India is YouTube’s biggest and fastest growing market, according to the company’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki.

“When I look at India, I see not only one of our largest markets and our highest impact brands, but I also see incredible potential over the next five years and beyond,” she said, speaking at Brandcast, the Google-owned company’s annual event.

YouTube’s monthly active users base in India is 265 million, she said.

When YouTube was launched in India, there were less than 15 million internet users in the country. Today, the availability of more affordable internet options has opened it up to hundreds of millions of users, said Wojcicki.

There are 40 million new users coming online every year. By 2020, it is expected that there will be 500 million internet users in India who will be consuming online video, she said. “YouTube is delivering millions of new channels to India and we are very pleased that there are more than 1,200 Indian channels that have crossed the million subscriber threshold. Just five years ago, there were only 15 channels in India that had this kind of reach,” she said.

Music platform launch

Close on the heels of Spotify’s foray into the Indian market, YouTube has launched its music streaming platform, YouTube Music, in India. It has surpassed three million downloads in less than a week of its launch, said Wojcicki.

Adam Smith, Vice-President, Product Management, YouTube Music, said that despite what he referred to as the US conventional wisdom, 60 per cent of the watch time in India happens outside the six metro areas.

The company is beginning to see a broader distribution of the time spent on YouTube, and is investing in regional languages.

YouTube Music has been launched with more than 10 languages, with the ability for users to express their language preference.

“India, with its roots in music and Bollywood, is a very visual market. And this is one another reason we are really excited about the Indian market. It is a place to continue to experiment with new features around the music app,” said Smith.

YouTube Music Premium is available at ₹99 and ₹149 per month for the individual and family pack, respectively.

The platform’s premium version offers benefits such as no advertisements, background listening and automatic downloading.

YouTube has also launched its paid service called YouTube Premium in India. It is available at ₹129 and ₹189 for the individual and family pack, respectively. YouTube Premium functions like an ad-free YouTube and YouTube Music, besides providing access to all YouTube Originals.

It also provides options to download videos and music offline and play them in the background or with the screen off.