September 22, 2014

TV Goes Online

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

If you're a television network and you notice that an increasing percentage of your core audience is spending less time in front of the TV, what do you do?

For MTV India, the answer was obvious.

Start producing content for mobile and the web.

"As a media channel, we can't ignore platforms where the youth (are)," MTV India's digital head Ekalavya Bhattacharya told MediaNama. "When a guy is glued to Facebook all the time, it doesn't make sense to ask him to switch to TV to just watch a show. It won't work."

Some MTV India series are web-only, while others find innovative ways for social media to guide traditional and online broadcasts.

Before we take a closer look at this content, consider this:

So what are people watching online? Full length movies and TV series are popular. So are clips and video shorts. Free content, unsurprisingly, is also popular, but viewers are going to a range of content portals, not just the international brands like YouTube.

In Thailand, for example, portals like BBTVTHAI, DooTV, SeesanTV and Kapook! offer a mix of professionally produced series (many of which air on television) and user-generated content.

Back at MTV India, 3 - 5 minute web videos are produced with classic MTV style. They're fast-paced with sharp cuts, split screens, good graphics and music.

In one series, called "Get Fit", VJ Bani J and national Muay Thai champion Bala Shetty share tips about losing weight, eating healthy, training for a marathon and even surviving a street fight.

In another branded segment called "MTV: The Look, presented by Philips", VJ Gaelyn demonstrates DIY hair styling tips. There are two episodes so far: 'The School Reunion Look', and 'The Clubbing Night Look', plus a promo 'Hair Styling Made Easy'. While Gaelyn uses a Philips' product in each episode, the videos take a light touch, focusing on fun, not sales.

Online viewers can also watch complete episodes of MTV television shows like the reality programme Splitsvilla and romantic fantasy Fanaah (complete with witches, werewolves and warrior vampires)/ These shows - at about 45 and 20 minutes respectively - run longer than web-only fare.

Broadcasts of the reality show "Drive with MTV, presented by Nano" go a step further. Four teams drive around India in this show, competing for a chance to win a new car (a Tata Nano). But here's the twist: destinations are chosen based on suggestions by viewers on social media. Contestants also receive points for their social media posts and how they're received by fans.

There are several reasons why consumers like online video. The most popular responses (34%) in BuzzCity's Video Consumption Survey are the variety of content on offer, followed by the immediacy of on-demand video (30%).

The trends are clear. Consumers like watching programmes on their phones. Mobile video consumption will continue to rise in markets across the globe, thanks in part to affordable and transparent data plans (US$40 at Best Buy in the US buys unlimited text, calls and data. Add an additional US$10 for unlimited 4G data.). Whether you represent a television broadcaster, a publisher or advertiser, you need to explore the best ways to make video part of your online presence.

Coming up next: "Whiskey and Phones" - How Two Well-Known Brands Are Using Online Video!