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The new-age content celebrities

MUMBAI: When Arunabh Kumar approached a production house six years ago with his webisode script, he was given a thumbs down and was told that it was way too early to create content specifically for the web. In February 2012, Kumar released the first video under The Viral Fever banner, now known for popular web series ‘Pitchers’.

Anagha RajadhyakshaAnagha Rajadhyaksha identified a niche segment—how-to videos. “People are never going to stop searching for a good recipe—how to make dal makhani, for instance,” says Anagha, who co-founded Ping Digital Broadcast. The company has brought to the forefront the girl/boy or aunty/uncle next door who’ve gone on to become heroes with substantial fan following.

Stand-up comedian Kunal Rao, founder of the East India Company, decided to launch his own digital channel. “We started off with the intention to create awareness about live English comedy in India. Earlier I’d travel 80 days across cities doing shows to generate interest. Now, I simply upload a five-minute video and reach out to a far larger audience,” said Kunal.

Say hello to the new-age content celebrities, who aren’t afraid to go through the litmus test of the unforgiving and evolving digital audience. “We once had a Bengali chef who gave out a Punjabi recipe. We were flaked for it by fans,” said Anagha.

Advertisers can no longer ignore the digital medium and the audiences it is capturing. But digital advertising needs to be done in a subtle manner, else it bombs.

Anuj Gosalia“We created a series of short stories for Cornetto without mentioning the brand’s name. The campaign #ShareTheLove got phenomenal response,” shared Terribly Tiny Tales co-founder & CEO Anuj Gosalia. To be sure, his company is set to create 100 new stories for Cornetto this year.

While Anuj’s company mopped up a good figure in lakhs from the brand, not every advertiser is willing to pay as much.

“Branded content is one avenue for digital content makers, but even with mobile traffic going up, revenue from advertising is yet to inch up,” said Qyuki co-founder & MD Samir Bangara.

“We receive about 120 million views a month on our network, of which 90 million come from mobile. Even then, ad sales is taking a hit. It is a phase that will change in due course of time,” added Anagha.

Monetisation remains a grey area, although for brands the cost of acquiring a set of audience is negligible. Take for instance, Salman Khan-starrer ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’, a Rajjat Barjatiyafilm that didn’t create much magic at the box-office. Its spoof by Click Digital Studios took the digital audiences by storm, so much so that the producers of the film Rajshri Productions decided to claim the video!

A challenge digital content makers/publishers face is that of subscription. Although channel subscription is free, viewers are averse to subscribing. “One of the reasons is that for the average Indian user, the idea of subscription is linked to a fee. The digital audience needs to be made aware that subscribing to channels doesn’t cost any money,” said Rajshri Entertainment MD & CEO Rajjat Barjatiya.

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