MTV Roadies Teaches You How to Win Friends
The hosts/judges of Roadies are powerful brands in themselves. Ranvijay is the heartthrob while Raghu’s screen persona is that of a foul-mouthed, heartless b*****d. They leverage themselves to the hilt. Raghu unashamedly admits, “There are two reasons why Roadies is a huge hit in the social media space. The first one is that MTV as a brand is incredibly active and knows how to do the right stuff online. The second reason is me. People either hate me or consider me a youth icon. So, I don’t know if its people’s hatred or adoration that translates into a lot of comments. Some post on FB that was posted one minute ago has around 3,000 to 4,000 comments.”
With Ranvijay the Roadies team plays it differently. The gender split in Roadies is 60-40 in favour of men. The average spread on Facebook is 72-28 in favour of men again. “It’s really impressive… the amount of girls who are fans. And you know how we leverage this; a lot of photographs of Ranvijay. We put up one image and every girl loves to click on ‘like’,” says a digital team member.
While Roadies was a hit on Facebook, it was a little slow on YouTube. Relatively. YouTube and Viacom International had a tiff going on. It was able to launch its official channel only in June 2011 after the eighth season of Roadies was over. By January, it had 10 million views. This was during the off season.
The first online video of season nine had 250,000 views on day one. Roadies comes out with a TV episode every week. It comes out with a ‘Webisode’ every day. The first Webisode had 300,000 views.
Creating so much content involves a lot of cost. For the season nine auditions, the digital team travelled with the TV crew of Roadies to all the cities auditions were held. The digital team had their own equipment to shoot and upload. They had a biometric Facebook connect that worked on RFID technology where the individual’s fingerprint was the tag. When a contestant entered the audition or the group discussion, it triggered a post where the individual’s Facebook ID said ‘Entering audition’.
“We don’t make a TV show and say how do we put it online? We create online content simultaneously,” says Swamy. That’s all very well, but how do you monetise it?
MTV hasn’t monetised it yet. “We are holding back right now so people can enjoy the experience. It can become a huge revenue-driving opportunity once you cross that critical number. I think we have crossed it now with 10 million views. We can insert ads, pre and post. I think people will still watch it with brand integration and ads,” says Swamy.
Apart from the ads, Roadies has a ready base to sell its merchandise on. There’s Roadies stationery, eyewear, footwear and accessories that’s currently being sold through various outlets. The total value of all merchandise at MRP is around Rs. 80 crore in the last 12 months.
Sandeep Dahiya, senior VP, consumer products, says, “We will use our Roadies communities to promote the products. The question is how we can harness that tool to make it into a sales platform. We’ll figure that out in the next financial year.”
Five Rules For Making Social Media work
- • Know the language. Social media is not for fuddy-duddies. The people who manage your digital space can’t be ‘suits’.
- • The night is your friend. A lot of today’s social media consumers are nocturnal. Engage with them through the night. Late nights are the early morning. Social media is not a 9-5 job.
- • Abuse is good. People are very brave online. They will abuse you because they can’t see you. If they criticise your product/brand, take it in your stride. Ask them how you can improve. Don’t lose your cool.
- • Don’t hit the snooze button. Keep conversations going even when your company is idle. This will keep the connect alive and make sure you are in the consumer’s mindspace through the year.
- • Reward loyalists. Take the engagement offline. Every brand has a bunch of evangelists. Reward them well. Invite them for special launches, get them to meet your brand ambassadors.