An Indian Youtube channel ‘All India Bakchod’ recently released a video called AIBKnockout, featuring Bollywood actors Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor, and director Karan Johar. It was a video about a live show where a panel of people from entertainment business took turns to roast the actors, throwing on some rude, comedic and offensive insults in front of live audience, including other Bollywood celebrities, to raise money for charitable organisations.
The blunt commentary and profane language used in the show had the audience laughing out loud, and YouTube viewers too. The two hour show was released in three parts on 28th January 2015 night, and its first part was viewed over 1.5 million times in 24 hours, with the numbers still rising.
This was not the first instance of such a video going viral in India, previously a pun video on Alia Bhatt created by the same team with Bollywood celebs trended across social media too. And while it is common to see hashtags around Bollywood movies trending on Twitter, such YouTube channels have started to experience their share of popularity on different social platforms as well. So where does this leave the good old TV shows? Certainly some reality TV shows like Bigg Boss hit the top Twitter trends occasionally, but is their social online engagement as high as their online counterparts?
Youth Led Youth Entertainment
India is a youth dominated country. With over 65% of its population below the age of 35, and over 50% of its population below the age of 25, a majority of the Internet users fall in the latter bracket.
These days, the meaning and source of entertainment has changed for the youth. While piracy and torrenting has been going on from a long time, original web based content available for streaming is gaining traction too. YouTube channels such as ‘All India Bakchod’, ‘TVF’, ‘Kanan Gill’, ‘East India Comedy’ etc. have a growing base of subscribers, making it clear that they are grabbing attention of the young generation.
They address real life issues with humour and sarcasm. The content of these videos is original and youth centric. With their mocking, straightforward and detached style of communication they unveil the larger picture of the social issues and also a gateway to lighthearted comedy. The ‘Saas-Bahu’ soap operas are still prominent on the television, but they cater to a different segment of population all together.
YouTube TV v/s Conventional TV
With 896,983 subscribers (As of 29th January) TVF (The Viral Fever) stands ahead of its peers on YouTube. It also has a dedicated website for its videos.
AIB (All India Bakchod) stands second after TVF with 752,922 subscribers. Kanan Gill, who dissects films has 184,452 subscribers and 108,900 subscribers of East India Comedy follows up in the queue.
TV channels realised the importance of the online media for a long time now, and they have been broadcasting their shows on YouTube. Sony (Set Entertainment TV) is leading the queue of offline entertainment media online as it has 3,951,647 subscribers followed with Zee TV and StarPlus with 2,251,434 and 2,047,536 subscribers respectively.
TVF subscribers and SET India subscribers for 20th January, TVF has 900k subscribers and SET India has around 3,900k subscribers. From the above stats it clearly shows that the conventional medium of entertainment i.e. TV still have an upper hand over online media.
Even though they do not produce web exclusive content, they upload videos of their shows on YouTube to be later viewed by their followers. There is a possibility that these conventional channels might be creating a friction internally by using two mediums to broadcast their content, with online being a less profitable one at the moment but with a higher chance of growth.
Online only channels in India still have a long way to go to match up to their scale. But at the same time, what sets the new-age channels apart is their content. As long as they continue to provide original relevant content and keep their audience glued, they will continue to sustain.
Where is the money coming from?
Content is not only sufficient for survival, monetization is important. The TV channels have a strong backing of funds and production agencies. Most of the YouTube Channels however started out like a fun hobby of the channel owners, but converted into regular engaging medium once they gained more traffic.
YouTube ads is one way they are earning their money from, however some matured ones have taken a few steps ahead and explored other avenues as well, such as brand promotion, native advertising, content marketing etc. For instance, TVF’s show ‘Permanent Roommates’ is being sponsored by online company Commonfloor.com and some of East India Comedy’s videos have been sponsored by CouponDunia. Since the virality quotient of these videos is high, the brands are able to leverage that for their promotion.
AIB humorously quoted that the celebrities respective PRs played a role in getting the celebrities featured in their videos, hence this is another way they are making money. Nonetheless this would be still less than what the conventional media would be earning. However looking at the popularity they are gaining, it won’t be surprising if they enter into mainstream entertainment business as well and give a head on competition to the Indian TV shows.