Wednesday, June 26, 2013

YouTube as an Online Theatre for the Independent Filmmakers of Kerala: A Study

I am copy-pasting my college thesis here.


NOTE: There are some problems with loading the graphs. So you can download the PDF version here.




            YouTube is the cheapest and easily accessible medium by all people. With a YouTube account anybody can upload videos to it and can be watched by people all over the world. Most of the content on YouTube has been uploaded by individuals. The links of video can be given in other websites and blogs also. The emergence of YouTube as an online TV has greatly affected the film industry in various ways. The coming of people to theatre has declined due to the impact of YouTube. Not only are the works of free filmmakers, but also pirated movies uploaded in YouTube. YouTube helps to create a new stream of filmmakers of different thoughts. YouTube and its possibilities are a topic which should be discussed seriously. Online media is growing faster day by day. Through this dissertation, we are trying to prove the existing fact that YouTube is an immensely helpful platform for the amateur and aspiring filmmakers of Kerala.

Chapter 1

1. 1. Introduction

YouTube, the free video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal (online money transferring company) employees in 2005, has revolutionised the internet and people associated with it. Although sites like (2003) and (2004) were the first prominent websites to introduce free video hosting services for the people; no other websites are even comparable today with the popularity and success of YouTube. The influences of YouTube can be sensed in almost any part of the globe and it’s prevalence in the 21st century is constantly spreading like a wildfire. It has made its mark in our small state of ‘Kerala’ by merging with the society and influencing its culture. Now-a-days, a large number of Malayalis use YouTube to share and see videos of their interests, which might be films, music videos, TV shows, news programmes, funny videos, real-life incidents, vlogs (video blogs), sports programmes, celebrity news/scandals, etc.  Like Facebook, YouTube has also got widespread acceptance by the people of Kerala, that it now became a destination were people can upload videos they have with them (whether their own creation or somebody else’s) to the website and share it with the world. However, the subject of this research paper deals with the potentials of YouTube as an efficient platform to exhibit the works of the emerging young filmmakers in Kerala. By this research, we are attempting to establish the role and significance of YouTube in bringing out talented filmmakers to the spotlight of the society, whether be it a short film, full-length film or a documentary project, and this is backed with quality research done through interviews, surveys, reliable books and also through personal experience as a YouTube user.

1. 2. Brief History of YouTube

YouTube is a site where you can watch just about any type of video imaginable. Users have uploaded literally millions of video clips, and everyone can watch them in their web browser at no cost. YouTube has become so pervasive and so innovative that Time magazine named it ‘Invention of the Year’ in 2006 – which is pretty good for a site that came to life only the year before. [i]
YouTube was created by three former PayPal employees Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim. The three founders had left their former company and were looking for a new business opportunity. After exploring a few less interesting ideas, they eventually realised there was a real need for a service that facilitated the process of uploading, watching and sharing videos online. Hence, the site was developed in February 15, 2005 and then started developing the technology for the site – in Chad Hurley’s garage. After a few months of working out on the development of the site, the three men officially launched YouTube for the public in December 2005.
YouTube proved immensely popular in virtually the first day in business. Site traffic of the first month was three million (3 lakh) visitors. The number of visitors tripled by the third month (February). And again tripled by July to 30 million (300 lakh) visitors, and reached 38 million (380 lakh) visitors by the end of the site’s first year in business. That made YouTube of the top ten sites on the Web, and one of the fastest growing websites in history.
That kind of growth didn’t go unnoticed, especially by competing websites. The biggest of the competing sites, Google, set out to buy the company, and did so in October 2006 paying $1.65 billion (Around Rs. 7,425 crore) for YouTube – an incredible sum for such a young company. But the site looks and acts pretty much the same today as it did in the pre-Google days. The only big difference is volume. [ii] Today, YouTube says that roughly 60 hours of new videos are uploaded to the site every minute, and that 800 million (80 crore) unique users visit the site a month, and that around three quarters of the material comes from outside the US.[iii] It is estimated that in 2007 YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet on 2000. [iv] ‘Alexa’, the web information company by based in California, ranks YouTube as the third most visited website on the Internet, behind Google and Facebook.[v]
In January 2010, YouTube introduced an online film rental service[vi], which is currently available only to users in the US, Canada and the UK[vii]. The service offers over 6,000 films. In March 2010, YouTube began free streaming of certain content, including 60 cricket matches of Indian Premier League (IPL)[viii]. According to YouTube, this was the first worldwide free online broadcast of a major sporting event. 
But there are some terms and conditions for uploading videos in YouTube. They are provided on Appendix 3. The interface of YouTube is also given at Appendix 2.
1. 3. Features of YouTube

·       All YouTube users can upload videos up to 15 minutes each in duration. Users who have good track record of complying with the site’s Community Guidelines may be offered the ability to upload videos up to 12 hours in length, which requires verifying the account, normally through a mobile phone.
·       One can upload an unlimited number of videos.
·       File size up to 2 GB for uploads from the YouTube webpage, or 20 GB if up-to-date browser versions are used.
·       In January 2010, YouTube upgraded its version of the site (HTML5) that supports built-in multimedia capability, i.e. videos can be viewed without installing Adobe Flash Player in a computer.
·       Original videos can be monetised and one can earn money through YouTube using Google’s AdSense facility that enables to put ads on videos.
·       YouTube accepts videos uploaded in almost all container formats. It also supports 3GP, allowing videos to be uploaded from mobile phones.
·       From November 2009, 1080p HD Video support was made available to YouTube.
·       From July 2009, YouTube announced that YouTube users can now upload 3D videos. The videos can be viewed in several different ways, including the common anaglyph (cyan/red lens) method which utilized glasses worn by the viewer to achieve 3D effect.
·       YouTube offers users the ability to view its videos on web pages outside their website. This functionality is often used to embed YouTube videos in social networking sites like Facebook and blogs.
·       YouTube Mobile was launched in June 2007. Most of the smartphones, i-pods and even some advanced Television are capable of accessing YouTube.
·       YouTube brought forth its inbuilt movie editing and sound editing/mixing technology letting users to edit out their videos and adjust, mix or dub sounds in YouTube, without the need of other softwares.
·       Other than the usual features like comments and likes, YouTube has a feature called ‘Annotation’, which allows one to create clickable links within videos that can link to other videos, playlists, channels or to subscribe.
·       Captions and subtitles feature has been implemented.
·       YouTube launched their live streaming service. Many TV channels have got into YouTube after this service was made available.

1. 4. Background of the Problem

YouTube as a research topic is not very infrequent, because it has created such a phenomenon across the world, whether the result is being referred to as good or bad. It has created different opportunities for millions, and the same opportunities have grown so dangerously powerful that even led to the downfall of governments in some countries. So, many studies and research papers have been conducted at many places of the world. But, we are not focusing YouTube and its impacts on the society in an all-around manner and we are not going to discuss about YouTube’s history. Our study is only dealt in the context of Kerala, and the focus is on the fact that whether YouTube helps in promoting budding filmmakers to showcase their talents online and get popularity and acceptance from the public. For that we are only dealing with the age group of people between 18 to 25, and will be mostly college students.
Although, many studies about YouTube has been conducted as said before, there are literally no studies to our knowledge which has been conducted in the past, dealing with this specific issue (about emerging filmmakers) and within the boundaries of the State of Kerala. There has been only a little amount of study about YouTube in general which focused on Kerala and none at all which focuses on the issue that we have selected, albeit our topic is highly relevant in these times. Since that being the case, there are almost no references to be cited as a ‘Review of Literature’ in the next chapter, maybe apart from some newspaper/magazine articles. More details regarding the absence of adequate citations literature are given in ‘Chapter 2 – Review of Literature’.
            We have conducted this research mostly on a quantitative way and to a lesser extent on a qualitative way. There are three different sources from where we collect the information. The primary one is through conducting surveys in educational institutions. The secondary one is through interviewing people associated with YouTube and filmmaking, i.e. people with relevant experiences related to the subject. And the last step is done with the help of our own personal experiences and knowledge. More details about the structure of our research are provided in ‘Chapter 3 – Methodology’.

1. 5. Statement of Problem

            As we have indicated in ‘Background of the Problem’, not much of any published research articles have any identicalness with our research topic. Researches were YouTube is the topic may have been conducted before, but that is of no use to us as our topic exclusively focuses on a small, but also significant group of people, i.e. the filmmakers among youth. The point that is to be stated here is the ‘Gap in the Knowledge’ which is found in the current body of empirical research literature available. In fact, there is a large gap in the knowledge in the subject we have chosen, where there is no authentic and elaborate study has been done in the past. In fact, we are selecting a small portion for research from a vast circle of area where researches are yet to be done in a detailed manner. The subject we have chosen: ‘YouTube and its influences on the upcoming filmmakers of Kerala’, is a topic where researches in the past has not been conducted, at least to our knowledge, and so that topic itself accounts for the ‘Gap in the Knowledge’.
            The Problem that will be addressed are “Does YouTube has the capability of bringing out more filmmakers to the public”, like it helped Santhosh Pandit, although ill-famed and disputable. But YouTube could also bring out very talented filmmakers who are not very famous or wealthy enough to afford the production cost of a feature film or the rights to release it on a theatre. Whether YouTube can significantly help in promoting them to the public is our main research question.

1. 6. Purpose of the Study

          The filmmaking costs have decreased due to the digitalisation of filmmaking equipments and the comparatively cheap market prices of camera and other studio equipments. Also there are so many ways today to exhibit ones filmmaking talents to the public and receive admiration. So there are lots of aspiring young filmmakers who think they can create a wave among the public by their films. And the number has increased like never before in Kerala. But production costs are something that is inevitable for a good film to be made. But sometimes the exhibition cost of these amateur films by youngsters (like releasing it to a theatre) costs more than the production cost. But with YouTube, there is literally no exhibition cost, other than the cost of printing posters and hand-outs which is very inexpensive.
            So this significant attribute of YouTube, that it is completely free-of-cost and at the same time popular and accessible 24x7 is not something of a small value. No other traditional methods are this cheap and no other website other than YouTube is this popular. But although there has been a rush of short-films these days on YouTube, whether it is made due to YouTube or whether YouTube is just a complementary factor is something to be looked into. Even if one sees it as a complementary, the exposure that one can potentially get through YouTube, if coupled with talent and some online marketing tactics, can outnumber the number of live audiences present at a preview conducted on a theatre. Getting to the theatre needs manual effort whereas, if it’s on YouTube, it’s just a few mouse-clicks away.

1. 7. Significance of the Study

Today most of us have a computer or a smart phone along with an internet connection. The sale of smart phones that has internet connectivity through wi-fi and data packet service provided by the mobile companies has doubled last year. A significant percentage of the mobile phones sold in 2012 are smart phones. People are becoming more into internet like never before with the arrival of social networking sites. Also a large number of people are using YouTube either directly from its site or from external sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc.
            We have selected this subject because we have felt that more and more people are using YouTube in Kerala. Among them, a number of people use it as a free entertainment medium at their homes, just like a TV. More people are making films with the primary or secondary intention of sharing their works through YouTube. But our opinions are not enough for that there is no study that has been done regarding this that we can display as a proof. Since that is the case, we are doing the research work to find out whether our assumptions about YouTube are true or not. If the research finally finds out that our hypothesis are in fact right, then this study becomes a significant one as an awareness to those aspiring filmmakers who are ignorant about the potentials of YouTube should be given. It can be given through conducting public seminars, doing more research and studies, publishing more literary materials regarding this topic, and creating more awareness on how an individual who is interested in filmmaking can turn to YouTube for marketing and publication purposes of their works. Simply, more YouTube-awareness should be given to the people as it is a very potential medium of communication these days. Maybe in the future, one could watch new films on YouTube by giving certain amount of cash (via. online money transaction). This system is already implemented in the US. It will be a significant leap in the online participation of Malayalis.

1. 8. Hypotheses

Our hypotheses are:
·       YouTube is becoming an online theatre for the upcoming filmmakers of Kerala.
·       There is a significant number of Malayalis who are looking forward to watch more short-films and films through YouTube.
·       YouTube caused the flourishing of short-films and documentaries in Kerala.
·       Amateur filmmakers in Kerala are benefitted by YouTube.
·       More campus films are being made and a number of them are partially if not completely dependent on YouTube for distribution.

1. 9. Assumptions and Limitations

1.9.1. Assumption
In order to execute this research, we have to assume something’s will go like we already presumed. Those are assumptions we are putting forward. The first assumption is to trust that all the participants of our survey (aged between 18-25) will provide credible and honest answers for the questions in the questionnaire. We think that it can be safely assumed so because, we have informed them to write their answers honestly as none of their names or personal information (other than gender and age) is being collected. Since every participant has anonymity, there is little reason why they shouldn’t be honest.
            The second assumption is to trust that the people whom we have interviewed will give honest answers and not the answers that might favour us. It could be safely assumed because we are gently telling everyone of participant to honestly tell us what they think is true.

1.9.2 Limitations

We are only taking the case of college students and not the people who are not presently (at the time of this research) studying in college under the same age group.
Most of the participants will be from Trivandrum although there are some students hailing from other districts. So the findings of this research will have more credibility on the district of Trivandrum and slightly less validity in other districts.

[i] YouTube for Business: Online Video Marketing for Any Business, Michael Miller, Que Publishing, 19-Aug-2008, p. 13
[ii] Ibid.
[iii] - “Exclusive: YouTube hits 4 billion daily video views”, Jan 23, 2012.
[iv] - “Web could collapse as video demands soar”, Apr 07, 2008.
[vi], “YouTube Takes a Small Step Into the Film Rental Market”, The New York Times, January 20, 2010.
[vii], "YouTube turns to movie rental business", Jan 21, 2010.
[viii], "YouTube confirms worldwide deal for live Indian Premier League cricket", Jan 20, 2010

Chapter 2

2.1 Review of Literature

The purpose of the review of literature is to prove that no one has studied the gap in the knowledge outlined in the previous Chapter. Every research study that is mentioned should in some way bear upon the gap in the knowledge, and each study that is mentioned should end with the comment that the study did not collect data about the specific gap in the knowledge of the study.

We have already stated in Chapter 1 (See Background of the Problem) that no quotable studies regarding our specific topic has been conducted anywhere in Kerala to our knowledge. There might be many studies about the internet participation of Malayalis, participation in the blogging platforms and social networking sites.

There are lots of studies about YouTube, its history and its potentials. There are many well-researched books about YouTube like “YouTube: An Insider's Guide to Climbing the Charts”[i] by the famous online musician Alan Lastufka and Michael W. Dean; “How to Make Money with YouTube”[ii] by Brad Schepp and Debra Schepp; “YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day”[iii] by Greg Jarboe; “The YouTube Reader”[iv] by Pelle Snickars and Patrick Vonderau and similar books like “The Social Media Reader”[v] by Michael Mandiberg etc.

But unfortunately these studies first-of-all only deals with the American perspective of YouTube or the whole world in a general overall sense. That is because each of these books is written by American authors, and not Indian authors. The second thing is that 90% of these books are books dealing with the history of YouTube, the success-stories of American YouTube users, How-to methods (i.e. How to make money through YouTube etc.) etc. The remaining 10% deals with the influences of YouTube in our society and it being a useful platform for the amateur filmmakers.  But these 10% is not focused on the state of affairs in India at all. The Indian state of affairs of YouTube is almost nil as far as credible research or literature is concerned. This is partly because YouTube is a young medium and has only been popular in India since 2008 onwards or much later. So that is why there is no such studies that we can use as a reference material for our research.

Since that is the case all over India, the case of Kerala regarding credible literature referring to YouTube is almost non-existent. So there will be very few literature citations that could be given that have any direct correlation with our topic of research. Since the literature is not sufficiently available, the focus is given more on individual knowledge and experiences of people. We are gathering first-hand information from different people associated with YouTube and filmmaking, especially those people who had efficiently used YouTube to market or broadcast their films through it. We conduct interviews with them regarding this topic. We also are conducting surveys in several colleges to gather more information regarding some questions that will benefit for the better understanding of people’s participation in YouTube.

            We have clearly stated why that we are unable to give literature reviews that directly correlate to our specific research topic and that because very few researches have been conducted at all about our topic. But we can provide necessary review of literature from different books and articles that states some of our assumptions of our hypotheses. Those assumptions that we can give literature citations are:

       i.          Making money through YouTube is possible
     ii.          One can market their works through YouTube
   iii.          YouTube is an efficient medium of communication
   iv.          YouTube is becoming an online TV

1. Making money through YouTube – “Google Adsense allows you to put adds on your YouTube videos. When someone clicks on your ads you can get up to a few dollars from Google. To sign up you must have a blog or YouTube channel having more than sufficient views to mark the criteria to enable monetisation of your videos though Google Adsense program. If you channel views and copyright claims have met the criteria, you can create an account in Google Adsense by giving your address and other personal information. which is run by Google easily integrates Adsense and lets you post ads on your videos. It is possible to make a lot of money from Google Adsense but it takes time to start earning decent revenue. [vi]

2. Marketing through YouTube – “Back in the day, advertisements were only seen in newspapers or on TV. Now it seems that advertising has a new playground, the World Wide Web. Ads have appeared as banners, pop-up ads, social media, and lately, in the form of YouTube videos. Ads in the form of YouTube videos are often called ‘viral ads,’ especially when they gather millions of views, and are part of a viral marketing campaign.
What is viral marketing, and how effective is it? Its main objective is to increase brand awareness through replicating a viral like process, like the spread of virus in computers. Often, viral videos are spread through sharing by viewers, kind of like a word of mouth. Viral marketing often comes in the form of videos, but they also come in games, software, images or messages.
The main goal is to create infectious, viral messages that appeal to their target market with high SNP (social networking potential) that can easily spread through individuals. But why are they so effective? It is because the internet has enabled companies to reach out to the consumers at a more personal and interactive level. 75% of the internet’s total population go to a social networking site like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, where time spent in social media is a LOT more than time spent on email. The sharing effect is fast and rapid.[vii]

3. YouTube is an Efficient Medium of Communication – “You may dismiss it as a website for attention-deprived teenagers with an interest in strange cats, but YouTube, and other video sharing services like it, have the potential to change the way you communicate. YouTube factor is about much more than generating publicity. As impressive - and destructive - as viral video can be, it is its impact on internal communicators, and the way organisations operate, that really interests us. Whilst its power as a communication tool cannot be denied, video has remained out of reach for many of us- a medium that is simply too costly and too time consuming for the majority of internal communicators to consider using as a core channel. But all that has changed.
The barriers to video production and broadcast have now all but disappeared. Businesses of all sizes now possess the technology to stream video direct to employee's desktops via their intranets. No longer do we have to rely on expensive business TV satellite networks or on distributing content on VHS cassette or DVD in the vague hope that employees will make the effort to view them. Furthermore, the YouTube factor means that your video production no longer has to be of Scorsese standard - as long as it's interesting, relevant and authentic, 'home grown' will do. As many podcasters have already found out, content is more important than presentation - if you have something to say that is relevant and genuinely interesting then listeners will tune in. The same goes for internal communications.”[viii]

4. YouTube as an Online TV – “John Farrel, a YouTube regional director, has made a bold prediction saying that by 2020 some 75 per cent of audio-visual content will be consumed via broadband.
Farrel didn’t quite claim that YouTube would be the dominant supplier, he stated that “TV has been the leading media over the last 50 years, and [the change] will happen especially in digital platforms”.
He added “[This] will entail further investment in infrastructure, access lines and servers”, explaining that improved online EPG’s will further help broadband access.
“Pay channels account for an alternative that enable content creators to cash out, through micro-payments, an additional source to that of advertising”, he explained. However, Google, YouTube’s owners, were convinced that its main video site income source is still [dominated] by advertising. The executive also mentioned the need to [restructure] advertising budgets again. At present, advertisers allocate the 60 per cent or 70 per cent of their budgets to free-to-air TV, and the remaining percentage is divided between Pay-TV and digital platforms.”[ix]

[i] “YouTube: An Insider's Guide to Climbing the Charts”,
[ii] “How to Make Money with YouTube EB”,
[iii] “YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day”,
[v] “The Social Media Reader”,
[vi] “5 ways to Make Money on YouTube Without Being a Partner”, , November 10, 2012. Accessed on 19 January  2013.
[vii] “Youtube and the Impact of Viral Marketing”,  Youtube and the Impact of Viral Marketing. Accessed on 24 January  2013.
[viii] “YouTube and Its Impact on the Internal Communication”,, Accessed on 24, January 2013.
[ix] “YouTube: “Online will replace TV”,, Feb 14 2013, Accessed on 25 February, 2013.

Chapter 3

3.1 Objectives and Methodology

            The purpose of this chapter is to give an experiences investigator enough information to replicate the study. A research design is used to structure the research and to show how all of the major parts of the research project, including the sample, measures of assignment, work together to address the central research questions in the study.

            Today more and more young filmmakers are turning to YouTube to exhibit their works to the public. Some of the films have got very high popularity in it and some of them remain less popular. The popularity of a film in YouTube is directly proportional with the relevance of the work and the title, tags and such methodical aspects given to that video. Some of the short films are highly popular through YouTube alone. For example the Malayalam short film called ‘Shaeey’ by a campus student called Nevin Fradian got very popular that more than 5 Lakh people have seen it. [i] Campus short films like ‘Iniyumoru Mazhayai’ by Jishnu Sreekantan[ii], ‘Thanks for Nothing’ by Vivek Prem[iii], and even the short film starring Mohanlal in the lead role titled ‘Reflections’ by the now-popular Hindi filmmaker Bejoy Nambiar got more popularity on YouTube than any other medium[iv].

So the point is that more and more amateur filmmakers are coming out into the public spotlight just by the popularity they receive from YouTube. All of this was already described in detail in Chapter 1. So there is no need to reiterate it here once more. Hence we are moving on to describe the objectives and the methodology of our research in this chapter. In simple words, how this research is going to be conducted by us and what all are our main objectives are being is described in detail in this Chapter. The Analysis and Findings are given in Chapter 4.

3.2 Research Design

For a sociological topic like YouTube, we are planning to conduct this research both in qualitative and quantitative ways. The research conducted could be classified into three stages.
They are:

i)                Primary Research – In the primary stage we collect data through questionnaire, referring articles and books and gathering others opinions.
ii)              Secondary Research – In the secondary stage we collect data through direct interaction with people associated with the topic through interviews, discussions, etc.
iii)            Tertiary Research – The third stage of research is done through using our own individual knowledge as a YouTube user, and gathering inferences from them.

Although our research includes both qualitative and quantitative methods, it should be noted that this research is mostly going to be done in a quantitative way (i.e. through questionnaires or surveys), and to lesser extent in a qualitative way (through direct interviews etc.). For a research topic like this, yes or no questions and multi-choice questions are more crucial than taking others general opinions. So we decided to stick more onto the quantitative method via. conducting surveys and also to a lesser extent in the qualitative method.

3.3 Objectives
Our main objective for this research work is to prove that YouTube is becoming an online theatre for upcoming filmmakers of Kerala. We are proving it using various research techniques like questionnaire surveys and interviews with budding filmmakers who publish their works through YouTube.

We are also have other objectives like proving that there is a significant number of Malayalis who are looking forward to watch more short-films and documentary films that is published in YouTube than in any other kind of medium.

Our third objective is to prove that the number of short-films and documentary films has flourished and that is due to the existence and popularity of YouTube in Kerala. Before the existence of YouTube, short-films and documentary films are not made as frequently as of now and the only way to effectively display it to a mass audience is through conducting short-film festivals and documentary film festivals. But they too are not very frequent as they are only once a year, and once it a work is shown in a festival, most of the people would not see it again. But due to the arrival of YouTube, people can now watch short-films and documentaries at the homes and re-watch it and share it with their friends at any time. Hence we are proving that there is a mass audience who are looking forward to watch these kinds of works online through YouTube. We are proving it through surveys conducted by us in various colleges.

Our next objective is proving that amateur filmmakers are benefitted through YouTube. Usually, films by amateur filmmakers are not always get accepted for previewing in short-film/documentary film festivals. And only a small number of audiences would actually see the film in reality and once it is over, it will usually remain unseen. But due to the advent of YouTube, anybody can post their works and get publicity, comments and reviews of their works through it. Amateur films and filmmakers have now got a place among the public.

Our last objective is to prove that more campus films (films made by campus students) are being made and the number is increasing, and this is due to the YouTube. Mostly all of them are keen on uploading their works in YouTube after showing it to friends, for letting the public watch it and rate it.

3.4 Tools of Data Collection
          Our primary data collection tool is the survey done using questionnaires in different colleges. We have carefully selected a list of questions where most of them are objective-type questions and some are opinionative questions, and most of the data that we need are collected through it.
            The second most important data collection method is through conducting interviews with independent filmmakers who publish their works on YouTube. Internet is another important tool for the data collection process, in which we study more about YouTube and its features, and gather specific information regarding the topic of our research. Books are another data collection tool that we had used and we have referred books relating to Web 2.0 and YouTube. Some of the books which are not available and referred by us using internet.

3.5 Primary Research Questions

The most primary research objective is to find out whether YouTube is a helpful platform for the budding/amateur filmmakers of Kerala, whether be it short-filmmakers, documentarians or music video makers. But in the process of finding the answer to this question we are also getting an estimate of how make people taken part on the survey do actually watch videos online, how many videos do they watch on a daily average, how many of them watch short/documentaries through it and how many of them has benefitted themselves through YouTube by publishing their works online. We are also finding out whether most of the people directly go to the main of site of YouTube to watch videos or do they mostly watch them though social networking sites like Facebook, etc. The last but not the least important question is to find out the percentage of people who are well-aware of the fact that one could make money out of YouTube.

            We have prepared a questionnaire for conducting surveys. The questionnaire is given at the Appendix. The questionnaire includes questions like: how many people watch videos online occasionally; do they watch short film or documentary films on it; do they use YouTube as a quick video reference tool; are there any plus point of YouTube compared to other video streaming sites; are they active on YouTube; are they aware of making money though YouTube through the monetisation feature; could they name a Malayali director who got popularity through YouTube alone; do they find YouTube as a helpful platform for the budding filmmakers in Kerala; and so on and so forth. Refer Appendix for the full set of questions that is in the questionnaire.

3.6 Setting and Participants

We are planning to conduct the survey mostly from the colleges in Trivandrum. Hence this study report will be more valid in Trivandrum than other districts. We are focusing on youth especially between the age group of 18-25 as our participants. So the source of opinions will be mainly gathered from college campuses in Trivandrum. Some of the colleges we are planning to conduct surveys are A. J. College (Mass Communication Students), Kariavattam Campus (P.G. Mass Communication Students), Mar Baselios College (B. Tech), Nalanchira etc.

We are planning to take 100 sample surveys in total. Although we are not taking the names of any of the participants (in order to assure them anonymity), we are gathering the gender information and age of the participants. We are also noting down the names of the short-films that they say that they have seen along with the director’s name and the participants’ YouTube id (if they stated that they have one), in order for us to crosscheck whether they’re saying the truth. However the YouTube id’s and the names of the directors and their works they have referred need not be mentioned here, but could be used by us as a validation process.

3.7 Procedure

            In this section we are fully describing how the data were collected in detail. As mentioned above, we have both qualitative and quantitative methods in our research. The qualitative method is done by taking interviews of people associated with our topic. The quantitative method is done by conducting surveys. Here we will describe how and when the data for our research was collected.
We have interviewed around 10 different individuals who are associated with independent filmmaking and YouTube. We have handpicked some of the people within the age group of 18-25 who have done independent films (that includes short-film, full-length films, documentaries or music videos) and has uploaded their works in YouTube themselves. We ask them candidly whether they find YouTube as a helpful platform to exhibit their works to the public and get responses from them. We ask for their sincere opinions about YouTube as a site used by Malayalis, what is its relevance, merits and demerits. We also ask them whether they have, or anybody to their knowledge has gained money through YouTube by its monetisation feature.
All interviews were conducted early in the month of January and were mostly direct interpersonal interviews. Some of the interviews due to unavailability of the specific person, or due to other technical difficulties were held using phone. All the interviewees have done independent films either as Director, Producer, Editor or a Scriptwriter. The replies to the questions asked in the interviews are noted down in a paper. This is the whole procedure of the qualitative process of our research.

            Then we step onto the quantitative method of our research, which is the most prominent method that we are using for this particular research. That is done using questionnaire surveys. We have prepared a questionnaire having around 20 questions in total. We do not collect the names or any other personal information about the participant other than gender and age. We thought 100 sample surveys should be the limit and hence we took 100 copies of the questionnaire. (The ‘Questionnaire’ is provided at the Appendix).  We handed down portions of the questionnaire to each one of us, to go to different colleges and distribute it to the students. The colleges we have went to conduct this survey has been said earlier on this chapter (See ‘Setting and Participants’). All the questionnaires were filled during the same time-range of the interviews that had been conducted by us.

3.8 Data Processing and Analysing

            As mentioned earlier, we have already taken down the important points received to us during our interview session with people related with the topic. We took down their names and all the important points that they have opined. Their own personal experience as an independent filmmaker who is also a YouTube user is noted down with special importance.
            After that we go through all the notes that have been taken down in the interview session, and evaluate them ourselves and also compare and contrast them with each other. We try to find out the points said by all the participants to find out whether they all arrive at a consensus. Then we evaluate whether the results are positive or negative and mention them in detail in the next chapter.

            Now, the data processing and analysing of questionnaires are not as easy as the interview part. Since we are taking 100 sample surveys which includes not just multi-choice questions, but also questions that aren’t objective-type (i. e. opinions, what-do-you-think questions, etc.). First of all we manually mark down all the objective-type questions (i.e. yes-or-no and multi-choice questions) and note down all the markings that we have received in all such questions in a paper and arrange them for creating charts and graphs. It is an important point to note that not all the participants of the survey has answered all of the questions; some of them has leaved blank some basic questions and here we have no other option than to create an estimate amount where the total number will always be 100.

            Then we manually note down the different answers of questions that aren’t objective-type. We note down all the participants’ opinions for a question in a single sheet. We then try to sort out the general answers that we have received, and also the peculiar and relevant points that some participant has written down. We evaluate everybody’s answers to find out what they said are true or not. If we find that what they opined was in fact true and also relevant to be mentioned, we note down those points. The general unanimous results of opinionative questions will be described in the next chapter.

            After processing all the results of the objective-type questions, we convert each of the objective-type questions into tables where the total will be calculated by the total number of participants, i.e. 100. Since we have selected 100 as the limit, we have the advantage of not converting them into percentage of 100 again. Then, after converting all of them into tables, we sort out all those that could be communicated visually more effectively by using bar graphs, pie charts etc. We create charts and then describe the observations evident from it above each figure to prove our hypotheses.

[ii] Iniyumoru Mazhayayi... (once again as a rain...):
[iii] Thanks for Nothing - Malayalam short film,

Chapter 4

4.1 Analysis and Findings

            The purpose of this chapter is to summarise the collected data and the statistical treatment of it. Here, quotes from people whom we have interviewed are also included. We are not stating what our research problem is and our hypotheses as they are already mentioned in the previous chapters. So we are jumping directly into the analysis part of this topic. We have done this survey quantitatively, through questionnaire surveys and also qualitatively, through interviews. First, we will analyse the quantitative and then move on to the qualitative part. It might be useful to see the questionnaire we used to conduct the survey which is given at the Appendix.

            Age group of the Participants (Table 4.1)
No. of Participants
We have obtained the results of 100 sample surveys and hence the total number of results got for an objective type question will be 100. All of the 100 participants are college students aged between 18 to 25. After conducting the survey, we have calculated that 40 participants were of the age 18, 14 of them were 19 years old, 12 of them were 20, 4 of them were 21, 2 of them were 22, 4 of them were 23, 6 of them were24 and 12 of them were 25. 6 of them haven’t revealed their age.

            46 of the participants are Male, 30 are Female and the remaining 24 haven’t revealed their gender.

4.2 Responses
4.2.1. Online-Video Viewership of the Participants

            Watching videos online has become a routine among the new generation of Kerala. In our research it is important to find that most of the youth are addicted to online video viewing.

            For our question about whether they watch videos online, 58% of the participants responded positively. Whereas 20% opted they view videos online sometimes. 16 % of people view videos very rarely and only 6% does not see videos online. See Figure 4.1 below.

Response to whether they watch videos online (Figure 4.1)

4.2.2. Website Used by the Participants to Watch Online Videos

We are trying to find out the fact that YouTube is the most popular video streaming website among the youngsters of Kerala. As shown in the Figure 4.2, we have found that 84% of the participants prefer YouTube for watching videos. The next 13% supports Google Videos. Only 3% selected Metacafe even though it is very popular abroad. Surprisingly, none of the participants selected Vimeo.

Graph Showing the Leading Video Viewing Sites (Figure 4.2)

4.2.3. People who watch short-films/documentaries through YouTube

As the result of the new-wave movement in the filmmaking scenario in Kerala, the number of the production of short films and documentaries increased tremendously. Their viewership is also increasing. Figure 4.3 proves a major point of our hypothesis that the number of amateur filmmakers in Kerala has increased. This is due to the presence of an online platform like YouTube. 43% who responded ‘yes’ and 27% who responded ‘sometimes’ reinforces our statement.

Pie-Diagram Displaying Number of Short-film/Documentary Viewers
(Figure 4.3)
4.2.4. YouTube as a Video Reference Tool

In our question about whether YouTube is helpful for a quick video reference (i.e. to find out a desired video for a purpose), a massive 78% opined positively. 15% of the participants seem YouTube is somewhat helpful for this. 7% replied negatively. So it is evident from the results that more of the people find YouTube as a helpful tool that one could use for a quick video reference. They can use the YouTube’s search tool to find out a video that is uploaded by somebody in YouTube and watch it.

Number of People who use YouTube for a quick video reference (Table 4.2)
Do you find YouTube helpful for a quick video reference?
Very Rarely

4.2.5. Sensationalism of ‘Krishnanum Radhayum’ through YouTube

The possibilities of making a video popular through YouTube are infinite. The recent sensation in Malayalam cinema ‘Krishnanum Radhayum’ directed by Santhosh Pandit is a perfect example.

Response to whether the film ‘Krishnanum Radhayum’ became popular mainly due to YouTube (Figure 4.4)

In our question about the support of YouTube in making the film popular, 62% of participant responded positively. 18% are not sure and 20% does not think so.
See Figure 4.4 Above.

4.2.6. Success of the Short-film ‘Shaeey’
As we already stated that a number of independent filmmakers especially youngsters has increased in Kerala, success of the short film ‘Shaeey’ by Nevin Fradian strongly support the mentioned fact.
In our survey about whether they have watched Shaeey, 66% responded that they have seen the film (See Figure 4.5). 13% has heard about the film and 21% has not watched it yet.
As a supplementary question we added about the medium they used to watch the film. 52 supported YouTube and the rest were for others devices shown in Figure 4.6.
Response to whether they’ve watched the short-film called ‘Shaeey’, and the Medium of Viewing (Figure 4.5, 4.6)
4.2.7. Joining and Using YouTube
We were interested in finding the number of youngsters who uses YouTube not just for watching videos, but also for publishing their works by creating their own channel. But we have found that majority of the youth who frequently watches videos on YouTube doesn’t have a YouTube account or uses YouTube for uploading videos. The Figure 4.7 (Left) clearly shows that 61% doesn’t have a YouTube account. Among the 39% who responded yes, only 13 of them have uploaded videos in YouTube.

Response to the question whether they have YouTube account (Fig 4.7) and whether they have uploaded any videos to it (Fig 4.8)

4.2.8. YouTube’s Help for Aspiring Filmmakers

This is the most important question in our survey to substantiate our main hypothesis that YouTube helps amateur filmmakers. As a response for this question, 96% of the participants unanimously selected the answer ‘yes’ and a negligible 4% have opted ‘no’. For this result, we can easily reach at an evaluation that most of the young generation people think that YouTube is an highly helpful online tool for the independent filmmakers of the present Kerala.

Diagram showing whether YouTube is a helpful platform for amateur filmmakers
(Figure 4.9)

4.2.9. Daily Average Online Video Viewership of the Respondents

In response to a question regarding the number of videos viewed by the participants on a daily average, 46% selected ‘less than 2’ (See Figure 4.10 Below). 34% of the participants said that they watch around 2-4 videos daily. 13% sees 5-9 videos and only 7% watches more than 10 videos daily.

Graph showing the daily number of videos viewed by the participants
(Figure 4.10)
4.2.10. Device from which they watch YouTube videos
Earlier desktop was the only option for accessing internet. But the due to technological advancement worldwide, the type of devices to access internet has become multifarious. This also proves the fact that YouTube is now accessible from everywhere and its reach has increased.
We have found that laptop has overtaken the position of desktop with the support of 36% of respondents for accessing YouTube (See Figure 4.11). 34% still uses desktop as their device. 20% are accessing YouTube through mobile phones. 10% have started accessing YouTube through Tablet PCs.

Graph Showing the Devices used to see YouTube Videos (Figure 4.11)
4.2.11. Influence of Social Networking Sites (SNS) and Blogs

Emergence of social networking sites as a medium for communication has greatly influenced the modern society especially the youth. Most of the Social Networking Sites like Facebook (FB), Google+, etc. and blogs could embed YouTube videos in it. So the reach of YouTube is also being supported by SNS and blogs, since YouTube is the most popular medium for sharing videos. Figure 4.12 given below shows the statistics.

Responses to whether they watch YouTube videos through other sites
(Figure 4.12)

4.2.12. Making Revenue from YouTube

Apart from watching and publishing videos, one can also make revenue from YouTube from their own online content. ‘Monetisation’ is an attractive feature that YouTube has. By connecting the YouTube account with the Google’s Adsense facility, advertisements will appears on the videos and one can make money out of it.

In our survey, we found that 39% (See Figure 4.13 below) are aware about this feature. 35% partially know about this feature and 26% has not heard about it.

Response to whether they are aware of the fact that one could make money though YouTube by its monetisation feature (Figure 4.13)

4.2.13. Short filmmakers in YouTube
For our question about whether they know anyone who has done short-films and uploaded it on YouTube, 72% of the participants responded ‘yes’ and 28% do not know any (See Figure 4.14 below).
People’s response to whether they know any short-filmmakers in YouTube
(Figure 4.14)

4.2.14. Success of YouTube in Kerala
To ensure the fact that YouTube has become a successful online platform in Kerala, we have added a question about the success-rate of YouTube in our survey. The results received were highly positive as expected.

            54% of the participants reacted that YouTube is ‘Highly Successful’ in Kerala. 42% said that it is ‘Successful’. Only 4% opined that it is not so successful. No one has the opinion that it is not at all a success.
Response to whether YouTube has been a success in Kerala (Figure 4.15)

4.2.15. Opinionative Questions

Other than the above mentioned questions, we have also included 4 opinion-forming questions which cannot be described in graphical form. They are Questions ‘5’, ‘6 a’, ‘9 a’, and ‘18’. (See the Questionnaire on Appendix) As a result we got many merits and demerits of YouTube, some interesting opinions and the names of some short-films and short-filmmakers.

4.3 Opinions and Interviews

For making our dissertation more credible and authentic, we have taken direct interviews from persons who are making and distributing independent films. The interviewees include filmmakers, script-writers and film editors. Five major samples have selected from many interviews conducted by us.

The selected interviewees are:
1.     Ajai Rahul (independent filmmaker & editor)
Works: ‘Extremity’ (Short-Film) [i], and numerous works as editor.
2.     Mahesh Gopal (scriptwriter)
Works: ‘Oru Kannadi Katha’[ii], ‘Valentine’ etc.
3.     Jishnu Sreekantan (independent filmmaker and assistant director)
Works: ‘Iniyumoru Mazhayai’[iii]
4.     Praveen Mohan (independent filmmaker)
Works: ‘The Twist’[iv], ‘Varabhalam’
5.     Sreeram Ramesh (independent filmmaker)
Works: ‘Presentence’[v], Kelkamo[vi] (Music Video)

The important excerpts are given below:

Ajai Rahul – “YouTube is an extremely helpful platform for budding filmmakers to exhibit their talents. It helps the uploader to get valuable feedbacks and comments from audience everywhere. It can even help in finding new opportunities and contacts. Also, there is a problem like lots of junk works are being uploaded since it is open to everyone.”

Mahesh Gopal – “It is really a boon to the people who are interested in filmmaking. One can show their works worldwide free of cost through YouTube. Even though it causes a flooding of videos, YouTube ultimately helps the aspiring filmmakers.”

Jishnu Sreekantan – “In my opinion, YouTube has given more freedom to the audience. The distance between filmmaker and film has decreased. But it cause a negative impact after all. The filmmaker is forced to make what audience want. It will affect the goodwill of cinema badly.”

Praveen Mohan – “Most of the upcoming filmmakers like me are making films with YouTube as a medium in our mind. It has such a great reach across the globe and a filmmaker can broadcast his work to a mass audience.”

Sreeram Ramesh – “Even though YouTube serves as a good arena for the short-filmmakers, it doesn’t help them in a monetary basis always. It always comes as a secondary item.”

[ii] Oru Kannadi Katha – Short Film:
[iii] Iniyumoru Mazhayai – Short film:
[v] Presentence – Short film :

Chapter 5

5.1 Conclusion

Cinema is the most popular visual medium now and it also has a heavy influence among the society. Cinema has become an integral part of the people in Kerala. Filmmaking and film related activities have increased among the youngsters of Kerala. In this Chapter, we are trying to prove our hypothesis that we have put forward in Chapter 1.

With the advancing new media, influence of internet is visible in almost every part of the world and every field of life. YouTube is such a gift that internet gave to the world. Its influence can be seen in our small Kerala also. The world of visual media has been revamped by this video uploading website.

The past two years saw a terrific change in the scenario of movies. Numerous short films and documentaries have been made in these time period. The number of amateur filmmakers is also increasing in Kerala. 90% of these aspiring filmmakers are youth, especially college students. The main reason for this new wave movement in Kerala is emergence of YouTube as a broadcasting tool. The number of YouTube audience is also increasing day by day.

This is a topic related to new media and its dimensions will be different in different cultures, geographical areas and societies. But the methodology we followed is the standard form which is followed everywhere. To prove our hypotheses, we have done three main types of research. It includes questionnaire surveys, direct interviews and references from various books and internet. More than this, our own personal experiences as a YouTube user helped us for reaching the conclusion. In our study, we focused on youth especially between the age group of 18-25. The source of opinion was mainly from college campuses from Trivandrum.

            A total of 100 students from different campuses in Trivandrum city participated in our questionnaire survey. Out of them 46 were male and 30 were female students and 24 people have not mentioned their gender. The questions being included in our survey were mainly constructed for extracting specific details about the online video viewership habit of youth and to measure the overall popularity of YouTube in Kerala. It comprises other important facts like YouTube’s support for amateur filmmakers, the time spent on viewing internet videos and the number of people who publish their works on YouTube.

We have reached our major findings and conclusion by carefully examining the above mentioned results that we collected. We have compared and contrasted the collected data in order to check whether our hypotheses were true.

The following were our hypotheses:

·       YouTube is becoming an online theatre for the upcoming filmmakers of Kerala.
·       YouTube caused the flourishing of short-films and documentaries in Kerala.
·       More campus films are being made and a number of them are partially or completely dependent on YouTube for distribution.
·       The number of audience of YouTube in Kerala has increased significantly.

Now we are moving on to the major findings of our survey that we have collected from our research that could prove our hypotheses. The major findings of our research are given below.

5.2 Major Findings

1.     YouTube is an extremely helpful online platform for the upcoming amateur filmmakers of Kerala. We have reached this conclusion, by analysing the results of three questions in our questionnaire. Questions ‘3’ (Figure 4.3), ‘10’ (Figure 4.9) and ‘16’ (Figure 4.15).
2.     The number of independent and amateur filmmakers has increased recently and this is due to the influence of YouTube. It is evident from the results obtained for the question ‘9’ (Figure 4.14) and ‘9 a’, and also the question ‘7’ (Figure 4.6).
3.     YouTube is the most preferred online video streaming website in Kerala, even though there are many other similar popular websites. It is proved from the responses received from the participants for the questions ‘2’ (Figure 4.2), ‘4’ (Table 4.1) and ‘5’.
4.     The reach of YouTube has increased with the arrival of new devices which has YouTube access. This is analysed from the results obtained from the Question ‘13’ (Figure 4.11). Mobile Phones, Tablets and Laptops is replacing desktop.

5.3 Other Findings
          We have also found some interesting facts relating to YouTube in our survey which has no direct relation to our hypotheses. They are:

·       Majority of the people who visit YouTube doesn’t have a YouTube account (See Figure 4.7) and only a few of them having YouTube account upload videos to it (See Figure 4.8).
·       Majority of YouTube users are not or are only partially aware about the monetisation feature provided by YouTube. (See Figure 4.13)

5.4 Suggestions and Recommendations

1.     People should YouTube more productively by creating their own accounts on YouTube and uploading their original videos on it.
2.     Awareness about possibilities of YouTube like Monetisation for revenue making should reach the public sphere conducting public seminars and workshops about new media.
3.     There should be a quality control method implemented on YouTube in order to reduce the proliferation of senseless videos and short-films. This is a real threat to the filmmakers who are really passionate about making sensible movies.
4.     Since our study is only focused on the atmosphere of Kerala, particularly in Trivandrum. The conclusion we have reached is applicable mostly to a Malayali society. So further studies can be conducted regarding this topic at a national level to get more relevant information.

To sum up, the influence of new media among our youth is undeniably huge and all the online media tools have become a part of their daily lives. YouTube dominates among all the other internet media websites available now. Through this dissertation, we have substantiated the numerous possibilities of YouTube which not only helps the youth, but also all the ones who are interested in making videos whether it is film, documentary or music video. We considered that fact that how it changed the atmosphere of Kerala by opening the wider world of video publishing through internet because YouTube is not only a video uploading site, there you can discuss about the video, add your own opinions, etc.
By analyzing the data we collected throughout our survey, we hope that we have successfully proved our hypotheses that YouTube has definitely become an online theatre for film aspirants of Kerala.


Appendix 1


Dear Friend,
We (Sarath, Navaneet, Rajith, Shaiju & Sachu) are students of ‘Journalism and Mass Communication’ in Mar Ivanios College, Nalanchira. We are preparing a thesis (or dissertation) as a part of our syllabus. Our topic is about the popular website YouTube, and its influences in Kerala. This questionnaire is prepared by us to gather more information regarding the topic and we would greatly appreciate your cooperation. We humbly request you to give true and correct answers to the following questions.
Note: We are not collecting your names and every participant taken part in this survey remains anonymous.
Please put tick ()marks
Gender: Male / Female
Date of Birth (dd/mm/yyyy) :  ____ /____ /_______
1.    Do you watch videos online?
Yes            No           Sometimes        Very Rarely
2.    Which website do you visit mostly to watch videos?
a.    Youtube , b. Metacafe , c. Vimeo , d. Google Videos
e. Others (Specify: _____________)
3.    Do you watch short-films/documentary-films on YouTube?
Yes           No            Sometimes      Very Rarely
4.    Do you find YouTube helpful for a quick video reference (i. e. to find out a desired video for a purpose)?
Yes           No             Sometimes         Very Rarely
5.    Are there any plus points to YouTube compared to other video streaming websites in your opinion?

6.  Do you think the film ‘Krishnanum Radhayum’ became this popular due to YouTube?
Yes            No            Partially
5 A. Why do you feel so? State your opinion: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
7.    Have you watched the short film called ‘Shaeey’?
Yes          No           Only heard of it
6A.     If you’ve answered ‘yes’, how did you watch it?
(If you have selected ‘No’, ignore this question)

CD/DVD   YouTube Blog or SNS Others (Specify: ___________)
8.    Do you have a YouTube account?
Yes / No
If ‘Yes’, what is your YouTube id [not compulsory]: __________________
7A.    If you’ve answered ‘Yes’ to the previous question, have you uploaded any videos to it?
Yes           No
9.     Do you know anybody who has done short films and uploaded it on YouTube to get more viewership?

Yes            No
8A.     If ‘Yes’, could you name the Title Name or the Director of that short-film or documentary film [not compulsory]: ________________________________

10.Do you think YouTube is a helpful platform for a budding filmmaker in Kerala, to exhibit his/her talents online and become popular?

Yes      No

11. What kind of videos do you watch on YouTube generally?

12. How many videos do you watch on a daily average?
Less than 2   Between 2-4    Between 5-9   More than 10
13. From what device do you watch usually?

Desktop   Laptop   Mobile Phone   Tablet
14. Do you mostly watch YouTube videos directly from its website or do you watch it through social networking sites like Facebook?
Directly from YouTube Through FB & similar sites Through blogs
15.Are you aware of the fact that one can make money out of YouTube (through “monetization” feature)?

Yes              No            Partially
16.Do you think the website ‘YouTube’ has been a success in Kerala?
Highly Successful Successful Not fully successful Not successful
17. Can you name some of the videos that you’ve recently seen on YouTube?
18.Can you write down some of the merits and demerits of YouTube in your opinion?
i. ___________________________________________
i. ___________________________________________