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A century for the first online talk show

A century for the first online talk show

Makers of India's first TV show online say how they faced the challenges of the medium

Putting up a full format TV show on the Internet can be a huge challenge. Especially when you don’t have a yard stick to measure how popular the show is amongst the millions of viewers who log on to the web from different parts of the world. There is no TRP rating and promoting one’s show mostly depends on word of mouth.

Amongst such challenges, exactly a year ago, on August 15, actor and host Sumeet Raghavan of Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai fame and co-producer Abhigyan Jha joined hands to start the world’s first full-format TV show on the net called Jai Hind! that has registered 50 million hits over the past 100 episodes.

Abhigyan points out, “Completing 100 shows on the Internet actually spells into a big achievement as the web definitely throws up a lot of challenges. Last year, when we actually started the show, we had a plan to finish at least 30 episodes. But, as luck would have it, we have completed our 100th. With 50 million hits from viewers world-wide, we knew we were on the right track”

Keeping a catchy title – Jai Hind! – makers of the late night stand-up comedy show say that they wanted to tap the younger audience on the net, from both India and abroad, making the age group of 18 to 35 years as their target audience. Sumeet explains, “The younger generation is much more clued on to the show. However, we don’t really have a format to exclusively suit their sensibilities. It is something like the film Sholay. When it released, many critics didn’t like it. But within a few screenings, it caught on like wild fire.”

Sumeet also points out that a large section of the audience is actually from abroad, including countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Australia, UK and even China. The format of the show has been kept such that people who have a connect with India, log on to find out more about the political and social shenanigans in the country. Sumeet explains, “Our show is topical, and we keep in mind day-to-day happenings reported in the newspapers and the Internet. A lot of Indians living abroad would want to know the corruptions and the scams going on here. The common man is often ignorant.”

Despite the popularity of the show, Abhigyan however says that unlike the television medium, there is very little advertising revenue for TV shows on the web. He explains, “If you see the earliest television shows, there was very little advertising because the medium was new. Advertising agencies should treat us like a TV channel and give us video ads.”

Interestingly, Abhigyan also informs that he and his team are in the process of starting a full-fledged TV channel on the Internet that will have two hour of content every day. Abhigyan adds, “By this time, next year, we are looking to have up to four shows on our channel everyday.”

By Sujata Chakrabarti

first published:August 13, 2010, 16:05 IST