At a time when everything has gone virtual, why not part of our celebration?

Actor Prosenjit will have a new AR filter during Durga Puja

In the year of the pandemic, it will be a Durga Puja like no other. At a time when everything has gone virtual, why not part of our celebration? We spoke to Manish Chopra, director and head of partnerships, Facebook India, about how Facebook and Instagram are helping people take the virtual route in these unprecedented times.

Do tell us about how the virtual experience has been evolving in the last few months.

Cultural celebration, which has been a very important part of the Indian fabric, has gone virtual in this new normal of social distancing. But there is an opportunity for people — despite all the curbs and new way of living — to celebrate. In the last few months we have seen live broadcast on pages literally triple if you look at the month of June compared to last year.

Watch, which is the Facebook video product tab, has seen explosive growth. We don’t break India numbers separately but globally, we have more than 1.25 billion people who are on Watch every month. On Instagram we are seeing some fabulous rise. Video views and videos on Instagram have grown 60 per cent and they make up more than 33 per cent or one-third of all the posts on Instagram. .

At the centre of this cultural focus have been content creators. Big public figures, celebrities and people have come on the platform and so have big publishers. We have seen a big growth in video consumption, be it videos of food, dance and music or something educational or DIY. Comedy and home improvement videos too have seen significant growth on the platform.

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Work on virtual activities around festivals must have started a few months ago….

Post-pandemic, certain behaviours have changed, how people interact has changed. We are seeing vibrant interactions every evening when the IPL is on. That kind of positive sentiment will come through during the various cultural festivals. We have been working on this for a couple of months now, trying to find the right way to be able to reach and connect with people. A lot of creators and a lot of our partners are taking content to a new height with so many trends around music, dancing and expressing yourself coming together, especially around the new Reels experience. It has been fabulous to see not only culture live on Instagram but also new ways of expressing coming through.

Facts, figures and fun

Facts and trends around Reels

  • In July, India was amongst the first few countries Reels was tested in (thereafter launched in 50 other countries).
  • Two out of five songs shared most globally on Reels, are from Indian artistes.
  • Some of the fastest growing creators on Reels include Jaydeep Gohil (@hydroman_333), who claims to be India’s first underwater dancer, and Surabhi and Samriddhi Mehra aka Chinki Minki.

Activations during Durga Puja on Facebook and Instagram

  • AR effect called Pujaparikrama available on actor Prosenjit’s (@prosenstar) Facebook and Instagram accounts, which allows people to virtually experience the Puja and pandal festive experience.
  • AR effect called Durga Pujo available on creator Kiran Dutta’s (@yourbongguy) Facebook and Instagram accounts.
  • Durga Puja Gifs: For the first time, there is a list of Durga Puja Gifs which are easily searchable with the word ‘Pujo’, to make your Instagram Stories and Reels fun.
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Content programming info…

  • Thirty-five of Calcutta’s favourite public figures and creators can be seen celebrating in the new normal, on Facebook and Instagram. This includes Prosenjit, Jeet, Ritabhari Chakraborty, Bong Guy, Priyam Ghose and Indrani Biswas (Wonder Munna). This will be available through the festive period, using #DurgaPuja2020, #ShubhoMahalaya, #FBDurgaPujo and #IGDurgaPujo
  • Puja specific content on Instagram’s new short form video feature, Reels, will be available on the following hashtags: #AmarPujoReel, #DurgaPujoReel, #FeelKaroReelKaro, #FeelItReelIt, #FeelKorboReelKorbo, #ReelyPhataphatiPujo, #PujoDekhechiReelKorechi, #PujoFeelershaateyReel, #PujoReelChallenge



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