MTV, the youth entertainment channel from the Viacom18 stable, has launched its first web fiction show. Christened Saturday Night, Alright, the web exclusive show will have 9-10 minute episodes considering the shorter attention span of the younger audiences. Although it will not be telecast on TV, there will be some episodic promos on the medium.
Eklavya Bhattacharya, head, digital, MTV suggests that there were two major reasons for launching the show - it is highly unexplored in India and has massive potential. He adds, "Being a youth channel we can't limit ourselves to the television audience alone, our audiences are now a part of the 'screenager' generation. They are constantly hopping from one screen to the other and spending a lot of time on the internet. So, of course we need to cater to them on every screen!"
There will be 12 episodes in the series and the 13th will be a unique episode - where via a contest the channel plans to select a group of friends and they will be filmed enjoying a Saturday Night.
While the channel often talks about platform-agnostic content, this marks its attempt at exploring the genre of a shorter fiction series. Bhattacharya explains, "The web, as a platform, lends itself beautifully to this format. Snacky content and the kind which today's youth can relate to."
The channel plans to set a trend of web exclusive fiction content. It has had about 10 web properties earlier, including Drive with MTV, Chase the Monsoon and others. However, this is the first time there's an entire series for the web audience. Additionally, the channel expects to bring branded content on the web, especially for the youth audience.
The show will be promoted across the online platform and on-air on MTV as a show too cool for TV!
Having said all this, analysing the online viewership and time spent is tricky, to say the least. Bhattacharya explains, "Every web platform lends itself to analytics these days. Now even Facebook allows us to check video views via insights. We hope everyone watches from the metros to the smaller towns."
Interestingly, it is learnt that the concept of the show revolves around liquor consumption, now a normal part of the youth life. Liquor consumption, however, cannot be promoted on air. The branded content will have McDowell's No 1 crafted into the content.
Unnati Sinha, marketing head, India, USL, says, "McDowell's No.1 soda is an icon of friendship and has created numerous golden moments of get-togethers with close friends. Saturday Night, Alright! showcases the world of McDowell's No.1 and connects with young adults through the digital media."
The channel isn't sure that the targeted audience sticks to only TV sets. MTV mentions that digital has never been only about 'marketing' for MTV. Digital is a business and is a core part of everything that the channel does.
Bhattacharya closes the conversation with the thought that 'Too Cool For TV' is something that is sure get a lot of people curious and get them to tune in.