(Because Social Media is powerful?)
Content Creation has become a 24×365 industry. Soon enough, India will have the largest content-creating base globally. Football has always been the largest sport in the world. Combine all of it and you will somewhat get ‘Content Creation in Indian Football.’
When COVID hampered Football, content creation boomed. People were confined within the four walls, without much work to do. Thus, the screen time increased. ‘Aapda ko avasar me badalna’ happened and a lot people turned themselves into content creators.
All India Football is amongst the pages that started in the earlier parts of 2020. “We started during the COVID outbreak. It wasn’t that we just made a page out of the blue. There was a proper plan in place,” recalls Hiresh Das, the admin. “I had just returned home from college. The idea of contributing something to the community was always in my mind. I looked up to social media and found nothing. There were only a few pages that cared about the niche. So I turned to a few guys in my connection and brought the idea into existence.”
IFTWC itself has been around since 2012. As per one of our Social Media heads, the boom began after the accessibility of high-speed cheap internet post-2016. “Indian Football evolved from generic content to more in-depth details about the national team, domestic structure, etc. This was no less than a revolution for Indian Football media or sports in India in general. The online community grew exponentially and thanks to this, lots of news pages, troll pages, and even unofficial fan club pages began to rise,” he further adds.
Lockdown was just a “cherry on top”.
The Indian Football scene has undergone notable improvements in terms of professionalism in recent years. This is largely due to the significant growth in the community, which has brought in more skilled professionals such as graphic designers, video editors, and content creators. As a result, the overall quality of content has become more appealing and contemporary, leading to increased engagement numbers. Additionally, the inclusion of regional content in languages such as Bengali, Malayalam, Hindi, and Tamil has helped to foster greater interest in the sport.
Helps to breach into new audience
Creativity lets people think differently. Fans desire different things for different reasons. They go to the media for news. They go to the video editors for adrenaline. See, you can find video editors exhibiting their editing abilities on YouTube and Instagram by scrolling through the Shorts and Reels sections. If your tab is full of football postings, you will see edits on “Deeneyyyyy,” “Agueroooo,” and other moments virtually every other week. These are some of the most iconic football moments in history. These reels pop up so often that even non-football watchers know the context of it. If not these, then they at least know about “Ankara Messi”.
What is intended to say here is that creators have successfully been breaching into a new set of audiences. Is it exactly what Indian Football needs? Yes. Digital archives and digital presence could do wonders. Lately, ISL media has upped its social media game. Goal clips on respective handles have become more common. Which is a massive upgrade on having only to see the goal celebrations.
Power of Social Media
Remember the time when Sunil Chhetri took to social media and pleaded with fans to come and support the national team on the ground? The entire nation’s attention turned towards the Mumbai Football Arena which was hosting the captain’s 100th game for India. Chhetri scored a brace in front of the sold-out MFA. His plea was endorsed by athletes like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, and Sania Mirza. As per Twitter India, it was the most retweeted tweet of 2018 – earning it the Golden Tweet of the Year.
There are a couple of paths in the content creator economy: those who view it as a stepping stone and those who view it as a destination.
Dhanraj Dhurve is a 26-year-old footballer-turned-YouTuber from Madhya Pradesh. Football took him to Russia but injuries always made their way. The ACL tear pulled the plug on his playing career. He followed his deep-rooted ambition to help the budding footballers and chose YouTube as his way forward.
“All along, I always wanted to help the amateur footballers because I have faced what they are facing. On knowing that my videos actually proved useful to some, I became consistent about it,” says Dhanraj, who will soon be hitting 50K YouTube subscribers.
He doesn’t exactly see it as his destination. But for what he’s going to try to build, his YouTube channel is a big part of it.
Copyright is always a major party spoiler for a YouTuber or any content creator. One such person didn’t hold back on it. “It’s almost as if all ISL cares about is money. I hold the opinion that the reason for ISL’s poor digital reach is the tight copyright treatment from their side. People want to create videos on their favorite player but it gets taken down as soon as it is up. When someone wants to know about a new domain, they usually look up youtube amongst other places. If there is no video, how will they be introduced?” . Sounds valid.
“My channel had just crossed 200K views but the copyright strikes from ISL took it down for nearly a year,” he requested being anonymous.
On this very issue, one of our dedicated personnel opined – “The copyright owners should relax a bit as long as the creator isn’t making money out of it. Maybe they can implement an attribute system where the creators must provide attributes to the owners.”
There have been dedicated creators in the past who have tried to add elements to the domain. Their attempts, however, unsuccessful due to this very reason.
“Do it as an activist”
Since Indian Football is not exactly a large domain, creators haven’t been profitable financially. It’s not the place for someone who wants to yield money out of it. It’s important to note that those who wish to pursue content creation for Indian football must approach it more as a social worker or activist, with limited monetary expectations. It’s currently not a viable full-time career option.
“For what it’s worth it, I personally fund everything myself,” continued Hiresh. “We don’t get anything monetarily. Passion is the only driving force. Why else would I put my own money without expecting anything in return?”
India will play in the Asia Cup next year. A strong run would grab the attention of the potential new audience. Some of them may explore the domain and would want to contribute in their own way. Someone might take up content creation in order to broaden the reach of Indian Football, like all of us have been doing. Over the years, we ourselves have promoted several Indian Football creators for free.
Because we need more of it.