The battle for web series success is heating up. While Amazon, Netflix and others are ramping up their advertising budgets -you can see the hoardings at every big place in a metro, there’s the curious case of the ALTBalaji Original Bose: Dead/Alive gaining positive response without the brouhaha that generally goes into launching a web series. The series gained initial recognition because Rajkummar Rao was signed up and surprisingly, there wasn’t a lot of media din around the launch. There were no newspaper inserts, no placards and no banners anywhere. We did some research.
“70% of the total launch budget was earmarked for digital media. Only 30% of the total amount, around 5 crores, was set up for traditional media. ALTBalaji decided to go for a horizontal optimization strategy instead of platforming it to become bigger and better. Their creatives were in English, Hindi and Bengali, since they understood the target market. That was the masterstroke.”
This is not generally the scenario. It’s common for a big-ticket web series to have marketing spends up to 40 -50 crores and that takes care of the TV, Outdoor, Print and Digital advertising. Further, none of the episodes were released on other streaming platforms like YouTube. ALTBalaji wanted audiences to decide – completely on experience and concept interest – whether they’d want to watch the web series.
All this is a far cry from the ‘big money scenario’ that’s creeping up into the web series market. Mainstream players are pumping in money in advertising budgets to snatch the first eyeballs and then some more to ensure that the viewership stays interested.
ALTBalaji isn’t known for releasing analytics about how their shows, but the buzz is that the show notched up 5 million views within 10 days of the low-key launch. We got in touch with Manav Sethi, CMO, ALTBAlaji and asked him about the success that Bose: Dead/Alive has been. He said,
“We leveraged social and influencers to create the pre-launch and launch buzz around the show. It’s a bigger challenge when you are 8 months into launching the platform itself and you have to launch the biggest show this county has ever seen!”
The show is being critically acclaimed, and it’s good to see that it makes commercial sense for the makers.