Web and watch

Jan 05 2014, 11:27 IST
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SummaryWith an explosion in the country’s online video consumption, some players are shifting their focus from ‘prime time’ to ‘real time’—generating content exclusively for the Net

In just about a year and a half of its launch, Disney UTV’s Chickipedia, a comedy Web series aimed at ‘helping men understand women’, has clocked about two lakh viewership per episode with users spending up to 70% of their time watching the videos

Launched only in August last year, Trendspotters.tv, a digital channel network, which intends to comprehend trends from fashion and lifestyle to business, politics, sports, music and even gadgets, has managed to attract over 1,60,410 unique visitors and counting. Some of its popular shows like Vikramaditya Motwane: From ‘Udaan’ to ‘Lootera’, Candid Confessions by Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Trend Alert: The Blues Are Back are seeing up to 2,500 visitors per day on an average

MTV India’s first season of Drive with MTV—showing four teams of contestants on a road trip across the country over a period of 21 days—was aired entirely on the Web and had 1,41,000 tweets and other social media content generated around it.

THESE ARE not one-off cases. With the viewers’ focus shifting from prime time to real time, the Net is increasingly becoming the go-to platform for the Indian media and entertainment industry. And why wouldn’t it? The growth in the number of smartphone users, coupled with an increasing number of people staying online, has led to an explosion in online video consumption in India, supposedly the world’s third-largest Internet market. Today, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), the total number of Internet subscribers, including mobile device users, is pegged at 198.39 million (at the end of June 2013).

Just the numbers show how online video content has grown over the years. According to ComScore’s Video Metrix report, released in May 2013, online video consumption has doubled in India over the past two years. The number of videos viewed per month has gone from 1.8 billion in March 2011 to 3.7 billion in March 2013. The total online video audience in India has grown 74% to 54 million viewers over the period, with the average viewer watching 18% more videos and spending 28% more time viewing.

They could be watching films, cricket matches, TV shows, yoga and cookery lessons, among other things, on their mobiles, laptops, tablets, phablets, etc. This explains the reason behind the growing number of consumers who want to watch original entertainment content online and aspirant broadcast networks coming up with full-fledged online entertainment channels that provide Web-only episodes.

“Today, audiences are interested

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