channels are not known for being Internet savvy. Unlike in the US, where media companies such as Time Warner and News Corp. are leading initiatives on the Net, companies in India think their job is done by simply putting up a website. But things may be changing, and MTV is a case in point.
The channel has always been active on the Internet through promotions and campaigns, but it has now turned its attention to using social media sites and online videos to stay on top of the consumer's mind.
For instance, MTV is present on popular social networks Facebook and Orkut. The official MTV India community on Facebook has 680 members. By running various discussion boards, MTV is trying to gauge the community members' opinions on MTV's VJs and its shows. Several behind-the-scenes videos have also been uploaded on the community site. Similarly, on Orkut, the official MTV India page has 900 members, though the moderator claims that they are receiving 200 friend requests per day and the upper limit on a profile's members is 1,000 (the unofficial MTV community, though, has more than 14,000 members). 'Roadies', MTV's talent hunt show which is entering its fourth season, has a separate community on Orkut.
MTVIndia.com, the official website of MTV India with more than 500,000 registered users, features a viral video designed by TribalDDB India for the promotion of 'MTV Roadies'. Swamy says that the viral got 53,600 unique visitors, without any online advertising, and about 73,000 page views.
Swamy says that MTV has an interest in creating a strong brand presence online as the brand is synonymous with Indian youth. "A large number of people who come to our website are people who have interacted with our channel," he adds.
In another online contest, MTV invited people to create videos for the Indian rock band, Pentagram. Swamy says, "Over 1,000 videos were uploaded by fans, out of which 38 were short-listed for airing on the channel."
Other TV channels, too, are getting active on the Internet. STAR India has launched a site called Video on the Rocks, and lets registered users upload entertainment based videos there. Sony Entertainment has launched a site on Sifymax and streams episodes of its reality show, 'Bigg Boss', online. Zee TV has tied up with Rediff.com to select a contestant for its singing contest, 'Saregamapa', for the final. It seems that TV channels have realised that they can bank upon the Internet to prolong the life of their content and expand their viewership.