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YouTube looks to India growth

With over 17 million unique users in India as per comScore data for August, YouTube is very happy with its progress.

business Updated: Oct 10, 2010 22:31 IST
Rachit Vats

With over 17 million unique users in India as per comScore data for August, YouTube is very happy with its progress. Gautam Anand, director for content partnerships (Asia Pacific), Google, in a Q&A with Hindustan Times, spoke of YouTube’s India-specific plans.

How has YouTube done in India?
There were many apprehensions in the beginning about low broadband penetration, but the success of the Indian Premier League has proved that there is a big demand for YouTube in India. Before IPL, we had over 10 million users and in a span of just four months, we added over seven million more unique users.
On the content partnership side, we have made great progress as Indian content producers are really innovative and they are leveraging the platform well. The total view of premium content from India has increased by almost 350 per cent on a year-on-year basis (Q2, 2010 compared to Q2, 2009). Active videos have grown 440 per cent and new video uploads have gone up by 300 per cent. We hope to continue to our momentum in India and will continue to add more locally relevant content. Full length catch-up content of popular TV shows, long-form Bollywood content including regional films, live streaming and simulcast of big TV shows are some of the new things that we are focusing on.

What is the next big innovation from YouTube for the Indian audience?
We are looking to significantly ramp up our long-form Bollywood movies catalogue. Full length catch-up shows have been getting a tremendous response from across the globe.
From a technology standpoint we will continue to enhance our industry-leading content ID tool that is helping thousands of our partners. The tool helps copyright holders — large and small — more easily identify and manage their works on YouTube. These tools allow rights owners to easily choose what they want done with their videos: block, monetise, or track with minimal effort.

Will you be looking at paid subscription model for India soon or at some point later?
The business model for us, until now, has been advertising. We are experimenting with paid content. When Studio18 produced the Bollywood film, Striker, the first Hindi movie to have a world premier on YouTube (it received 1,185,433 views), it was ad-supported in some markets and paid in some. It is up to the content producer to decide how they want to leverage the platform.

What are your other plans related to Bollywood?
We have several reputed Indian content partners including Yash Raj Films, UTV, Eros Entertainment, Rajshri, Zee Network, Sony Entertainment, Imagine and Zoom. We also have films in Marathi and Telugu. Regional cinema is doing well, with our tie-ups with Tollywood for Telugu films. Other partners include channels such as Zee Marathi, Zee Bengali, Maa TV and others. Bollywood celebrity channels are also catching up. Simulcasting of shows has a lot of potential, such as celebrity channels for John Abraham, Ileana and Sreesanth.