A little more than two months and the curtain will fall for 2014. While we sit and analyze 2014, the year for the Indian digital industry has seen a homecoming of sorts with the good old saying “content is king.” The 30 sec TVC is now gone bigger to give arms to creative storytelling using web videos. Whether it was the Nescafe India’s stammering comedian’s struggle or the controversial Airtel Boss ad, they made us talk, share and like on the social web.

Demographics have changed; it is the generation of right now and so are the offerings. The good old charm of creative content is making its way back. We have seen brands indulging in it and now is the turn of Bollywood - the Indian movie industry is following the bandwagon led by the self-proclaimed king of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan (SRK).

The Viral Fever interviews Shah Rukh Khan

Earlier this week, The Viral Fever - India’s first & biggest organized online television, where you can watch regular shows & content, created especially for the young audience - launched a new web episode, ‘TVF Talk Show - Barely Speaking With Arnub (Arnub with a ‘U’)’. In a span of two days, the video has gone viral on social media with more than 800K  views.

To give you some rough stats, the slightly longer than 14 minutes, hilarious and witty interview has got more than 779 shares on SRK’s official Facebook page on the first day the video has been trending on Facebook and Twitter. The Viral Fever Twitter page and Arnub played by Biswapati Sarkar have been the spotlight of action on social media.

Quoting Ronnie Screwvala, the interview is the best thing on the internet. Content made for today’s generation. If you haven’t seen the first episode of India’s answer to the US talk show, ‘Between 2 Ferns’ then please do it.

TVF was born on YouTube and content has been their forte. This isn’t the first time that their content has gone viral, in fact a million views isn’t a big deal for them. Just see the below numbers to believe it.

1. Bollywood Aam Aadmi Party released during the Lok Sabha elections, the eight month old video has fetched 3 million views.

2. Rowdies 9, a spoof on a popular reality show has fetched more than 3 million views, the video is two year old.

3. Gaana wala song, again a spoof on a popular Bollywood number has more than 2 million views.

TVF top five videos from the channel have more than a million views, essaying its popularity based on the sheer brilliance of creative content. While this time the content was breaking its own benchmark again, we also saw SRK talking openly on a web show or the first time. He didn’t walk out of the show when Arnub quizzed him on uncomfortable topis. Last time we had SRK  sharing stage at the YouTube Youth Festival with actors made on YouTube. By walking to an online comedy talk show, SRK has given in to the power of digital and YouTube shows.

It is also about native advertising for Happy New Year

Known as the king of romance in the industry, SRK has also been a great marketer, whether it is for promoting his movies or his IPL team, the star has been always experimenting with digital. Similarly, the web show isn’t just about TVF making a viral content on SRK talking about his best action performance - remember the Wankhede stadium controversy. It is also about the multi-budget, multi-starrer big movie of this year, ‘Happy New Year’, all set to hit the theaters next week. Directed by Farah Khan, SRK who is playing the lead role in the movie, is also producing the movie under his banner Red Chillies Entertainment.

Over the last few months, we have seen how the entire movie team has been promoting it online and offline, so much that people have tweeted about the excessive promotions. From stage shows to world tours to appearing on popular TV shows and an entire episode at Kapil Sharma’s Comedy Nights, SRK made sure that he also appeared before the audience that spends time on social media. The web interview has given enough fodder to his fan club on Twitter to make sure that either him or his movie is always trending on Twitter. #7DaysForHurricaneHNY has been trending since the start of the day.

The TVF-SRK interview just before the release of his movie marks the beginning of a new trend of movie promotion with content that suits the medium aka native advertising. The All India Bhakchod (AIB) and Alia Bhatt video - Genius of the Year was another example of an image makeover for the Bollywood star. Alia who has been the butt of jokes on social media ever since a little gaffe in a talk show, was seen in the video as a very intelligent girl. A smart script coupled with great performance by Alia and AIB team fetched 6 million views.

As the video became viral on social media, it also raised questions about the association; AIB went on Twitter to clarify that it wasn’t paid PR for the young actress but sheer creative work though that is too hard to digest. In recent times, TVF’s association with Cashkaro.com to make a two part video spoof on a popular TV show was another example of native video content. Both videos fetched more than a million views in total.

Nevertheless, the TVF Talk Show with SRK is the beginning of a new trend of native video advertising in Bollywood. I am eagerly waiting to watch who would be next in the show, whether it is native advertising or not till the time content is the hero.

Prasant Naidu

Founder and Editor at Lighthouse Insights.

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