Social Media

‘YouTube is very focussed on creators’

Debangana Ghosh Mumbai | Updated on October 09, 2021

Satya Raghavan, Director, YouTube Content Partnerships, India shares his insights

At a time when the pandemic has driven viewership of OTT and streaming platforms, over 140 YouTube channels have crossed over 10 million subscribers in June this year. More than 4,000 channels have over one million subscribers, marking a 50 per cent y-o-y increase, while in India, the number of channels making ₹1,00,000 or more in revenue have increased by over 60 per cent year-on-year.

In an interview with BusinessLine, Satya Raghavan, Director, YouTube Content Partnerships, India shares his insights on the gameplan for original content and why advertisers are turning into content creators on YouTube.

The pandemic has been a good opportunity for most streaming and video platforms with YouTube being at the forefront of this evolution. How has the business evolved over the past two years?

When we started in India, entertainment was our core focus. Then in 2013-14, YouTube-first content started to come in. Comedy creators like AIB had started, and YouTube became helpful in building personal brands and businesses. Three reasons why users come to YouTube is to find their 15 seconds of fame, build a business and find their purpose. But most recently, around 85 per cent of users are coming to YouTube to learn something quickly, especially related to competitive exams, to better their lives.

During the pandemic, YouTube was empowering people with learnings. We saw people come to the platform for making connections and inclusivity. All of the content is present in different languages and created by people from different walks of life. We are very creator-first in the way we build our business, which has given rise to the creator economy. We are constantly working with the creators, trying to understand their needs and build various revenue streams on top of their content.

What is your long-term original content strategy?

The Creator Spotlight series we have released recently, tells you how we are creator-first. Our strategy is to look at very selective opportunities to that extent. We are very focussed on our creators and tell our stories around them, or try to put them in a different light through our content. Even internationally you’ll see us doing a lot of original content series with global popstars. It is a very creator and artist focussed platform.

What’s the plan for YouTube Shorts?

We always had short format videos on Youtube before creators moved to longer formats, after data became cheaper in India. With shorts, we are able to tap a different kind of creator who is coming from a smaller town, different background, probably didn’t have sophisticated equipment like cameras, screen, recorder, editing suites etc. They are doing everything on their phones. This is in line with our mission.

YouTube had recently acquired video commerce platform Simsim, and it was looking to launch an e-commerce feature for Shorts. How do you see the e-commerce aspect play out for YouTube?

There’s a lot of commerce happening over YouTube. Creators are retailing their merchandise on their channel actively. That’s another revenue stream for them to expand their business. The whole idea of acquiring Simsim is to see what more we can do in the e-commerce space. We will come back with more updates at the right time.

IPL will be soon be looking for content partnerships for 2022. Social media players and OTTs have shown strong interest. Is there any scope for YouTube venturing into the same for live sporting as well as other exclusive content?

Worldwide, our strategy has been to be the home for highlights, whether it is football, baseball or cricket. We also work with a lot of boards and as soon as the match is over they put up 10-min highlight clips on YouTube. In India though we don’t have any such partnership plans at the moment.

Is there any game plan that YouTube will be looking at to monetise live events as a host platform?

We work closely with our advertisers. For us, they are also our close partners. Even they have realised the power of content apart from just advertising, and that’s what Netflix has been a great example of. It has done special additional episodes of certain shows on YouTube. Live events is another great way for creators and partners like Netflix to engage with the audience. YouTubers have a schedule on which they work and they stick to it.

On live streams, we have created several revenue models, such as fan conversations and praises that could be put right on top if the fan pays a few rupees. We have added super stickers and other features.

Published on October 05, 2021

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu Business Line editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.

You May Also Like