The Viral Fever Media Labs has majorly contributed to revamping Indian digital content. It was conceived by Arunabh Kumar, founder and Creative Experimental Officer of TVF who stepped into the multimedia business through high profile projects with Red Chillies Entertainment and Aamir Khan Productions. Arunabh Kumar started off with a pilot project- now known as Qtiyapa- called Engineer’s story with MTV in mind. It was after being rejected by MTV that YouTube opened its doors for the now leading digital channel with 1,351,917 subscribers and 131,877,022 views of 129 uploaded videos today.
TVF became the biggest Organized Online TV channel with this simple yet logical objective in mind: to reach across a wider target audience with experimental, viral content. The methodology involved producing and uploading videos at a smaller scale that appealed to the youth across a dozen accessible platforms. The aim was to touch upon and expand through a content range that had hardly been explored by both digital media as well as Indian Television. The biggest challenge was to penetrate across an audience more accustomed to mainstream content.
TVF Media Labs started off as a production house primarily dealing with projects for Branded Content. Through multiple small and large scale television projects, the production house observed television viewership trends, established the need to change them, and came up with quirky content-based solutions to re-engage the viewers. TVF Media Labs outdoes many digital content platforms through viral content across two channels- ‘TVF-Qtiyapa’ and ‘TVF-Recycle Bin’. Following the rejection by MTV, founder Arunabh Kumar conceived The Viral Fever through collaboration with his friends. Satirical content was an untouched domain which Kumar aimed at popularizing. The first spoof Inglorious Seniors based on Tarentino’s Inglorious Basterds received 17,000 views within no time. This was followed by more spoofs including Rowdies, which became the third most watched video with a million views within a month.
The team found the need to follow up on their content through actual interaction with their audience. This they did with a Q-tiyapa night at BITS Pilani. Through this, it gave tough competition to the likes of Vir Das, another popular stand-up comedian carving a niche across both online and offline platforms.
Primarily, TVF specializes in satirical content and upholds its belief through its objective ‘Lights…Camera…Experiment’. The one domain it steers clear from is advertising. Atyacharge, a spoof on UTV Bindaas’s Emotional Atyachaar as a direct attack on mainstream television content is a classic example of satire through digital content.
TVF established its niche across three classic benchmarks for successful digital content marketing:
- Online Connectivity: TVF would not have gone digital, had it not been rejected by television. Social media has been equally instrumental in their success, opening up avenues to connect with a wider target range. Cross-platform connectivity is a massive advantage, maximizing the scope of digital and search engine presence, quick conversions, and followers, all at once.
- Capturing the Right Audience: TVF is quite clear about its primary audience (the college-going youth), although it addresses and appeals to a wider audience through its content. The primary target though, remains to be mainstream viewers exposed to trivia, sensationalism, and elevated drama on a daily basis. By satirising popular social trends on television, it succeeds in capturing a target that was dormant and earlier deemed impossible to reach.
- Satirising Current Trends: TVF uses television as a tool for setting its own trend: satire. It creates unique digital content through pilots, sketches, and now online series with relatable characters and situations. After the success of Barely Speaking with Arnub, The Viral Fever continues to roll out engaging content through its highly popular series ‘TVF Pitchers’ and ‘Permanent Roommates’.
- TVF Media Labs, the mother brand branched out to conceive TVF-ONE, a digital production responsible for churning out successful stories for competitive brands. These include Flipkart, Airtel, Head & Shoulders, and Shiksha.com among many others.
- On September 2015, Vistaprint collaborated with TVF Founder Arunabh Kumar to launch their digital campaign #ChaltaHaiKoChaltaKaro, portraying the team as an ideal example of successful branding through out-of-the-box ideas for their services. The video gathered 55,000 views, 1.3k likes, and 100 shares, thanks to the collaboration.
- Lenovo benefited in its brand building experience as well through its collaboration with the successful digital television channel. Lenovo rolled out a campaign called #Goodweird for promoting its multimode Yoga convertibles and tablets #Goodweird. Through this campaign, Lenovo marked a shift in its product positioning, to amplify its quirkiness in the minds of its consumers, mutually benefiting TVF in terms of online presence and conversions.
- The most resourceful and long lasting collaboration has been with CommonFloor, a joint venture now viral among the youth called ‘Permanent Roommates’. The underlying objective is to weave stories and situations indicating the couple’s need to search for a satisfying home. This one is a classic example of subtle brand integration which greatly influences engagement and viewership.
By now the YouTube sensation has touched upon domains of TV soap operas, news channels, Bollywood movies, and mainstream music. With regular online series, the open source digital network establishes its dominance over hundreds of competing channels. It seems to be on the right track, exploring and exploiting budding domains such as Quora in its direct engagement with the audience.
Image Credits: The Viral Fever