With content being created especially for the digital medium,online entertainment is slowly picking up in India
A girl throws a tantrum,which prompts her boyfriend to pull out an imaginary revolver and shoot himself. All episodes of Chickipedia begin this way and over the next two minutes,showcase different scenarios of strife between couples,followed by tips for men on how to deal with such situations.
Cliched and sometimes sexist the content of this comedy web series by Disney UTV Bindass,which is aimed at helping men understand women,has been a huge success. With 13 episodes available till now,the weekly show has garnered over five lakh viewers. Until a year ago,we were using content from Bindass TV channel to create an online presence. The response encouraged us to make content especially for this medium, says Sameer Pitalwalla,DirectorVideo and Celebrity,Disney UTV.
The model adopted by Disney UTV is by no means new. Lonelygirl15,The Guild,The Annoying Orange and Burning Love are series already successful on the web. American TV show host Larry Kings show will soon be available only on the internet on a subscription basis,and Oprah Winfrey is likely to follow suit. Indians,too,are warming up to the concept.
Stand-up comedy show Jay Hind!,hosted by TV actor Sumeet Raghavan,which was launched in 2009,became Indias first successful web series. It is now also aired on Colors. On the other hand,Bangalore-based Lakshmi Rebecca conceptualises and hosts an infotainment chat show,Chai with Lakshmi,which has crossed one lakh views. The entrepreneur interviews local celebrities and talents,such as accomplished musicians,chefs and sportspersons,among others.
The market for this medium is likely to grow by 50 per cent over the next two years. Several factors,says Jay Hind!s producer Abhigyan Jha,work in favour of the medium. The possibility of experimenting is most important it allows one creative freedom without boardroom politics and corporate diktats, says Jha.
The low cost involved in creating these series also serves as a draw. Since content is key,familiar faces are not necessary,explains Pitalwalla,adding that the challenge lies in understanding the medium. The internet offers tools that no other medium can. A user can be directed to other content,hyperlinks can be used,annotations can allow the user to play games related to the show. For instance,our next episode is a video game,something we cannot do on TV, he explains.