From August, get ready for India's first online soap

Targeting 60 million netizens, the country’s first e-serial will be launched next month for exclusive viewing on the web and will have 24 episodes (or webisodes) of five minutes duration each.

The serial is the result of a first-of-its-kind talent hunt initiative called Maruti Suzuki- Ibibo i-Serial Star which gave users the chance to write, direct and even act.

The serial has eight actors, two directors and two scriptwriters. Selection of the winners was based on the number of votes obtained by participants and the choice made by the panel of judges comprising Raman Kumar, who created Tara for Zee TV and Khalid Hashmi, who launched Zee News.

Unlike television talent shows, the format of the contest was relatively simple and hassle-free as all one had to do was to create a profile on ibibo.com and upload videos, scripts and get maximum votes.

The contest was divided into three broad categories - acting, directing and scriptwriting.

"With the i-Serial Star, Maruti and ibibo.com have come together to provide a platform to those who follow their dreams and are ready to take on the challenge to prove their potential," says Sunila Dhar, assistant general manager (marketing), Maruti Suzuki.

"When Ibibo discussed the i-Serial Star concept with us, we were excited since this was something new and we felt it would generate interest and participation and a touch point with the aspiring youth. Maruti also believes that the digital media is an important medium to reach out and interact with the youth. This platform provided that opportunity as well," says Dhar.

According to Rahul Sharma, Ibibo vice-president (brand solutions), "Entertainment is now moving towards the online arena with social gaming and reality entertainment becoming huge on the SNS platform.

"With the Internet revolution making its presence felt on almost every aspect of our life, certain traditional platforms of entertainment are bound to fade away with the coming of new and exciting initiatives that are taken keeping in mind the latest trends."

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