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Bored with television? Log on to a host of Indian online channels that are capturing the youth with offbeat content

January 31, 2014 12:44:08 am

The Trouble Seeker Team posted their latest video of a guy being beaten up by the roadside. It was an experiment, to gauge the reactions of passersby — will they take action or just walk away. Some did, some did not. Six days since the video was posted by the Delhi-based group, it has already crossed one lakh hits.

In another window, Mumbai-based team of webcasters, The Viral Fever (TVF) — founded by IITian Arunabh Kumar — is busy producing edgy content for their quirky channel called, Q-Tiyapa and TVF Recyclebin. Their spoof on Roadies called Rowdies was an instant hit as was their Gaana wala song (a spoof on Student of the Year’s Ishq wala love). They also came up with the very funny mish-mash of Gangs of Wasseypur as Gangs of Social Media, and Inglorious Seniors, a parody on ragging in colleges with an Inglourious Basterds twist. These quirky productions of TVF have crossed over 10 million views on YouTube. Their videos are such a rage that even Anurag Kashyap starred in one.

Online content is making its presence felt on the Indian entertainment scene. Last year, Viacom18 Motion Pictures and Anurag Kashyap Films Private Limited forayed into short film formats, powered by YouTube. Yahoo is catching on, having signed celebrity chef Vikas Khanna for a live online cookery show. Bindass kickstarted the game with its first original award-winning web show, Chikipedia that went on YouTube two years ago. YouTube also joined hands with leading production houses to launch Comedy Week in India, last year. MTV India too launched an exclusive 12-part web-series Saturday Night, Alright! Then there’s All India Bakchod and also the world’s longest and India’s only late night comedy show hosted by Sumeet Raghavan called Jay Hind! on Jay Hind TV.

There’s more. Sony Music in association with Madboys Entertainment presented a first of its kind Tanglish (Tamil and English) a new generation web series, Happy to be Single. The internet has become a platform for the entertainment fix for youngsters, as they are bored by the usual saas-bahu dramas on TV.

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Industry insiders are keenly observing the trend. While Lavina Tauro, Director, Video & Products-Digital, Disney UTV, feels the medium is still in its nascent stages, Prakash Ramchandani, CEO Spuul-India, believes this is the future. “People are moving to smart phones and consuming content on-the-go. Moreover, India is still, largely, a single television household, and that’s where tabs and phones offer multi-viewing screening space,” says Ramchandani.Like USA’s Netflix, Spuul offers a legitimate source of digital media, streaming films and Hindi entertainment shows. Online is the quickest way of accessing information and as actor-anchor Manish Paul puts it, “it’s also free of censorship, spoofy, funny and original”.

“India is a very mobile first market, and as opposed to television, digital medium is an interactive one where content creators get instant feedback. For example, Chickipedia’s content was in a snacky format. The youth today want to consume content relevant to them and at their own convenience,” adds Tauro, sharing names of their other hit online properties including MENtals, Liquor Fikar and web series such as Dilli Ki Billi and Mamman Bhai.

Founded by Rahul Sharma, The Trouble Seeker Team was started after Sharma’s love for prank videos on YouTube. “We were always the funny guys in school,” says Sharma. The challenge according to Prashant Raj, Managing Partner, Head of Operations of TVF, is to create quality content with thrilling edgy productions such as their mini web-series Aadha 24. “Comedy gets you into the fold but we are dealing with an audience that has international exposure and demands the best. We have to create more original stuff,” adds Raj.

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