Strategic expansion in the content portfolio and hyperlocal promotions add to the intrigue of Comicstaan Tamil, we take a closer look.
The journey to conceptualise and produce a non-fiction comedy show begins with understanding audiences and creating a need for it on the platform. For Amazon Prime, having a portfolio of five Tamil comedy specials was a big leg up to assert their expansion in the linguistic market, in an attempt to cater to both, domestic and diaspora audiences. This pushed them to try a format that had worked well for them earlier in Hindi and English: Comicstaan Tamil (Comicstaan Semma Comedy Pa). The team that created the earlier editions of Comicstaan was roped in for the Tamil edition, making OML a party to the creative and execution processes, as well as promotions.
Dhruv Sheth, Chief Operating Office of OML tells us how the blueprint for Comicstaan Tamil was created by the same creative persons who had worked on the previous editions of Comicstaan. They took key decisions from their lessons on the Hindi side and merged them into the Tamil version. On the production end, local producers were roped in to ensure an authentic and contextually relevant experience.
“From the first two Comicstaan seasons that we made, we learnt that it will work if we present standup in the purest format we can. Comedy doesn’t blend into emotional moments that work well for other non-fiction show formats. It was important for us to stay true to the artform and the idea of discovering talent through the episodes and not build someone up or down,” Sheth tells us.
To promote Comicstaan Tamil, a hyperlocal approach was taken. The medium being digital, this was primarily done with the help of comics, actors and influencers with audiences who were likely to be receptible for the new show. Three key persons involved in the promotions were the judges of the show, Karthik Kumar, Praveen Kumar and Rajmohan.
Certain key promotion tactics used by Amazon Prime for all their offerings that were released during the lockdown were leveraged for Comicstaaan Tamil too. This included trailers, memes, #FirstDayFirstStream and regular posts featuring key persons associated with the show.
The contestants also met Mrs Janaki, the school teacher’s character created by Chennai-based comedian, Abhishek Kumar. The move helped add a new layer to the promotions, helping the show, the concept and the persons associated with it reach relevant audiences. Kumar is also a contestant on the show, further adding to the relevance and popularity of the piece.
Some comics associated with the earlier editions of Comicstaan, like Sumukhi Suresh, could also be seen promoting the new edition. In the piece, she shared space with the three judges of Comicstaan Tamil, training them on how to be a good judge on a comedy show.
User-generated content could also be seen doing rounds with fans pouring out, via art, for their favourite contestants. Appreciation for the show was also leveraged as a promotional tool to ignite interest and increase the reach of the show.
Appreciation for comedy
The team’s research had brought up an intriguing factor they knew they had to work hard on: People understand comedy and standup but they don’t necessarily understand the nuances and the different genres of comedy. By educating audiences about them, appreciation would grow.
Do comedy genres like improv, anecdotal, observational, sketch differ when performed in different languages? Sheth explains, “Genres are broad and they set the rules of the game. Then the players come in and perform within contexts that are relevant to their audiences.”
“Even though the rules of the genre remain the same, the content that comes out of it is very unique to that market. It’s very interesting to see how it works. We were sure that these genres would work and we wanted to see the flavour and cultural nuances the participants would bring out in these genres,” he tells us, adding how it depends on the content them consume, references they come up with and the culture they are accustomed to.
Sheth expects Comicstaan Semma Comedy Pa to open up new avenues for comedians who perform in Tamil.