They’ve pretty much changed the scene of online entertainment in India (Ok, they, AIB and a host of other groups and channels) TVF, which was born because their TV series got rejected by MTV, has grown from an online parody about a TV show into emerging as a strong competitor for content on TV itself. Think I am stretching it too far, no I am not. Let me explain.
TVF and the many other YouTube channels that the young generation and many others are hooked on to, are simply filling the void created by lack of good content for a modern audience on TV. The fact that there are increasing number of English GEC’s(General Entertainment Channels) coming up is testimony of the fact that youngsters simply can’t take the Hindi channels’ saas bahu saga, and you can’t really watch Cricket all year long. That creates a gap, which is partially filled by downloaded torrents, now by Netflix for some, and then there comes the Indian homegrown YouTube channels.
These channels (Like TVF, AIB, ScreenPatti) have over multi million subscribers on YouTube, and with each video they create, fans get notifications on mail, via facebook, twitter and so on. More importantly, fans love these videos so much so, that most of them will share it with many more people, both online and offline.
Last year alone, hundreds of brands saw the opportunity of tying up with these online channels. These tie ups were not restricted to mere ad placements, but the brands were an integral part of many shows themselves. While Kingfisher subtly placed itself in TVF Pitchers, CommonFloor sponsored a show called Permanent Roommates(which is in Ola’s kitty this year), AIB had tie ups with Truly Madly, Urban Ladder and many other brands, while the popularity of some of these channels lead to Brands signing up lead characters from these channels for ads of their own. (Watch : TVF’s Arunabh Kumar in an ad for Vistaprint)
While brands need to justice by spending across the board, this growing interest by them in ‘online GECs’ clearly shows the growing popularity of the same. And while fads come and die, this online consumption of entertainment only seems to be rising. TV watching is constantly on the deline, while these online YouTube channels on the other hand are accessible at all times, and can in fact easily be screened on the big screen as well. They are in that sense, perhaps our very own Netflix.
The fact that Tiger Global must have spotted an opportunity in such a medium and invested close to 65 cr(10 mn $) just goes on to show the potential these channels have. And while we are just getting started, there is a long road ahead. Marketers, stay aware, this new age and era of native advertising and content marketing is right here, don’t miss this bus while you stay busy with ‘traditional forms of digital marketing’. Content is King, and beyond regular advertising, you need to be part of the storytelling.
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