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How T-Series hit a Billion views on YouTube

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It’s India’s No 1 music company. Now it has also got the nametag of becoming a YouTube billionaire. T-Series‘ Youtube channel crossed the billion views milestone in just a span of two years since it took the digital route. Some 2.3 million subscribers helped it get there.

So what is it with T-Series’ YouTube initiative that has struck a chord with the digital generation? Let’s take a look:

It’s content, content, content

For starters, its got the most massy content - music of the biggest films out there on its mainstream Bollywood Channel, Take a look at what visitors get to consume on the T-Series home page: the music, trailers of Aashiqui 2, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Fukrey, Lootera, Chennai Express, Policegiri and Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai Dobaara. Can you get more popular content than that?

India‘s music king Bhushan Kumar has a billion reasons to celebrate

T-Series has over the 30 years of its existence spent top-dollar to acquire the rights to the music of some of Bollywood’s biggest blockbusters. The music of this huge catalogue has also been ported on to its YouTube channels, making for a treasure trove for music lovers.

Then the T-Series Youtube presence is marked by many sub-channels like Apna Punjab for Punjabi Pop, Hamaar Bhojpuri for Bhojpuri content, Bhakti Sagar for spiritual music, Pop Chartbusters for Indipop videos, Shabad for Punjabi Devotional content, Bollywood Classics for 1980‘s and 1990‘s content, regional music channels and channels dedicated to full length Bollywood movies and Indian classical music.

Though some of these channels don’t get humungous views, they go to service the long tail of consumers and cumulatively add up to large numbers.

“These are targeted at niche audiences and we are really happy the way they have panned out. Hamaar Bhojpuri has seen really exciting numbers and has been getting views from as far as Argentina, Brazil, Germany and Middle East,” explains T Series president Neeraj Kalyan who looks after the label’s digital initiatives.

Ok, it’s not just the content, it’s what you do with it, that counts

“We experiment with our content and try to learn from our audiences which in turn help us improve ourselves,” explains Kalyan. “Nothing is fixed like a normal brand page of a mobile company or a cosmetic product, our product is music which is very personal and has the highest level of emotional connect with the consumers. Content programming on social media is as important as it is for television or radio.”

T-Series’ endeavor with YouTube has always been to improve consumer interaction and make it it more interesting and engaging. Hence, it has innovative concepts like Audio and Video Jukeboxes, Bollywood Twisters, Lyrical Videos, Song of the Day and Fan of the week, which lures consumers into coming back.

What else does it focus on? “Metadata building, tags, annotations, SEO are all standard procedures and needs constant focus to succeed in this space,” says Kalyan.

“These require tremendous perseverance and have to be build up step by step.”

Ok, you have played with the content. Now you have to promote it like hell using other social media where you have diehard fans.

T-Series has a strong presence on other social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and G+. Its official Facebook page has 608,436 likes and hundreds of thousands of visitors at any time talking about the channel and its music. On Twitter, T-Series has around 19,627 active followers. @TSeries is buzzing with tweets and re-tweets every couple of hours. The numerous fan-driven handles of its popular movies are busy re-tweeting and sharing every update, thus adding to the social buzz – and the traffic thereof. Then it has 1.5 million people in its G+ circles, a sizeable number no doubt.

“Social media is not like old school media, it’s a more personal medium which is primarily driven by peer activities, their likes and dislikes and if one has to enter their personal space one has to become their friends instead of a brand page. The prime focus of our strategy is to make friends instead of likes, subscriber or followers on our social media accounts.” Kalyan reveals.

Then the T-Series digital team changes its social messaging strategy as per its content offerings. And it uses the entire strength of its social media to promote each major piece of content. For example, for a Salman Khan film, the entire social plan revolves around Salman Khan. And the zillions of tweets, updates, pictures, videos all cumulatively work to create even more buzz adding to the views.

Work with Youtube, and get it to push your content

By virtue of its being one of the larger players on YouTube in India, T-Series content, from time to time gets the nudge from the latter’s content team led by Manan Singhi in India. What that means is that, when visitors log on to the YouTube home page they are given prompts to visit the T Series channel as it is listed as among the more viewed ones.

Build a digital team

Kalyan personally supervises T-Series’ dedicated in-house digital team – though small - of around eight to 10 people. The average age is about 25-26 years, while Neeraj is 44. Says he: “T-Series’ digital team has been the winning mantra for us and will always

The T-Series digital team is constantly on the go to keep visitors and viewers of its social media outlets engaged

remain at the core of this success. We have genre specific experts managing all our channels and are currently busy with audience building for the niche channels. Our team interacts with fans on an every day basis; gives regular response to their queries, accepts criticism. We reward fans and recognize them online, which adds to their pride and improves interaction and helps in building a strong brand - consumer relationship.”

The one billion views achievement has already got him praise from an effervescent T-Series chairman & managing director Bhushan Kumar.

T-Series‘ digital driver Neeraj Kalyan

“I would like to dedicate this success to all our fans all over the world that have helped us reach this milestone. I would like to congratulate my entire in-house digital team and the YouTube team for this tremendous feat. We look forward to achieving greater heights with our dedication and passion to offer quality content and experience to our discerning consumers worldwide,” says he.

Kalyan says the past two years of T-Series’ association with YouTube have been a great learning and he hopes to put those learnings to help T-Series leapfrog further. “We will get to our next billion in double quick time,” he says. “I am sure we will.”

With that kind of confidence, he well might.

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