The entertainment industry wants to connect with the youth in their domain, and is flirting with social networking sites and YouTube. Sangeetha Devi Dundoologs in…

If you want to create a buzz among the young, hangout where they do. Not really but virtually. That seems to be the mantra for marketers who are taking a stab at online space for peddling their stuff and for testing the waters. If Hrithik Roshan is creating a buzz, it’s got nothing to do with his hit film, Jodhaa Akbar. He has put on his dancing shoes once again and is rocking the cyber world. His much-expected dance number, Break Free, for his father’s production Krazzy 4 is available for view on YouTube. The video recorded more than 90,000 views within the first week after being uploaded on YouTube’s Bollwood: Anytime, Anywhere channel of Eros International. User comments range from those in praise of Hrithik’s dancing skills to those that compare the video with the song featuring Shah Rukh Khan (1,80,000 views so far) for the same film.

YouTube, Facebook and Orkut are changing the core marketing strategies of entertainment bigwigs. “To connect with the youth who are on such networking sites, it is best to meet them in their space,” says Monika Bhattacharyya, spokesperson of Yash Raj Films.

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The company has created official communities on Facebook and Orkut to promote Tashan and uploaded promotional videos on YouTube. “We’ll soon be starting a community on MySpace too,” says Monika. Users can share audio and video clippings, images and post comments. The moderators for the group are named after the character names of Saif Ali Khan, Akshay Kumar, Anil Kapoor and Kareena in the film –– Bachchan Pande, Jimmy, Bhaiyyaji and Pooja.

Director Subhash Ghai started a community ‘Kill Terrorism’ promoting his film Black and White on Facebook. Production and distribution house Eros International was one of the first to tap into this cyber segment last year when it launched a dedicated channel on YouTube allowing viewers to view video clippings from its existing Hindi film titles. Music launches, film promotion tours and clippings from the recent Lakme Fashion Week are the other videos available.

Smaller production houses are also testing the waters. An instance is the Dakku Daddy album featuring Hrishittaa Bhatt and Shakti Kapoor. “Internet users forward and share videos with their friends. This ensures visiblity for your video and you get instant feedback, both good and bad, through user comments. The new media also helps us reach working professionals who have no time for television after a long day,” says Bhuvna Wadhawan of RomCom Entertainment, which produced the video.

Marcus Stuart, EVP, corporate and business development, Eros, feels these forums help reach specific target groups. He doesn’t rule out the traditional medium of television but sees a convergence of TV and the new media in the next decade. “We’ll be launching more channels – Tamil, comedy and children. The Bollywood channel has ranked as high as the 10th popular in the world,” he sums up.

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