Following its first comedy week in the US, YouTube has now announced the second edition of the same, in India. Mentioning the variety in consumption patterns, YouTube India officials are confident that comedy entertains all and will be a hit in the country.
The comedy week, between September 5 and 12, will facilitate new channel launches on the digital platform. Tying up with about 100 partners to get content of 400 hours, YouTube plans to launch 35 channels dedicated to comedy. The partners include Indian content producers and production houses.
Comedy content will also be available on other channels, contributed and maintained by Rajshri, Eros, T-series, Shemaroo, Disney, Star, Colors, SabTV, Sri Adhikari Brothers, Telguone, MTV and Yash Raj films.
Television content from serials such as Comedy Circus, Dekh Bhai Dekh, Khichdi, Sarabhai versus Sarabhai, Comedy Nights with Kapil and The Great Indian Laughter Challenge will also be curated, along with Bollywood humorous content.
It will also feature comedians Like Cyrus Broacha, Vir Das, Bharti, Krushna, VIP, Saurabh Pant and Sugandha Raja Sagoo, and Indian regional language comedy content in Telugu, Tamil, Marathi, Punjabi, Malayalam, Gujarati and Kannada.
Gautam Anand, director, content partnerships, YouTube APAC, says, "Here in India, comedy shows contribute to over 30 per cent of total watch hours within the TV shows category, and in the past year, comedy show viewership has shown one of the fastest growths in viewership. Bringing Comedy Week to India allows us to give India's audiences more of the content they love and discover new content that they can only enjoy on YouTube."
In a conversation with afaqs!, Anand adds that there will be more such theme-based festivals in the future. In the US version, out of the total 150 partners, 100 partners saw an increase of about 40 per cent in their subscription base.
Interestingly, partnering with the television channels will help the company get some extra promotion for the content and hence, Comedy Week. The channels can promote their content in whatever way they want.
Sandeep Menon, director, marketing, Google India mentions that two television commercials will be released. Apart from that, digital will be used to communicate with the existing viewers.
He explains, "One thing that is peculiar to the Indian market is that while 1.2 billion people log in to YouTube now, we know that there is potential for bringing much more than that. So, communication has to go beyond the reach of internet."
Further, he notes that there are over one billion people coming onto YouTube every month and over six billion hours of video watched every month. There's tremendous growth and momentum for YouTube here in India.
Sanjiv Sharma, founder and executive chairman of O4 Digital Media, says, "There is a lot of scope in digital in the sense that video consumption is increasing by the day. On 10 channels, we will put up 10-15 fresh videos every day. The Cyrus Broacha channel alone will be launched with three-four shows and more will be launched as we go by."
He shares that the best part of digital is that there is no time limit. He adds, "On TV, you have one screen to broadcast content and hence the time window is restricted."
The production company aims to establish a strong presence online with original content. The exclusive content will include shows of leading stand up comedy stars, mimicry, slapstick comedy, sketch and character comedy.