The Viral Fever
The Viral Fever (TVF) is an online YouTube channel started by TVF Media Labs in 2010, and currently owned and operated by Contagious Online Media Network Private Limited. According to the founder Arunabh Kumar, the thought behind starting TVF was to reach out to the younger generation who seldom watch television entertainment.
Type of site
The Viral Fever was one of the early arrivals on the Indian digital entertainment segment with videos covering a range of topics on Indian politics, movies, lifestyle, and emerging social concepts. The Viral Fever was the pioneer of web-series in India with cult hits like Permanent Roommates and Pitchers.
As of June 2020, TVF has over 71 lakh (7.17 million) subscribers on YouTube. The company runs the app and website, TVFPlay to host their videos. TVF conceptualised the idea of promoting movies through the creation and distribution of original digital content. The Ishq Wala song series is one such venture.
The first web series Permanent Roommates debuted in 2014. It was the second most-viewed long-form web series in the world by June 2015. A second original series titled TVF Pitchers was released in June 2015. It portrays engineers at different companies who quit their jobs to create a startup company. Owing to its growing popularity, with both TVF Pitchers and Permanent Roommates being watched by millions around the globe, the company received a funding of $10 million from Tiger Global as was reported on 17 February 2016.
After graduating from IIT Kharagpur, Kumar quit his job as a consultant for US Air Force to try his hand at production jobs, assisting Farah Khan on Om Shanti Om. After a few production jobs, Kumar began to write and produce his own short films and videos.
Arunabh Kumar, along with long-time friends and IIT alumni, Amit Golani, and Biswapati Sarkar began pitching shows aimed at the youth to MTV. Faced with rejection, The Viral Fever was founded when the group came together and released a video titled Rowdies on YouTube starring Deepak Kumar Mishra and Naveen Kasturia. The runaway success of the video prompted Arunabh to create the YouTube focused video company, The Viral Fever, in 2012.
Growth on Youtube (2012–2014)Edit
The Viral Fever released the first Barely Speaking with Arnub video with an interview of Shah Rukh Khan, and an appearance by then and current Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal. Biswapati Sarkar's parody of Indian news anchor Arnab Goswami was widely appreciated. TVF's content was dominated by parodies during these years with videos like Gaana Waala Song, Gangs of Social Media and Munna Jazbaati contributing to the growing popularity of The Viral Fever. The channel was recognised as one of the first success stories of original digital content in India.
Pioneering web-series in India (2015–present)Edit
After a few years of creating "viral videos", The Viral Fever released India's first web-series, Permanent Roommates, in 2015. Featuring then-unknown actor Sumeet Vyas and Nidhi Singh, Permanent Roommates has been watched over 5 crore (50 million) times. Pitchers was lauded as one of the best shows in recent memory in Indian entertainment for capturing the zeitgeist of the Indian startup scene. In 2016, The Viral Fever released the smash hit Tripling, and the widely applauded Humorously Yours. Other TVF network channels like Girliyapa, The Screen Patti and The Timeliners have also successfully debuted web-series.
TVFPlay & funding from Tiger Global (early 2016–present)Edit
TVF debuted their platform, releasing the final two episodes of Pitchers on TVFPlay. The platform saw 10 lakh (1 million) hits in the first two days and crashed for 3 hours. In early 2016, venture capital firm Tiger Global Management invested $10 million into The Viral Fever, acquiring a 20% stake in the company. The Viral Fever has since launched other YouTube channels for original content: Girliyapa, a female-run channel, The Screen Patti, and The Timeliners, headquartered in New Delhi. TVF currently has offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, and Palo Alto.
The Viral Fever is one of the most sought after creators of original content with brands in India. TVF claims to have worked with over 150 brands. Some major companies to have worked with The Viral Fever or allied channels in the past include Asiazi, Procter & Gamble, Ola, Flipkart, Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Nokia and Tata Motors.
The Making Of... (2014)Edit
The Making Of...entertainment products in India, ranging from a blockbuster movie to a decade long TV soap. The first season of The Making Of... comprised five episodes, with a standalone episode released for Season 2 in 2016.
Permanent Roommates (2014–present)Edit
Permanent Roommates is an Indian web series created by TVF and Biswapati Sarkar. This series revolves around a young couple, Tanya and Mikesh, who after being in a long-distance relationship for 3 years, face the prospect of marriage. The first season released on YouTube on 29 October 2014. The second season was released on TVFPlay, The Viral Fever's video streaming medium, on 14 February 2016. Permanent Roommates was lauded for its portrayal of live-in relationships in conservative urban Indian families. Actors Sumeet Vyas and Nidhi Singh have gone on from Permanent Roommates to be showcased in Bollywood films.
Barely Speaking with Arnub (2014–present)Edit
A talk show starring Biswapati Sarkar as Arnub with a U, parodying Indian news anchor Arnab Goswami. Barely Speaking with Arnub was picked up after the success of an earlier video titled "Bollywood Aam Aadmi Party" featuring Jitendra Kumar, Nidhi Bisht, and novelist Mayank Shekhar. The parody talk show has been lauded for its portrayal of the loud and boisterous nature of Indian news where anchors prefer theatrics over nuance. Season one of the show opened with an interview with Shah Rukh Khan. Popular celebrities who have appeared on the show for an interview with Sarkar include Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Ranveer Singh, Parineeti Chopra, Sunny Leone and Chetan Bhagat. In the first two seasons, Biswapati Sarkar, Amit Golani, Vipul Goyal, Shivankit Parihar, Jasmeet Singh Bhatia, and Abhishek Upmanyu have been writers on the show.
Barely Speaking with Arnub returned for a shortened season two in 2016. The show has been on hold as writer Biswapati Sarkar focuses on writing web series including the sequel to TVF Pitchers.
TVF Pitchers (2015)Edit
TVF Pitchers is an Indian web series created by The Viral Fever (TVF) and developed by Arunabh Kumar single-handedly with assisting efforts from others. The first season consists of five episodes and premiered online on The Viral Fever's content portal TVFPlay on 3 June 2015. A week later, on 10 June, it premiered on YouTube. The season finale premiered on TVFPlay on 30 August 2015. It follows four friends, Naveen, Jitu, Yogi and Mandal, who quit their jobs in order to develop their own start-up company.
In 2016, TVF announced December 2017 as the projected release of Season 2 of Pitchers with the last scene of Permanent Roommates.
TVF Tripling (2016)Edit
TVF Tripling is an Asian Television Award-winning Indian web series created by The Viral Fever. It traces the story of three siblings Chandan, Chanchal & Chitvan. Together they start a hilarious journey, to find themselves and their relations. Featuring Sumeet Vyas, Maanvi Gagroo and Amol Parashar, and written by Sumeet Vyas and Akarsh Khurana, along with some other contributions; and has won several awards, including a Kyoorius Blue Elephant. The Viral Fever partnered with Tata Motors for the project to promote the newly launched Tata Tiago. Tripling was recognised as one of the best web-series of 2016 and is a benchmark of success in Indian branded content. The season 2 of the series was released on 5 April 2019.
Chai Sutta Chronicles (2013–present)Edit
Chai Sutta Chronicles is TVF's Jim Jarmusch-inspired series about conversations between friends. Each episode of deals with a theme and conversation over a cigarette and a cup of tea. Season 1 of Chai Sutta Chronicles aired in 2013, with a season 2 released over 2017–18.
Tech Conversations With Dad (2014–present)Edit
An ongoing TVF series about Jeetu and his conversations with his father - often about technology, relationships, and families in India. This is TVF's longest-running digital title with 9 videos in 4 years.
Bisht, Please! (2017)Edit
Nidhi Bisht's solo vehicle released in 2017 - about a small-town Indian girl who moves to the city.
Humorously Yours (2016-present)Edit
Long-time TVF writer, and stand-up comic Vipul Goyal features in a semi-autobiographical story about the life of a stand-up comic. The show furthered TVF's reputation for story-telling in the Indian context. Humorously Yours has been renewed for a second season and was released in 2019.
A Tech Conversations with Dad spin-off, Fathers features three veterans of the Indian television screen - Brijendra Kala, Gajraj Rao, and Atul Srivastava, playing three fathers trying to keep up with the times.
Bachelors is a show about four bachelors who live together and face hilarious situations as they face the world after college. In 2016, TVF released a pilot episode of Bachelors featuring popular YouTube star Bhuvan Bam in 2016. The success of the pilot led to a 4 episode extension with Bhuvan and over 25 million views. Bachelors was picked up for Season 2, which was released in late 2017, with Jitendra Kumar replacing Bhuvan Bam as the lead. Season 2 has also crossed 25 million views since release and was listed among the best web-series of 2017 by FilmCompanion and Indian Express.
The Aam Aadmi Family (2016)Edit
The Aam Aadmi Family is an offering from TVF's sister channel -The Timeliners. It is an album of moments from the life of a middle-class family based in Delhi. It has garnered an average of 8 million views across 3 seasons
Flames is another offering from TVF's sister channel -The Timeliners. It is the story of a young romance unfolding as a chemical reaction. Studious Rajat falls for Ishita, the new girl in the tuition. Rajat's BFFs, Pandey & Anusha's friendship is beginning to turn into a relationship. The equations of friendships evolve in the first season of this teenage romance. This series has already garnered an average of 5 million views. Season 2 of the show has just landed on the OTT space, and all five episodes are currently streaming on the OTT platform MX Player, as well as on the content creator's in-house digital app, TVF Play.
Zeroes is a mini-series from TheScreenpatti. It is about four zeroes who come together with an almost delusional ambition to create a great company despite being already late in the startup race. Whether they rise above their label of zeroes is what forms the crux of the story.
Yeh Meri Family (2018)Edit
Yeh Meri Family is a mini-series released by TVF. It is about a nuclear-middle-class family living in the height of fad of the 90s. The story revolves around a 13-year-old boy who is average at academics and is being constantly being bullied and blackmailed by his elder brother. It is a mixture of drama and thrills of being a teenager.
Awkward Conversations With Parents (2018)Edit
Awkward Conversations With Parents is a six-episode series produced by The Screen Patti. The story is about a modern-boy named Ishan and his down-to-earth, ritual parents. Ishan is in his late teens; a year before he leaves the home for college. He and his parents are involved in strange talks about absurd topics about the desires of a growing-into-an-adult boy. The series involves various absurd topics such as condoms, wet dreams etc.
Kota Factory (2019)Edit
Kota Factory is a TVF original released in 2019. The series moves around IIT and Medical entrance coaching industry of a small town Kota in Rajasthan state of India. It focuses on the life of Vaibhav, who leaves his home town and arrives in Kota, Rajasthan, to pursue coachings for the preparation of IIT-JEE Exam. The series portrays the life of a JEE aspirant during his preparation phase, and also focuses on the different sides of the 'Kota Coaching Industry'. It has been directed by Saurabh Khanna. Kota factory is one of the first Indian black and white web series on YouTube.
Cubicles is centred around the life of Piyush, a fresh entrant into the corporate world. The show follows his work life and moments like his very first salary, working weekends, failures and successes that are a part of anyone's corporate journey. Simultaneously, the series attempts to integrate fundamental concepts of investing and mutual funds into the story. Created by Amit Golani and Directed by Chaitanya Kumbhakonum the series stars Abhishek Chauhan, Nidhi Bisht, Arnav Bhasin, Shivankit Singh Parihar, and Badri Chavan among others.
Cheesecake is created by TVF and released on Mx Player.
Hostel Daze (2019)Edit
Hostel Daze is created by TVF and released on Amazon Prime.
Panchayat is one of the most recent web series produced TVF. It got released on Amazon Prime on 3 April 2020. This critically acclaimed web series revolves around a panchayat of a village called Fulera in Ballia district of Eastern Uttar Pradesh. The series features Jitendra Kumar along with veteran actors like Raghubir Yadav and Neena Gupta. The series marked the debut for Chandan Roy as an actor. He played an important role of assistant secretary of Panchayat. His work is being praised by many cinema critics.
As of 2017, the TVF Group has a total team of 240 in Mumbai and Delhi. However, as per credible media reports, some of the key members from the core team of TVF walked out in August 2020. Some of the notable members are listed below.
In March 2017, Arunabh Kumar found himself in the middle of a sexual harassment claim that was posted anonymously via Medium. TVF released a press release via Medium refuting the claims. Several women have come out with similar stories of harassment. An FIR[further explanation needed] has been filed against Kumar in this case.
A second FIR was then lodged against sexual harassment-accused CEO and founder of The Viral Fever Arunabh Kumar. Mumbai's Versova Police registered the FIR after another woman filed a complaint against Kumar over an incident she said took place in 2014. On 16 June 2017 Arunabh Kumar, accused in multiple sexual harassment cases, stepped down as TVF CEO. Dhawal Gusain now leads the company as CEO, with Karan Chaudhry stepping in as COO and the creator of Permanent Roommates & Tripling, Sameer Saxena appointed CCO.
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