Digital entertainment channels are changing the future of television in India by targeting younger generation and leveraging the power of internet. Digital entertainment industry witnessed a growth of 300% in traffic in just one year. YouTube which was primarily a channel to upload videos is now also hosting popular web series.
The Viral Fever (TVF), one of the biggest YouTube channels in India which creates web series and comedy shows, became the fastest YouTube online network to attract one million subscribers in original content category. TVF Pitchers, one of their web series became the only Indian TV series to get featured in the IMDB top 250 list of TV shows (rated 50th). $10 million investment in TVF by Tiger Global shows investors’ confidence in this booming industry. This confidence gets strengthened with the fact that top 10 content creators on YouTube earned $54 million in 2014 and 2015.
Unlike traditional promotional strategy where a brand just sponsors a show (Show X sponsored by brand Y), monetization strategy of TVF is to produce branded content where they create a show around the core essence of the brand. For example, Permanent Roommates, TVF’s RomCom web series revolves around a couple hunting for a house. They used house searching platform called common floor as an integral part of the story which resulted in high brand awareness for the housing platform. Because of their huge youth following and more impactful marketing, brands are willing to spend big bucks in marketing with TVF.
These channels are leveraging below benefits of an online platform –
- Convenience – People do not want fixed viewings timings as they would prefer watching shows as per their convenience. Online format provides the much needed flexibility in terms of timings to the audience. At the same time, people are increasingly using their mobile phones to consume online content on the go.
- Web friendly generation and Interactive Platform – YouTube had made people familiar with online platform. Hence, TVF online web series did not require any habit or technology change as people were already spending enough time on YouTube. It also helped in collecting feedback as people would like, dislike, post comments and reviews on YouTube.
- Brand Champions taking the brand building charge – More views, more likes and more number of subscribers are clearly the success criteria of a successful online channel. Word of mouth plays an important role in making a web series popular as people share their favorite videos on their social media platform. As more number of people share a video, more number of people want to understand what the buzz is about and soon the high number of subscriber list attract more brands and consumers to the platform.
How big movie studios in India are utilizing the digital media platform as test markets?
One of the biggest and most renowned movie studio of India, YRF (Yash Raj Films) launched a web series using You Tube channel called Y films. For them, YouTube provides a platform to test new talent and new concepts. YouTube channel acts as a data source where they could experiment and get quick feedback. With details like what consumers are watching multiple times and where they are pausing can provide key consumer insights in understanding ever evolving consumer preferences.
This creates a feedback loop which goes from their online team to movie studios team. Producing a movie is highly capital intensive and using online model intelligently, movie studios can help derisk the movie process upto a certain extent. Testing the concept on You tube channels requires a low cost investment but can generate data and learning which could be used when investing millions of dollars in movies.
This could be super relevant for most of the movie studios in India as they mostly don’t use data in making strategy decisions. Hiring a big star and investing big bucks in promoting the movie on television is still the most common strategy used by big movie studios in India. Using digital media channel can provide a lot of data and structure in the decision making process which includes everything from the concept, story line to the right star cast. This is similar to how Netflix leveraged it online data to come up with their blockbuster show “House of Cards”.
You tube has leveled the playing field by providing creators like TVF to come up with content which consumers love. At the same time big movie studios are leveraging it for trial and error and data creation purposes.