While people are still pouring money into purchasing cable and video subscriptions for that much-needed entertainment, a new trend is beginning to emerge. That’s right, web series have now started to take over the youth, especially in India. And chances are you’re taking advantage of the great free content on Youtube that’s fit to beat the renowned shows on Netflix. So here’s a complete breakdown of how web series have stormed in armed with great humor and deep meaning, to take down long-standing television shows.
A Breather For New Content. For All Ages
Tired of saas-bahu drama? You’re not alone. Plotting, fighting, conceding, revenging- we’ve seen it all in a two decade long TV facade. And for youth and adults a like, Youtube web series provide some refreshing new content.
Do you like college adventures? ScoopWhoop’s Baked is a perfect seven-part web series about the adventures of three Delhi college students who start a midnight food delivery service. Tired of gender inequality? Watch away from your troubles with YFilm’s incredibly entertaining Man’s World. Or do you like dramatic romance? Made in Heaven is the match for you.
From a new refined take on the saas-bahu story with added humour to silly family-comedy shows to shows starring coming of age teens, young adults searching for love, women in business, entrepreneurs, robots and more, web series cater to everyone. That includes you, your mom, your uncle, your grandma, and your great grandfather.
Convenience: The Commodity That This World Craves
Just take a look around you. Chairs, sofas, wifi, mobile phones, fridges, almost every modern invention is designed to provide us with one thing. The chance to live like a king. Also termed as a convenience.
In fact. Phones might be the most convenient thing ever invented. Are you a young worker moving into a rented house with no budget for a TV? Turns out you don’t need to buy one. Web series provide you with top-notch entertainment on your company-issued phones. Watch at home or on-the-go, or while sitting in boring meetings!
While long commutes were previously limited to music, now you can watch real-time stories too. Additionally, watching web series on your phone gives you a level of privacy, that you don’t have with television and a large family.
And you don’t even need to download new apps to watch them. Youtube was installed on everyone’s phone long before the web series was in the picture. “We realized [that] young people were spending most of their time on their mobile phones,” says Sameer Saxena, the chief content officer at TVF. “We thought why not give them something they would watch on their small screens.” And it worked out brilliantly for them. TVF’s Pitchers alone turned over $10m in funding.
Web Series Work Brilliantly For Creators
There’s only a certain amount of individual comedy that entertains that you can put out there, right? And Youtube is all about loyal subscribers, ones that hit the notification bell and make sure to watch all your videos. So, what do you do when you can’t ensure that people keep coming back to your channel?
Ashish Patil, Head of Y-Films, the creator of many famous Youtube web series has the answer. He says his channel was dormant with 18,000 subscribers who had forgotten to unsubscribe. But then they put Bang Baaja Baaraat and Man’s World out there and voila! They reach 2,50,000 subscribers, just like that. “
Close to 70 percent of the Indian population is young, and the bulk of them is online,” Patil says. “You need fresh content to stay relevant and survive.” And his channel, like many others, turned to interconnected web series that are sure to keep viewers engaged. They took their comedy and made it into a multi-episode story. Viewers come and watch one episode, and they want to know what comes next. So they hit that subscribe button and wait for episode 2 to take the story forward. And that follows a web of connected videos. Gone are the days of having to make a new catchy concept for each video to get it clicked.
Sammer Pitwala, CEO and founder of Culture Machine, the owner of multiple webs series publishing channels agrees. “We noticed longer session times among a lot of our consumers. So, we wondered, can we get them to engage with longer story arcs?” he asked himself at one point of Blush’s Youtube journey. And that revelation led to Alisha, the series that attracted millions of viewers.
Engagement Isn’t The Only Factor
Besides ensuring steady viewing numbers, web series have way more advantages over television series. One, they’re easier to make an upload. Youtube is a platform open to all. You just need to shoot an episode and put it out there. You don’t have to sell your series to a streaming platform or TV channel. TVF’s CEO’s content was actually rejected by MTV before he took it to Youtube and uploaded it for free. And Permanent Roommates became a super hit.
Moreover, there’s a hugely important money factor. Web series require a much lower budget. You can hire lesser actors with completely new faces at lower pay, lesser producers and make a series that’s as short or long as you want. And it has room for sponsorships. Most series have multiple brand sponsors that make money for the companies. Add to that ad revenues, and you’ve got a nice little profitable event.
The companies don’t even need to finish the series to start making money. Most series release one episode at a time, that run ads from the very beginning. Most episodes even have 1-2 ads in between. Depending on how popular it is, creators can easily adjust the number of ads to be displayed. And the money generated from the initial episodes allows for early returns on investments.
Why New Companies Are Getting Into Web Series: The Risk Factor
In other words, if a digital entertainment company wants to make a television series, in most cases they have to come up with a multi-episode script. Then they need to market and sell it to the platform. What follows is a big-budget, a casting director, filming, production and finally all your episodes release on the platform. Will it be received well? You’ll know when it’s all done.
On the other hand, with a web series, the company invests some money, writes and shoots an episode and puts it up. If viewers like it, they see a positive response. The episode immediately starts generating ad revenue which the company can recycle and put to use to create 5 more episodes. The advertisements from that generate a huge profit. And if it doesn’t work out, oh, well. That’s a little money lost. They simply invest some more and create a new first episode for another series that people might like. The risk factor is at a minimum with a web series.
Just look at TVF. It started off as a group of friends and is now a big company with huge funding working on multiple web series. And the tipping point was Permanent Roommates- the lighthearted young comedy series they came up with.
So what are you waiting for?
It’s time to take advantage of all the great content out there! Now that you know how creators are using web series to give you what you want, why not reap the benefits?
Let’s enjoy a world where TV is dead, but stories are decidedly not.