Don’t want to miss your favourite television soap’s episode because you’re going out? You can just go to YouTube and catch it later. The same holds for films – you can actually pull it out of the archives YouTube is building up currently.
Google’s YouTube which, according to comScore research, had 183 lakh uique users in India in September (173 lakh in July), is working very hard on video content, especially in the entertainment category, to increase its stickiness with Indian users in a big way.
The realisation came when YouTube saw people’s response to its video streaming of the IPL matches this year.
“We had expected around 10 million users doing quick catch-ups of seven-eight minutes each on the IPL matches. We got over 55 million unique views, with each view lasting, on an average, over 50 minutes,” said Kiran Mani, business head, Google India.
Since then, YouTube has tied up with television channels and film production houses for running their content on its own site, such as Yash Raj Films, UTV, Eros Entertainment, Rajshri, Colors, Zee Network, Sony Entertainment, Imagine and Zoom.
“Bollywood continues to be a big focus area,” said Mani. “And with television content, we recently did ‘catch up’ episode runs of Bigg Boss, immediately after each broadcast on Colors, which actually drew in viewers.” The Bigg Boss episode on October 29 drew in 36,298 views, and in three weeks, it drew in 2,40,000 unique viewers.
Beyond the catch-up content, which is content people missed on TV, films are a strong area of focus. “You can get any Yash Raj film from our archives for viewing. Even with past TV content such as Mahabharat, there are good monetising opportunities,” Mani said.
Monetising of such “premium content” for YouTube will happen through advertisers, especially FMCG advertisers, said Mani. For example, Nestle picked up the sponsorship of Bigg Boss on YouTube.
Beyond such entertainment videos are propositions such as dedicated YouTube channels for films, like the Peepli Live channel; or film-based promotions and contests. And then there is the launch of celebrity brand channels on YouTube. Priyanka Chopra already has one, sponsored by Nokia, and others are coming up for John Abraham, cricketer Virendra Sehwag and south-India’s Illeyana.
While Mani agreed that broadband speed is an issue, YouTube’s video content has attracted attention. Google said that the total view of premium content from India has increased by almost 350% globally (Q2, 2010 compared to Q2, 2009). Active videos have grown 440% and new video uploads have gone up by 300%.