CHENNAI: There are two sides to a YouTube content coin — on one is the creator, and on the other is the fan,” says Satya Raghavan, entertainment head, YouTube India. Bringing the two together, on an offline platform for the first time in Chennai, is the YouTube FanFest. It will feature live performances by Singhs Unplugged, Team Naach, Put Chutney, Madras Meter, Agam with Kappa TV, Smile Settai, Black Sheep, 1 KG Biryani, Eruma Saani and Evam Stand-up Tamasha, at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall, on March 4.
Debuting five years ago in Mumbai, Satya believes that online content has evolved since. That’s why this year the festival is taken to five cities in India. It kicked off in Hyderabad earlier this year, and will be touring Chennai, Bengaluru, New Delhi, and finally Mumbai on March 23. “Online content creators are becoming as popular as TV actors, or cinema stars. Take a channel like Enna Da Rascalas for example. They started in 2014, and grew in just a year in Chennai alone. Comedy and food-related online content spread like wildfire that year. And whatever language it was in, people loved it,” he shares.
But how different is it going to be to perform for fans offline? “Performing live for our fans and to have them experience our music on a more intimate level, is going to be great,” says Tanveer Singh Kohli of Singhs Unplugged. “Being as unique as possible in renditions of original content has made them popular enough to get more than 2 lakh subscribers.”
Abbishek Rabi of 1 KG Biryani, however, believes that trends make the core of their content. “For instance, Class 12 board exam results. We made a video on how failure is okay, and is not the end of the world. And the feedback mails we received were phenomenal. That kind of response is difficult to garner offline where content does not go ‘viral’,” he says. “But because our fan base has grown steadily throughout these years, performing offline helps a lot. Simply because people go back online and watch our videos.”
For a channel like Put Chutney, whose subscribers shot up from 2 lakh to 6 lakh in a few years, online platforms are great to gauge responses and feedback. “But at a fest like this, the response will be prompt and immediate, even though it might taper away,” says Rajmohan Armugam, Put Chutney. “Offline reach is much more focused but online reach is much wider in comparison. You cannot compare the two, because our audience is the common man who is looking for content that is not only entertaining but also informing him/her about the world.”
Satya explains that it was this ‘reach’ that also drove their selection process, which was democratic. “We asked audiences in each city to vote and pick who they’d like to see perform live. Final selection was made completely by them,” he says. “In Chennai, it’s been amazing because people connect to the local content here, and performers will be bringing just that to fans.”
Singhs Unplugged will bring retro classics and their most popular mashups, and PutChutney is all set with brand new content for the people of Chennai. Abbishek, 1 KG Biryani, promises, “We are going to be trolling ourselves, and there will be songs and a too much fun for one evening.”
Head to YouTube Fanfest at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall, Chetpet, on March 4 at 7:30 pm. For details call: 43561198