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Life got disrupted at every point when the government announced a 21-day lockdown to curb the coronavirus pandemic. When people needed good content the most, content creators weren’t able to produce stuff, especially videos, as shootings were called off from March 17.

Left with no option, general entertainment channels brought back their old shows on air. OTT platforms still have time as they have some bank of unpublished content for consumers. Life at print publications was disrupted entirely and they mostly had to shift to digital editions.

All the new-age content publishers such as Pocket Aces, MissMalini, Momspresso and PopXO’s of the world also rely heavily on video shoots. Like others, these platforms had to figure out means to cope up with the situation. Not just original editorial-led content, they also produce a lot of branded content. In such a scenario, content production for brands has also been hampered at some level.

But the cloud always has a silver lining. In no time, these digital platforms formulated strategies to deal with the situation and let the show running. BuzzInContent caught up with a few content platforms to understand how they are keeping the flow of content running.

Live interactions with the audience

Producing live content from the confines of homes followed by real-time engagement has become like a go-to solution for content platforms. While platforms such as Shitty Ideas Trending, MissMalini and Momspresso are opting for social media live interaction with their audience, PopXO has launched a completely new tech, offering PopXO Live on its platform where experts and specialists from professions ranging from fitness to skincare take daily live sessions. The app was launched, keeping in mind the lockdown period.

Sasha Chhetri

Sasha Chhetri, Business Head, Luxeva (parent company of POPxo and Plixxo), said, “We wanted to go live on our app and not on social media platforms to give our community exclusive content. This format works in the lockdown period because any expert would have to create content themselves to teach others. We are getting genuine experts live on our platform and show how one can incorporate these things in daily lives.”

Utilising social media live interactions to the fullest, Momspresso has launched the initiative #StayHomeStayFit, which gives live fitness sessions conducted for mothers every day on Facebook and IGTV Channel with leading fitness influencers. They have also started another initiative, #OnceUponABookWithPenguin, with Penguin Random House India. It is a two-week online initiative under which 14 leading children’s books authors tell kids interesting stories through a Facebook live.

Malini Agarwal

Malini Agarwal, Founder and Creative Director, MissMalini, said, “Certain legacy content can be repurposed, and we see that, but there's a limit to how much of that is going to be relevant and interesting to the audiences. Since we create a lot of our content based on entertainment and pop culture, our day-to-day content is fresh and not banked. We are experimenting with different live-video functions that different platforms offer, and pushing ourselves to see what level of content can be created remotely.”

Growth of UGC and crowd-sourced content

Pocket Aces’ channel FilterCopy recently launched an initiative, #FCHomePuns, where the platform crowd-sourced content in which it asked users to make puns using house objects. Through this activity, FilterCopy was able to garner more than a thousand UGC content pieces in just two days. 

Example -

 
 
 
 
 
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Ashwin Suresh

Pocket Aces’ food and travel channel Gobble is specifically relying heavily on UGC. Ashwin Suresh, Founder, Pocket Aces, said, “We have leveraged user-generated content aspect quite a bit. The number of people cooking at home has gone up dramatically. We ask them to send videos using hashtags like #HomeChef, and then we populate them on Gobble.”

Vishal Gupta

On the other hand, Momspresso is a UGC-led platform. So, it is not much affected in these times. “Since brands can't shoot new ad films in the current scenario, they are now focusing on creating advertising through UGC. Thus, there is an increased demand for text and video content that is user-generated. Being a UGC platform, we are fortunate that we do not need to rely on old or refurbished content,” said Vishal Gupta, CEO and Co-Founder, Momspresso.com.

Shooting content from home

Another interesting way in which these platforms are producing content is by shooting on their phones and DSLR cameras at their homes.

Chhavi Mittal

Chhavi Mittal, Co-Founder, Shitty Ideas Trending, said, “Everything happened so suddenly that we didn’t have a bank of episodes. Even a two-day heads up would have been nice. An interesting thing we are doing now is that we are shooting the SIT episodes completely with a two-person army. My seven-year-old daughter is helping in shooting and assisting. She holds the light and presses the record button.”

Like this, the whole cast of SIT is shooting from their homes. The script of the upcoming episode also revolves around the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mittal of Shitty Ideas Trending added, “The biggest challenge that I am facing is the transfer of the footage. Because of slow internet, it takes almost half a day to send the footage. Then the editor also takes his own time to download the footage. But nothing that we can’t handle so far. I am looking for the lockdown to be lifted.”

Mittal has two more channels, Be Safe and Being Woman with Chhavi to run in her hands.

FilterCopy is shooting a lot of content at home. The FilterCopy team is divided into two parts. One is the FilterCopy Rapid Content team, which creates snackable content like memes and short videos shot from phones. The other team creates videos shot properly using production setups in studios.

Raunak Ramteke

The Content Strategist at FilterCopy, Raunak Ramteke, said, “We were the first content platform that started working from home even before the government announced the lockdown. In the initial stage only, we figured out how to work from home so that our output isn’t disturbed. To shoot videos at home was a challenge for the first two days and then we got used to it. If there are two characters in a content piece, each person shoots at his/her own home. At times, we edit videos on our own, stitch together and put out the content. Now we have become used to working like this, and our output has increased instead of reducing.”

FilterCopy creates videos that are topical and easy to shoot at home. Ramteke said, “We shot one video called ‘Love in the times of quarantine’. The videos that we have shot recently are around couples who have to remain separated due to lockdown and their love stories during such times. Then we have produced videos like ‘Cooking for the first time’ and ‘Way to pass the time at home’.”

Terribly Tiny Tales has launched a new format called Stories From Home, which features influencers and artistes in videos created from their homes. Some links below:

Shreya Shively

Shreya Shively, Chief Revenue Officer, Terribly Tiny Tales, said, “Being a digital content creator, with more than 200 writers and creators working with us remotely on our proprietary platform Tribe, we found it less challenging to evolve into a work-from-home routine. Our Tribe is already trained to create compelling original content for our feed and brands from the comfort and safety of their homes — ensuring continuity in fresh content.”

TTT x Radhika Madan:

 
 
 
 
 
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TTT x Richa Chadha:

 
 
 
 
 
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TTT x Manav Kaul:

 
 
 
 
 
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TTT x Nakuul Mehta:

 
 
 
 
 
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Content platforms have more time in hand to do ideation and experiment with formats

As professionals are saving time on travelling, they have more time in hand to think and ideate.

Agarwal said that with everyone working from home, the team at MissMalini has more time available for more in-depth research. So the text and graphic content that the platform puts out has remained constant or even improved in some areas.

Suresh said that the production of content for Dice Media has been stalled, where the platform was creating long-form content. But the team at Dice is spending more time in creating and developing scripts for future work. “The supervising team is also focusing on the creatives. Therefore, we can do much more. Earlier if there were three people in creative, suddenly we have eight.”

Suresh told BuzzInContent that Dice Media is even creating a show based on the Covid situation. “The characters are shown working under quarantine. We are even filming it in that manner. The actors, directors and everyone are doing it from the confines of home. This is one good experiment which we’ll release later this month.”

The team at FilterCopy has also started experimenting with podcast formats and parody songs on its platform. Ramteke said, “These days, people are consuming a lot of content. Therefore, we have a chance to experiment with content formats and types. We also recorded a podcast last week. It is a topical podcast, and we are planning to release it in the coming weeks. We are also experimenting with creating parody songs.”

A rise in content consumption

While the current situation is extremely challenging to keep producing new content for the consumers, an uptick in the consumption of content and engagement with the consumers is being seen these days on these content platforms.

Shively said, “We have seen an increased reach on our social media platform, as well as a jump in followers in this period. Our proprietary app has seen a 35% higher content consumption as well.”

Gupta of Momspresso.com said, “We have witnessed a significant increase in engagement in these times. In fact, in March, we saw the highest content creation across languages, be it in terms of vlogs, blogs or 100-word stories. Moreover, our page views grew to 85 million while the content generation went up by 15%. As of now, we boast of 30 million users per month.

MissMalini is seeing a growth of 15-25% in user metrics depending on the category. Its Girl Tribe women’s community has seen a big jump in engagements and discussions by 50% as members discuss various aspect of the current pandemic.

Agarwal added, “We're evolving our activities as we better understand what audiences are looking for during these uncertain times, and to account for the slower news activity in the industries, we cover such as lifestyle and entertainment.”

PopXO is also witnessing a high jump in the engagement on its platform due to its PopXO Live feature.

Suresh of Pocket Aces said, “For the time being, user metrics have gone up. As new content supply reduces, that will also reduce overtime. Till now we are running on banks mostly.”

Mittal of Shitty Ideas Trending keeps a different point. She said, “I was thinking that when people are at home, they would be consuming more content on YouTube, but it’s not happening right now. I see a very sharp decrease in viewership. There could be two reasons for that. Either people are busy in household chores or the internet is super slow. Also, we haven’t put out anything new on SIT. How can we even expect the viewership to go up?

Content@BuzzInContent.com