Kannada film promotions through pre-release YouTube videos

Kannada film promotions through pre-release YouTube videos

Over 350 million Internet users in India today will grow to a stupendous 650 million by 2020. Seven out of 10 Internet users watch videos every month.

Any surprises then that the content uploaded on YouTube records an annual growth of over 90%?

Flooding the platform with thousands of pre-release film trailers, music videos, games and chat shows, Bollywood filmmakers were quick to tap YouTube’s huge potential to promote Hindi movies. Kannada filmmakers are now jumping in, triggering a promotional trend unprecedented in scale and reach.

On Wednesday, 20 producers had lined up at a city hotel to learn the best practices of maximising YouTube as a platform. One of them was Anup Bhandari, a techie-turned filmmaker, who was among the first to exploit YouTube for his debut film ‘Rangitaranga.’

The first promotional teaser of that movie premiered on YouTube in 2015, Bhandari told DH. “It got 1.5 lakh views in a short time. That was very good for a Kannada film then. We then did a few skits linked to the film with comedians Chikkanna and Suryapratap, and a byte with actor Yash.”

By the time Rangitaranga’s trailer was released, the pre-film YouTube videos had created a huge buzz on the Internet. “We uploaded a tongue-twister song from the film which went viral. All these contributed hugely to the film’s success,” the filmmaker recalled.

New trend

But what accelerated the push was another trend sweeping the country: The huge growth in smartphone numbers and by implication, mobile Internet, and the entry of big telecom players offering high speed data at dirt cheap rates. As YouTube’s India Head, Entertainment Partnerships, Sathya Raghavan put it, it was the right springboard for enhanced video consumption.

For YouTube, an 11-year-old brand, the content had clearly changed. Raghavan explained, “Till 2013, most content was catchup TV, movies and news. Around 2014, individuals started uploading comedy videos in multiple languages. In the last two years, movie studios started their own channels, earning millions of subscribers.”

Bollywood studios had matured fast. “For every film, they would produce 30-40 pre-release videos related to behind-the-scenes, making of the movie, unseen footage and more. Lately, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada films have gotten active,” Raghavan said.

The trend is bound to continue as Internet-on-the-go gets even more accessible. YouTube watchtime (Number of viewers X number of videos X average time spent on the videos) is currently growing at over 80% year-on-year. “Content is being uploaded under multiple categories: Food, music, beauty, technology, series/shorts. This is the right time for video in India.”

Online video viewership

 Over 350 million Internet users in India today.
 Over 650 million Internet users in India by 2020.
 Over 220 million connected to Internet over smartphones.
 7 out of 10 Internet users watch videos every month.
 Content uploaded on YouTube growing >90%.
 Over 55% of YouTube watchtime is on mobiles.

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