How Being Indian YouTube Channel Is Winning Over Millennials

Sameer Pitalwalla owner of YouTube channel Being Indian talks about channel's popularity, the content strategy, benefit from Facebook videos and the road ahead

YouTube and new age content creators fulfill each other. If the Google-owned video social network has given the platform and revenue share then a big credit goes to these content creators who have made YouTube so popular all over the world.

In the last two years, India which has been actively riding the digital wave, has proliferated its content consumption from YouTube. Earlier this year, We Are Social in its report stated that out of 118 million social media active accounts, 100 million are accessing via mobile. It also states that social media activities and watching videos on mobile account 10% each when it comes to mobile activities followed by playing games on mobile.

With the existing infrastructure issues and penetration of smartphones, today YouTube content consumption has been growing due to YouTube channels like Being Indian (BI). Launched two years ago, the channel today has more than 430K subscribers who primarily subscribe for the insane humor. “The idea was to build a youth entertainment brand that explored the various nuances and identities that form India,” shared Sameer Pitalwalla, CEO at Culture Machine who also owns BI.

BI, as of today, has uploaded more than 193 videos in the last two years. Sameer tells me that over the years the team has focused on building content formats and identities that resonate with their core audience, that is 15-35 years. “The Every ___ in the world and Know your ___ as well as India Responds to, Being Indian Originals and India on are conceptualized and built as a format and series.”

For instance the video “Every Delhi Girl In The World” which is a hilarious summation of the funny things and behavioral patterns of a typical Delhi girl, is the most viewed video with more than 3 million views.

In fact “The Every _ In The World” series has defined the channel on YouTube. Videos like “Every Indian GirlFriend In The World” and “Every Bombay Girl In The World” with million plus views, also have been quite popular.

Additionally, Being Indian has been known for its India On Everything series hosted by the energetic and creative Sahil Khattar. With a good experience in TV and Radio, Sahil became a part of the BI team a year back. In a year’s time he has been associated with insane funny videos where he is seen talking to the common man on the streets.

For instance the video “Bengaluru on Penis Sizes” which had Bengaluru youth discussing on the topic with a big laugh has received more than a million views.

Videos like “Pune on Sex”, “Mumbai on Farting”, “Hyderabad on Being Hyderabadi” among others, over the time has just exceeded the expectations in terms of funny and quirky content from the channel. “Everything in this world is funny. Like beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, finding quirkiness is in the mind of the person. Last year we did an episode ‘Mumbai on Pakistan’, it wasn’t a funny topic but we took out the funny part,” Sahil said while emphasizing the fact that along with funny videos they have also done videos that take up core issues of society.

One such video was ‘Mumbai on Net Neutrality’ that exposed how the youth was unaware of the issue and at the same time the video did its part to inform the society.

With Fun and quirkiness being the primary drivers of BI, the channel is also focusing on the Being Indian Originals series, a show that tells stories that are non-fiction with a focus on drama and documentaries. “Kids Speak Out” is the new series directed by film maker N. Padmakumar (Paddy) which has 5 videos featuring kids from the age of 7 to 12 voicing their opinion.

“Kids Speak Out on Religion” a touching content is the most viewed video with 292K views in this series.

“The idea is to back great directors with a unique voice. We have in the past done this with ‘I am offended’ and now with the kids speak on series. We will be doing more of these under the Originals banner,” informed Sameer.

BI’s effort in creating interesting original content and the ability to build a huge community of its own has also got brands interested. Recently Vodafone promoted its Vodafone 3G ‘Speed is Good’ campaign by creating a co-branded content with BI.

The 3.40 minute video ‘Mumbai on #SpeedisGood’ features Sahil talking to the youth in Mumbai about issues related to speed and how important is speed in their lives. It also has them running at different speeds to mock 2G, 3G, 4G and also 5G networks!

Meanwhile with increasing video consumption by fans, Culture Machine has recently launched a new channel - What’s trending Now. Sameer tells me the idea is to have a central newsroom for internet culture. “The show is an international format and as we go forward, we will be covering a lot more platforms and trends beyond just YouTube.”

Talking on the growing video platforms, BI is not dependent only on YouTube. With the growing video views on Facebook, the channel has featured certain first on Facebook. “The response has been incredible, in many cases viewership and engagement has surpassed YouTube.”

In all likelihood, BI would balance YouTube and Facebook but the focus is clearly on YouTube. The launch of the new YouTube What’s Trending India is enough evidence. The channel launched last month already has a thousand plus subscribers.

Will BI be able to catch the attention of a media conglomerate like Maker Studios got from Disney or AwesomenessTV getting acquired by DreamWorks? Too early to say but one thing is for sure, as Sameer assured that BI will keep churning better and interesting content across all brands. And more digital content brands soon.”