New Delhi: For all the heat generated by the ‘Sachin versus Lata Civil War’ Snapchat video posted by comedian Tanmay Bhat, nobody knows how many people actually saw it before taking offence to it.
The video, first created on messaging app Snapchat, has been played on television across news channels, viewed on social networking site Facebook, tweeted by key “influencers" on microblogging site Twitter and shared on messaging app WhatsApp.
A case in point to establish how video consumption patterns in India have become screen agnostic.
Coming back to the viewership numbers.
For news channels, which aired Bhat’s video, one can safely assume it reached over 100 million households. The reach of Hindi news channels is eight times that of English news channels at 97 million households (English news channels reach 12 million) as cited in an earlier Mint report.
If you browse through Bhat’s Facebook page, the Snapchat video posted on 26 May at 1.03 pm has been watched by 626,000 viewers to date. Bhat and AIB (All India Bakchod) both would agree that’s not the benchmark for viral content.
To be sure, Bhat’s Snapchat video was also shared on Google’s video viewing platform YouTube but that has been taken down by AIB, citing “copyright strike" since it was uploaded by a third party. So its video views on YouTube could not be ascertained. The YouTube link was later embedded on Twitter and other social media platforms.The reach of the Snapchat video on Snapchat could not be determined as the company does not operate in India.
Strictly in terms of online viewership, both Bhat and AIB have seen solid highs. Take these stats for instance.
Typically a video created by AIB, a stand-up comedy group Bhat co-founded with Gursimran Khamba, generates over 2-6 million views. Their most popular video has reached 11.5 million hits (it features young female actor Alia Bhatt and is titled Genius of the Year). AIB’s YouTube channel has 1.6 million subscribers while Bhat alone has 1.3 million followers on Twitter.
According to Sevanti Ninan, media critic, author and editor of the media watch website thehoot.org, the number of views is irrelevant in this case considering demi-gods Sachin Tendulkar and Lata Mangeshkar are involved.
“Frankly the numbers don’t matter. It’s about who it was and who chose to pick it up," she said.
The media is by default a keen follower of Twitter trends. Microblogging site Twitter has been abuzz with reactions to Bhat’s video for the last two days. Actor Anupam Kher on 28 May posted, “I am 9 times winner of #BestComicActor. Have a great sense of humor. But This’s NOT humor. #Disgusting&Disrespectful"
While Suhel Seth, managing partner of Counselage India tweeted on Monday,
“Just saw @thetanmay’s video. @sachin_rt and LATA Mangeshkar are too legendary to be tainted by this. He’s a comedian not an oracle!"
For a good part of Monday, some TV news channels made this the only running story, using even the usual news ticker at the bottom to run the hashtag #TanmayRoasted. Bhat has not been involved in a controversy of this scale since a FIR (first information report) was filed against him and 13 others including Bollywood actors Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor who were also part of the AIB Knockout Roast last year.