Story Of TVF, The Pioneers of Web Series In India

The web series TVF Aspirants has been in headlines for its relatable content and execution. The YouTube chanel TVF has released some binge-worthy series in the past as well. Did you know that The Viral Fever (TVF) is considered to be the pioneer of web series in India? Let us find out a bit more about them.

Crux of the Matter

When Was It Founded?
The Viral Fever (TVF), an Indian YouTube channel was started in 2010 by TVF Media Labs. The founder of TVF is Arunabh Kumar. It is currently owned by Contagious Online Media Pvt. Ltd. and at present has 9.6 mn subscribers.

First Original Show

  • In Feb 2012, the channel released its first original show titled ‘Rowdies 9– Sab Q-tiyappa hai!’.
  • The show was a spoof of the famous show Roadies aired on MTV.
  • The video crossed over 1 million views within 5 days of its release.

Web Series’ By The Channel

  • The first web series by the channel ‘Permanent Roommates‘ in Oct 2014. It became the second most viewed long-term web series in the world by 2015.
  • The second series was ‘Pitchers’ released in June 2015.  
  • Some other famous web series include Bachelors, Fathers, Kota Factory, Panchayat.

TVF’s Own Platform

  • In 2015, TVF launched its own online streaming platform called TVFPlay.
  • The last 2 episodes of Pitchers were launched there and crossed 10 lakh hits within 2 days.
  • The traffic due to these episodes had also crashed the platform for around 3 hours.
  • In 2016, Tiger Global Management invested $10 mn in TVFPlay and till May 2019, total $21 million had been invested.


  • Arunabh Kumar, the founder of TVF was accused of sexual harassment in March 2017.
  • The claim was made anonymously via Medium after which several other women also came forward.
  • On 16th June, 2017, Arunabh Kumar stepped down from the post of the CEO.
  • The position was then taken by Dhawal Gusain.

Launch Of Other Youtube Channels

TVF’s Aspirants

  • Aspirants is the latest web series rolled out by the channel.
  • The show is based on the lives of UPSC aspirants and their struggles.
  • Like its other series, this one has also gone viral and is garnering a lot of praise.

  • The Chief Content Officer and Head of The Viral Fever Originals, Sameer Saxena was a jury member of the 46th International Emmy Awards. He is the creator and director of web-series like “Permanent Roommates”, “TVF Tripling” and”Yeh Meri Family”.
  • Arunabh Kumar, the founder of TVF initially joined Red Chillies Entertainment and worked as an assistant under Farah Khan. He was the Assistant Director of Om Shanti Om.
  • As of 14th May 2021, TVF has 9.68 million subscribers. Bhuvan Bam is more commonly known by the name of his youtube channel “BB Ki Vines” is the first Indian individual to cross 10 million subscribers on youtube. 

How Do Creators Generate Income From YouTube?

How Do Creators Generate Income From YouTube?

We all love watching our favourite creators on YouTube. But have you ever wondered how do they capitalise on the views and likes and number of subscribers? Let’s have a look at different streams from which a YouTuber can earn.

Who knows, you might even start your new YouTube channel after this!

Crux of the Matter

Type Of Audience
The audience of any creator can be bifurcated into 3 different categories:
1. Casual Viewers: They form majority of the total audience. They are aware about the creator but don’t follow them religiously.
2. Active Viewers (Fans): They form a good chunk which regularly follows and engages with the creator on different platforms.
3. SuperFans: They are very niche but highly monetizable as they are willing to go an extra mile to interact with the personality.

Earning Avenues
The avenues are divided into majorly 2 parts:
a. Business to Business – This is further divided into Adsense and Brand Deals
b. Business to Consumer: This is further divided into Merchandise and Paid Content

Ad Sense
By this medium, YouTube sells ads through creators’ video
For such slip in ads, YouTube pays creators close to 50% of revenue generated. YouTube also tends to surface creators video more often, leading to exponential rise in views.

AD SENSE US v/s India Pay Comparison: In US, for every 1000 views, a YouTuber on an average earns $5.3. The same figure for India stands at $0.25.

Brand Deal
Various business houses/brands collaborate with creators in order to promote their products or services. This medium is a source of generating a sustainable income for creators as they can indulge into year long partnerships.

When creators grow a substantial audience with good concentration of Active viewers and Superfans, introducing one’s own merch is a good business model. It helps in creating a closer community besides not limiting the income stream to content creation or brand deals.

The most common method of merchandising is introducing a line of apparels. Although in the past couple of years, merchandising has evolved significantly. Some of the examples are: Mr. Beast Burger by Mr. Beast, Dispo (photo sharing app) by David Dobrik, Chamberlain coffee by Emma Chamberlain, Latercase by UnboxTherapy.

Paid Content
Paid Content is a content behind a paywall and can only be unlocked by paying for it. Again, it is only feasible when a creator has a decent number of active viewers and superfans. Categories of paid Content are:
a. Online courses: Exercised by creators generating knowledge through their content. If a course is worth ₹1,000 and 100 people opt for it, a creator can generate ₹1,00,000.
b. Monthly subscription to Exclusive Clubs: Audience can join various membership clubs for as little as ₹29/month and get access to exclusive content, and have better reachability with the creator.

  • Ryan’s World is a children’s YouTube channel featuring Ryan Kaji, a 9 year old, along with his mother. According to Forbes, Kaji was listed as the highest paid youtuber for the year 2018 and 2019, earning $22 million and $26 million respectively from his videos and product line. 
  • On October 9, 2006, Google announced that it had acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in Google stock. The Daily Telegraph wrote that in 2007, YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet in 2000.
  • Susan Wojcicki is the CEO of YouTube. Wojcicki was involved in the founding of Google, and became Google’s first marketing manager in 1999. She proposed the acquisition of YouTube by Google in 2006, and has served as the CEO since 2014.

Indian Youtubers Show Their Muscle As They Take Down TikTok

TikTok vs Youtube

TikTok is once again facing a backlash in India after the roast war between YouTubers and TikTokers. This resulted in dropping of its rating from 4.5 to 1.3 stars in only a week.

Crux of the Matter

TikTok Timeline

  • 2016: TitTok (Douyin) launched in China
  • 2017: Launched Outside China
  • 2017: Owned App for $1 billion
  • 2018: Acquired 100 million users of App
  • 2018: Indonesia temporarily banned Tik Tok
  • 2019: Becomes no.1 Non-Gaming App
  • 2019: App launched in 150 countries in 75 languages
  • 2020: It reaches 800 million monthly active users

Past Controversy

  • Feb 2019: Tamil Nadu govt asks Centre’s help over banning TikTok after massive protest
  • 1st April 2019: TikTok is accused of promoting ‘pornographic’ content and plea was filed against it in Madras High Court
  • 3rd April: Madras HC demands center to ban Tik tok
  • 12th April: Tik Tok in response removed 6 million video violating guidelines
  • 13th April: Gained 88.6 million new users in India
  • 15th April: Supreme Court refused to stay Madras high court’s ban
  • 18th April: Central govt removed TikTok from Play Store and App Store
  • 24th April : Madras HC lifts ban saying it was only concerned about preventing any crime

Recent Controversy

  • TikToker Amir Siddiqui roasts YouTuber Elvish Yadav
  • 8th May 2020: Youtuber CarryMinati uploads ‘YouTube vs TikTok: The End’ video in response to Amir Siddiqui’s roast
  • 14th May: Youtube removes CarryMinati’s Video
  • 18th May: Faisal Siddiqui publishes a video on TikTok allegedly portraying an acid attack. App’s rating fell to 1.3 stars on Google Play after followers of CarryMinati and other YouTubers rallied against TikTok
  • 20th May: TikTok removes Faisal Siddiqui’s Account

Whirlpool Of Allegations
TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Technology, is accused of spying on users and sending data to China. Many US politicians and Tech CEOs have expressed their concerns over the secret surveillance by China over the common people of the USA through the app. A lawsuit was filed against TikTok in California, USA.

TikTok is accused of allowing sensitive content in India, whereas in China it restricts sensitive content not complying with the interests of the Chinese government. During the TikTok vs YouTube row, other social media platforms like Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, etc. are flooded with anti- TikTok protests. Some say the protests are about TikTokers using derivative content and getting famous. Some YouTubers even compared their content on TikTok as cringe.

  • Three former PayPal employees, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim created YouTube in February 2005. Google bought the site in November 2006 for $1.65 billion. As of May 2019, more than 500 hours of video content are uploaded to YouTube every minute. And based on reported quarterly advertising revenue, YouTube is estimated to have $15 billion in annual revenues.
  • A review bomb is an Internet phenomenon in which large groups of people leave negative user reviews online for a published work, most commonly a video game, an app or a theatrical film, in an attempt to harm the sales or popularity of a product, particularly to draw attention to an issue with the product or its vendor. Youtube Rewind 2018 was review bombed by users around the globe for its exclusion of various top personalities on the service, as well as other factors relating to controversies affecting creators.
  • In China, Douyin is an app by Bytedance which is the same as TikTok but is running on separate servers to comply with Chinese censorship restrictions. ByteDance first launched Douyin for the China market in September 2016. TikTok is popular in Asia, the United States, and other parts of the world whereas Douyin is specifically made for China.