Dig­i­tally Con­nected

The digital en­ter­tain­ment com­pany has roped in Epigamia and Zoom­car as ‘ti­tle’ and ‘driven by’ spon­sors for the web se­ries.

The Brand Reporter - - DIGITAL - By Anir­ban Roy Choud­hury anir­ban.choud­hury@afaqs.com

Digital En­ter­tain­ment Com­pany, Pocket Aces, which runs pop­u­lar YouTube chan­nels, Dice

Media and Fil­ter copy has now as­so­ci­ated with Greek Yogurt brand, Epigamia, and self-drive car rental e-com­merce player, Zoom­car for its up­com­ing web se­ries - ‘What the Folks’. The web se­ries will be avail­able on its chan­nel, Dice Media and is ‘A dice orig­i­nal se­ries’. The YouTube chan­nel has 2,94,319 sub­scribers and has gar­nered 2,06,58,947 views (un­til this re­port was filed).

The se­ries fol­lows the role re­ver­sal jour­ney of a hus­band who has to go and spend a month with his in-laws with­out his wife. “We see Saas-Bahu dra­mas on tele­vi­sion ev­ery day, they don’t cater to the young au­di­ence of the coun­try and that’s when we thought of do­ing this show. We have put our lives in this show; a lot of things you see are ac­tu­ally bits and pieces of my en­coun­ters with my in-laws,” says Ashwin Suresh, co-founder, Pocket Aces.

Web se­ries in In­dia have al­ready had a roller coaster ride; few went deep inside au­di­ence hearts, while few failed to garner any at­ten­tion. Karan Jo­har went as far as to say, “What fails to be­come a movie or a TV se­ries ends up be­ing a web se­ries.”

“He is right, and if you see those web se­ries, they never work, Balaji has made a few of them where they took film sto­ries and turned it to a web se­ries. We do not make such web se­ries,” as­serts Suresh.

Digital con­tent cre­ators make money through brand in­te­gra­tions where they em­bed the brand as a part of the story. Then they make rev­enue through dis­tri­bu­tion plat­forms such as, Face­book and YouTube. “With our ear­lier se­ries Lit­tle Things, we also pub­lished a book that we are look­ing at mer­chan­dis­ing as a source of rev­enue. This one you will see on tele­vi­sion, too, so we get to make money through syn­di­ca­tion as well,” Suresh adds.

“Web se­ries are not ‘mas­sively prof­itable’ at this stage, but we cover our costs. As the sub­scriber base grows fur­ther and we get more view­ers the busi­ness sce­nario will change,” Suresh in­forms.

Pro­duc­ing a web se­ries is the most ex­pen­sive part of the busi­ness, it in­volves shoot­ing, cast­ing, edit­ing and other pre- and post­pro­duc­tion as­pects. Suresh does not be­lieve in go­ing fancy and spend­ing all on that front, he says, “Pro­duc­tion value is al­ways over-rated in In­dia, au­di­ences do not re­ally care about it so long as you tell the story seam­lessly. ‘Lit­tle Things’ was mostly shot in a room and we have seen it go­ing vi­ral. We are al­ways bud­get­ing, we set aside a bud­get for ev­ery as­pect and we stick to it through­out,” in­forms Suresh.

‘What the folks’ is mostly shot in­doors and in Mum­bai, while for the out­door scenes the crew trav­elled to the out­skirts of the city.

Ti­tle spon­sor Epigamia, is a Greek yogurt brand from the sta­ble of Drums Food and the pur­pose of this as­so­ci­a­tion is to gen­er­ate aware­ness. The brand has been work­ing with Pocket Aces for var­i­ous con­tent mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives since the past six months. Sid­dharth Menon, chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer, Epigamia, feels or­ganic brand place­ment is key in a web se­ries, “Yes, we have had our de­mands in terms of the num­ber of times a brand should be shown per episode and all, but it is then left for the cre­ators to in­te­grate it or­gan­i­cally.”

While the other brand on board, Zoom­car, is mainly fo­cused on pro­mot­ing its new busi­ness ini­tia­tives. The self-driven car rental plat­form has re­cently launched ver­ti­cals like ‘air­port drops’ and ‘one-way trips’ and this se­ries pro­motes the new ini­tia­tives through the story.

“We have had as­so­ci­a­tions with TVF (The Vi­ral Fever) in the past and we have seen that the in­te­gra­tions help us to fetch im­me­di­ate re­sults. Our or­ganic down­loads went up, the num­ber of book­ings went up and that is why, we de­cided to as­so­ciate with a web se­ries again,” says Har­ish Rawat, chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer, Zoom­car.

He adds, “Web se­ries is a cheaper al­ter­na­tive to tele­vi­sion and hence, for star­tups like us, in­vest­ing on a web se­ries works and gives im­me­di­ate re­sults.”

It re­mains to be seen if ‘What the Folks’ can match or go be­yond what they achieved with Mithila Palkar star­rer ‘Lit­tle Things’. ■

“We see Saas-Bahu dra­mas on tele­vi­sion ev­ery day, they don’t cater to the young au­di­ence of the coun­try and that’s when we thought of do­ing this show. We have put our lives in this show.” ASHWIN SURESH

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