Even as India speculated how the US-returned actress Madhuri Dixit Nene would map out her comeback, she launched an online, free-of-cost dance academy. Within two months, it has attracted over 20,000 registrations from across the world.
Two years ago, homemaker Nisha Madhulika, 55, started a cookery channel on YouTube. She spent a few thousand rupees to create a cooking table and bought a reasonably-priced camcorder. As she frequently uploaded ‘how to cook’ videos, YouTube approached her with a partnership deal and sought permission to show ads on her channel.
“Today, I earn enough to run my family,” Madhulika said.
Under the YouTube partner programme and others like it, video entrepreneurs could earn around Rs. 40,000 per months via ads, after getting 10 lakh views, reckon industry experts.
“This platform is open to anyone who has a story or a skill to share. In India, where employment avenues are bit compromised, using the platform to supplement one’s income is a good idea,” said Jehil Thakkar, head, media and entertainment, KPMG.
From a consumer perspective, getting solutions to specific needs or wants through online videos is a definite attraction. When Savvy Khan, 26, an IT professional, wanted to participate in a dance competition, he registered with an online dance academy and practiced salsa, a dance form. "These videos are shot for laymen like us. They start from minor basics and move to advance stages very slowly," he said.
Software engineer Rohan Dutta, 27, said, “I went to Bangalore on a new job, but eating out didn’t suit my stomach. I started referring to online cookery videos and found sites offering easy-to-make recipes.”
Trisha Sharma, 28, an ad agency executive, commented: “From draping a saree to tying a neck scarf, everything is available on online videos. I need to dress intelligently for client meetings, presentations and events. From eye make-up to hair-dos, the online video tips are useful. It beats going to a salon each time.”
Even by brick-and-mortar establishments are getting into the online video space. "My coaching institute uploads its entire study material in video format.
I download mathematics chapters and can revisit tricky formulas and derivations at a click. It feels like sitting in a class," said Richa Khosla, a Delhi-based high school student.
Make-up artist duo Sonal Sagaraya and Rishabh Shah, both 21, have uploaded over 30 make-up tutorials. “We are using it as a marketing platform to bag more orders online, beyond our physical salon. Recently, we have won make-up assignments from Singapore,” said Sagaraya. Their site has 819 subscribers and boasts of over 91,000 views.
As ‘how to’ videos pick up, categories such as how to cook, lose weight, yoga, make-up, aerobics, preparing excel sheets and many others are creating avenues for content creators and aggregators, as well as consumers looking for easy, quick solutions.
Many websites, including YouTube, also provide a lot of free video editing tools. “Most of our partners who upload two videos per week, spend approximately R1,500-4,000,” said David Macdonald, head, content operations, YouTube (Asia Pacific).
While consumers are happy to access the video content for free, advertisers are opening up to the opportunity. “Research shows that video ads deliver 82% brand recall, versus a 54% recall for the same ads on TV,” said Subho Ray, president, Internet and Mobile Association of India. “Plus, there’s the possibility of going viral on social media sites within minutes."
Even as online videos create a new ecosystem, the space stands the risk of getting crowded. “There are over 10,000 cooking videos online already, for example. One needs to innovate and differentiate significantly to stand out in the clutter,” said a spokesperson for Dailymotion, a site for uploading and sharing videos.