Web series ‘Chase the Monsoon’ back on MTV

MUMBAI: We don’t want the website to be an extension of television, but want it to be a separate entity, is what MTV India EVP and business head Aditya Swamy plans for his online properties.  He believes that the channel cannot ignore the platforms where the youth is.

Catering to a segment called screenagers, the channel is ready to offer a lot more in terms of content.

Come 5 August, and the channel is back with the second edition of MTV ‘Chase the Monsoon - Driest to the Wettest’. CEAT continues to be the title sponsor for the show.

This web reality programme fuelled by social media is all about eight riders (two in a team) who will for 21-days go on a road trip across the country with a limited budget to explore the sights, scenes and life during monsoons.

Like last year, the teams will have to share their daily experiences on social media - Pinterest, Vine and Instagram - to earn social fuel which will help them increase their daily budget. Apart from fuel generated through interactions, the teams can also earn points through various tasks.

With a focus on creating content which people will love to consume and more importantly share, MTV India digital head Ekalavya Bhattacharya points out, “Our research highlighted that bikers love riding for various reasons, but most of these experiences are linked to nature, food, culture, and heritage.” These are the four themes which the teams will pursue, this year.

What personally excites Bhattacharya this season is the route from Kutch to Cherrapunji. “It is going to be an experience which no one will ever forget. It is also a route not many bikers would have taken.”

With a tight budget of Rs 3,000 – Rs 6,000 per day, the teams will have to manage fuel, food, shelter and every other expense with it. “Often this money runs out and that is when your social skills come to the fore,” he adds.

It was last year that the channel first experimented with web-based reality series. The response then was not at par with that of channel’s expectations even though it tried to generate attraction through numerous hashtags on Twitter, videos and content on its Facebook page.

However, for this season, Bhattacharya is not concerned about the engagement level, as he believes the channel’s online attraction has increased manifold over the past months. “The show is social in its design and engagement is least of an issue as of now.”

On creating the blueprint for the show, while he agrees that there is always chaos in the process, but for him, that is where joy lies. “We've got entire walls charted with possible routes, Plan B's, content plans etc. It takes around a month of planning and hard work to pull off a show like this. It has also got a lot of learnings from the previous season, and we'll amplify our effort where required,” informs Bhattacharya.

The contestants were shortlisted based on the channel’s primary research which comprised finding out information about the different types of riders and their riding experiences. “Like last year was based on one of our research parameters, we had specially blocked a team only for couples. Riding together in the rain, was seen by many as a romantic experience,” he recalls.

Post the web series, the channel will showcase the experience to its viewers through four TV episodes.

On the marketing part, digital will lead the front, but one will see a lot of on-air and print support as well. xBhp is the channel’s biking partner and will help them with community outreach as well.

The show's Facebook page 'MTV Chase the Monsoon' has so far grossed 259,222 likes at the time of penning the article. It is also being talked about on Twitter through the MTV India profile, which has 1.2 million followers.

 ‘Chase the Monsoon - Driest to the Wettest’ won five awards last year, including Gold for the best non-fiction branded content show at the Abby's.

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