Growth of vernacular content on YouTube has been phenomenal: YouTube India's Director of Content Partnerships

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on October 17, 2019 Published on October 17, 2019

Satya Raghavan, Director Content Partnerships, YouTube India. Photo: Debasish Bhaduri

Bengali content is growing more than 100 per cent year-on-year in watch time, says YouTube’s Director of Content Partnerships in India

YouTube India is exploring different revenue streams, as vernacular content creation and consumption take roots in the country.

Aided primarily by cheap data plans and an increased proliferation of smartphones, youth in India are turning to the Internet, giving rise to new income opportunities. There are about 460 million Internet users, and videos account for 75 per cent of the mobile traffic.

According to Satya Raghavan, Director Content Partnerships, YouTube India, the company is witnessing a “phenomenal growth” in content creation in the native languages. From 16 YouTube channels that had 10 lakh users in 2014, the number has grown to over 1,200 now. In fact, regional content accounts for 95 per cent of video consumption in India and there are about 23 crore regional language users.

Consumption growth in languages like Telugu, Tamil, Malaylam, Bengali and Hindi is the fastest, witnessing a 100 per cent year-on-year rise.

“Growth of vernacular content has been phenomenal. Watchtime on YouTube has (also) gone up,” Raghavan told BusinessLine.

New segments in content, like short comedy clips or news items, education-related videos, home and pet videos, are driving the growth for the Internet behemoth.

YouTube India is also into production of ‘YouTube Originals’. Recently, it made India-specific productions like ‘ARRived’, ‘Straight Up Punjab’ (Punjabi music concert) and ‘Off The Page’.

With regional channels across the platform garnering similar numbers, YouTube India plans to bring on-board more content creators, ensuring a steady revenue stream for them.

Revenue models

While advertiser revenues continue to be one of the sources, the company recently introduced subscription plans through YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium — which are ad-free streaming service — in India. It already has movie rental and purchase plans available on its platform. What has been added is the option of a “Super Chat” that lets content creators interact with fans.

Globally, YouTube also has a merchandise shelf that allows creators to showcase their branded offering. This is yet to be introduced here.

“We are constantly innovating,” said Raghavan, when asked about the revenue streams.

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Published on October 17, 2019
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