Do Bangalis only watch silly videos? Enayet Chowdhury says no
Enayet Chowdhury, an academic by profession and YouTuber by choice, makes videos that cover a wide range of contemporary issues. He currently has 334k followers on Facebook and 189k subscribers on YouTube
Enthusiastically following the informative journalism of Vox, as well as, the short, precise informative videos of Crash Course and Kurzgesagt, the educated youth of Bangladesh has always wondered why there was such a dire shortage of local infotainment.
Enayet Chowdhury, an academic by profession and YouTuber by choice is a person who is trying to fill that void with his informative explanatory contents on YouTube and social media.
Enayet creates videos that cover a wide range of contemporary issues ranging from myths regarding the Covid-19 vaccines, Flat Earth theory to explanatory contents on the Taliban, The Pandora papers, the Paradise Scandal and so on.
His videos are unique as they try to present contemporary and often complex social and political issues in an easy-to-understand manner that often accompanies satire and humour. He currently has about 334k followers on Facebook and 189k subscribers on YouTube.
"I somehow felt that I was responsible for creating this vacuum. A viewer is watching cringeworthy YouTube content because there isn't enough quality content, at least in Bangla on YouTube. That guilt pushed me to start YouTubing in the first place," said Enayet.
He added that he got the inspiration to start his YouTube channel from the late Prof Dr Jamilur Reza Choudhury.
Enayet is also a part of the Trinomial Podcast, one of the first of its kind in Bangladesh and definitely one of the most popular. He is also a lecturer at the Institute of Water and Flood Management (IWFM) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Dhaka. Earlier he graduated from the Department of Civil Engineering at BUET.
Enayet claimed to be an avid YouTube content consumer. But he never thought he would actually become a content creator.
"I watch a lot of YouTube videos. So, somehow I know what works the best for YouTube content creation. But creating content is at least 10 times more difficult. Frankly speaking, I didn't want to take this pressure on my shoulders, especially since there's no guarantee of success in this field despite all your efforts."
Then what changed?
Enayet responded, "If people like us, who can differentiate between good content and bad content, don't make videos, this creates a vacuum. This vacuum is then filled up with low quality/cringe contents."
However, for a long time, the predominant idea was that Bangladeshi audiences are not ready for intelligent content.
"I think the secret sauce of my channel is firstly, its exclusiveness, secondly, the relationship with my audience, and finally, my sense of humour," said Enayet.
"Suppose, if I explain climate change and COP26, I think everyone can understand it without knowing the 'hydrologic cycle' and other fancy terms. I always ask myself "Why will people watch your videos without watching the news on television?", and I try to make sure of everything to achieve that notion," he added.
Although Enayet has been relatively successful in attracting audiences and creating a niche fanbase for himself, he finds it difficult to feed informative contents to Bangladeshi viewers.
"To be honest, I don't think the ordinary people online are still ready to consume this type of content. They like something spicy and far from the truth, such as the earth is flat or something like this," said Enayet.
"But if you remain objective in your content and mix a bit of humour, you can always bend the taste of your audience, especially on YouTube." he added.
Apart from the difficulties in making informative content, Enayet also felt that the financial situation is still underdeveloped in Bangladesh.
"Honestly speaking, as sometimes I make videos on some controversial topics and I don't make any video fully entertaining, I am struggling to be financially stable in this genre."
Most influencers make money through collaborations with brands and sponsored content. Since infotainment is a relatively nascent and underexplored area, Enayet is finding it difficult to make his project financially sustainable.
"Only the Ed-tech farms are spontaneously collaborating with me in many videos. Other than that, I am not getting that much support from other brands. If I made entertainment videos (like some fantastic content creators such as Rakin Absar, Rafayat Rakib vai, etc.) I would get much better brand deals than I am getting right now." Enayet said.
Enayet is simultaneously a writer, academic and content creator. How does he manage all of these responsibilities at the same time?
"I think I can manage my thoughts very efficiently. Suppose, now I am answering your questions, the moment this interview finishes, I can easily switch to another work like research, teaching or content-creation, without even thinking for a single time that this interview ever happened," Enayet responded.
Enayet Chowdhury is also one of the pioneers in popularising podcasts in Bangladesh. He along with Khalid Farhan and Sadman Sadik, host the trinomial podcast where they talk about a wide range of issues. When asked about the story behind launching a podcast, he said.
"In mid-2020, Farhan vai knocked me one day and said that we (along with Sadman) can start a podcast. From then, we promised ourselves that every week we will sit for one day and record a podcast, no matter what. We are so dedicated to this one mantra that we are still uploading one or more podcasts every week," said Enayet.
Finally, Enayet shared his future plans with the TBS team.
"I want to do some ground reports which I haven't tried yet. Like reviewing the history of a famous place and its impact on the current economy of Bangladesh, while standing on that place."
"I want to explore different topics in this genre and make videos as long as I can. I hope more people in the future will be interested in these types of content," he added.