ahead?

The Google survey had also revealed that Smartphone owners spend one quarter of their YouTube time on mobile, while tablet owners spend about 20%. With the growth in the number of Smartphone and tablet users, the effect of Youtube is only going to multiply.

The new generation would define what’s popular in content and culture and support more talent. Maybe the day is not far away when even  pay-per-click policy would get implemented on Youtube ending the monopoly of big movie studios and satellite television channels forever.

This article has been authored by Abhishek Chatterjee from XIMB.


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