Growing Internet User-Base in India Giving a Boost to YouTube!

Growing Internet User

YouTube has been recognized as the fastest-growing online creators in India on the eve of fourth edition of YouTube FanFest.  With over 14 independent creators hitting the one-million subscribers mark across Entertainment, Music, Tech and Food, YouTube is continuing to see massive growth in online video viewership in India, reaching over 180 million users per month in India on mobile alone, according to App Annie.

With over 300 million smartphone users now in the country, creators are finding audiences beyond the top metros thanks to improved access to the Internet, as well as more Indians coming online in tier 2 cities who are discovering new content in their languages. This demand is driving more hunger for YouTube content across all genres, the company said in a statement. These trends are driving YouTube’s massive growth in watch time, with mobile contributing to 80 per cent of YouTube’s total watch time in India. That mobile watch time is growing at a staggering 400 per cent year on year. Earlier this year, YouTube announced that its 1+ billion users worldwide are now watching 1 billion hours of video daily.

Another big factor driving YouTube’s success in India is the rise of independent online creators, it stated. 2016 saw the fastest growth of creators’ subscriber base, with now over ten creators across the country boasting more than 1 million subscribers. YouTube has been consistently investing in boosting creators’ success, with initiatives such as the NextUp development program as well as holding more than 50 events and workshops across India.

At its pre-YouTube FanFest press conference, YouTube congratulated Bhuvam Bam, otherwise known as BB Ki Vines, as the fastest creator ever in India to hit the 2 million subscriber mark — he had attained the 1 million milestone just a few months prior. YouTube also awarded a Gold Play Button to celebrate the 1 million subscriber club.

Talking about YouTube’s plans to further grow the content creator ecosystem in India, David Powell, Director of Online Partnerships and Development, YouTube, APAC said, “With more people coming online especially in tier 2 cities, we’re seeing more hunger for YouTube content across all genres. In 2016, we saw over 500 creators across India get over 100k subscribers, meaning at least one channel is crossing this threshold every day. This meteoric rise of content creators across the country is at the heart of YouTube’s popularity in India, and we are significantly ramping up our efforts to make India one of the most vibrant and successful content creator communities in Asia. We will ramp up our efforts in creator community events across the country with a big focus on the south of India, and will continue to put the spotlight on creators as with our recent #SeeSomethingNew campaign.”

Reasons behind popularity

The secret of YouTube’s popularity lies in its flexibility that provides its users an opportunity to create their own alternate music videos, says a study. One of the reasons for its popularity is that the user’s own video and the alternative variations from popular artists’ videos may reach an audience of millions, says a new study from Finland’s Aalto University.

Music is the most popular YouTube content by several measures, including video views and search activity. People re-use original music by popular artists to create their own alternative video variations, which may reach an audience of millions and can be found alongside any popular music title. “These variations, that we call user-appropriated videos, are readily available and well promoted on YouTube. This is what makes YouTube an interesting music service,” said lead researcher Lassi A Liikkanen.

Lyrics and still videos, which only include music, rank highly in YouTube search results. A popular video, say a new Beyonce song, may share its audience collaterally with similar user-generated videos because they appear next to one another in the search results and suggested content, the study said. The researchers named this the halo effect. In this study, the researchers created a typology of YouTube music videos. “Our analysis found three primary music video types: traditional, user-appropriated, and derivative music videos,” said co-researcher Antti Salovaara.

What’s Driving the Growth?

Digital era thought corner

The online video streaming company, which already witnesses a major chunk of users emerging out of rural India, foresees around 50% of the users being driven from rural areas. Speaking to Ajay Vidyasagar, regional director, Asia Pacific, YouTube, said “Currently, we have a user base of 400 million in India.” He added, “We expect to more than double the user base in two-three years.” YouTube has seen a 400% year-on-year growth in mobile users’ alone. Currently, close to 85% of the total YouTube content is consumed through mobile.

Subscription on the mind

Going forward, YouTube may also look at a subscription-based revenue model, offering features such as ad-free content, videos playing in background and ‘save videos offline’ among others. Currently, YouTube Red is available in the U.S, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico. Content offered through the subscription model are advertisement-free and the user can even view it offline. YouTube has been rolling out new series with stars such as Ellen DeGeneres and Kevin Hart, and says that the service’s overall 1.5 billion viewers watch, on average, 60 minutes a day on their phones and tablets.

Also, YouTube has started working with production houses and producers to address the online video piracy in India. The company claims to have saved nearly $1 billion for Hollywood movies last year has now started working with Indian producers.

Advertisers gold

Many advertisers feel they cannot ignore the massive reach of YouTube. This year, the Big Two in Internet advertising – Google and Facebook – are expected to take half of all revenue worldwide, and more than 60% in the U.S., according to research firm eMarketer. In fact, in the U.S. market, no other digital ad platform has market share above 5%.

The online video-player market is expected to top $1.5 billion in sales by 2021, according to a report by Frost and Sullivan. YouTube, on an aggressive push, is said to be offering now publishers more control over their own ad inventory in order to win their business. The site is offering major publishers who choose its backend video player the ability to control ad sales both on their sites and on YouTube.

The way forward

YouTube is planning to double its user base in India from the current level of 400 million over a period of three years, by supporting local language content creators. YouTube already witnesses a major chunk of users emerging out of rural India, foresees around 50% of the users being driven from rural areas. The company has also said it might look at bringing into the country the subscription model which are there in the US and Korean markets, going forward.

Speaking to their plans Ajay Vidyasagar, Regional Director, Asia Pacific, YouTube said, “YouTube has seen a 400% year-on-year growth in mobile users’ alone. Currently, close to 85% of the total YouTube content is consumed through mobile. “India is one of the most exciting markets and global leadership is interested in India. The growth will be led by rural markets, which had been already growing more than the urban market,”

YouTube has also started working with production houses and producers to address the online video piracy in India. The company which claimed that it had saved nearly $1 billion for Hollywood movies last year has now started working with Indian producers also.

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