‘I’m more rooted than anybody else you might have had in mind’

Posted on April 12, 2018


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/tamil-cinema-strike-cooum-river-video-gautham-menon/

A short history of Tamil YouTube content leading up to the Cooum video, created by Behindwoods. And a chat with the narrator, Gautham Vasudev Menon.

The Tamil film industry has been on strike, and there have been no new releases for over a month – and yet, with so many other entertainment options, audiences don’t seem too concerned. They don’t even have to pay to access the services of a streaming platform. They just need to be able to access YouTube. While this is not exactly a new phenomenon, its ubiquity has been underlined by the strike. Those subscribing to Amazon Prime and Netflix complain that there’s not enough time to watch all the great shows people say you should be watching (a First World problem, yes), but the world of freshly created YouTube content is even bigger. And snackier. You don’t have to invest close to an hour on an episode of The Crown. Have five minutes to spare? There’s something on YouTube for you.

Till about 2016, the world of YouTube was populated, almost exclusively, by film-related content. Songs. Comedy  clips. Full-length films. Interviews with the cast and crew before a film’s release. Reviews after the release. Then, a few years ago, YouTube channels began to produce exclusive content – though even these were, largely, film-related. Sivashankar Natarajan, General Manager, Behindwoods, spoke about how his company began to branch into non-cinema content. “We were putting out 20 items a day, on our channel. We slowly began to use the short-video format for breaking news. This showed us that there was a large audience for news-watchers, and it was a very different audience from the news-reader.”

In early 2016, the YouTube channel Put Chutney made a video around the Siddharth-starrer, Jil Jung Juk. Unlike the usual promotional video, the tone was spoofy. And the production values were excellent. That October, the channel produced its riskiest video yet, a satire around Jayalalithaa’s mysterious hospitalisation. Still, this cannot be called a “political” show. It was more an “entertainment” show that used a political event as fodder. Temple Monkeys, too, began to come out with cost-effective entertainment content.

Continued at the link above.

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