From being a US based website, YouTube is a global platform today: Gautam Anand, Youtube

Written by Anushree Bhattacharyya | Updated: Sep 16 2014, 21:28pm hrs
Gautam AnandAnand and his team is busy identifying local talents who can make it big in India.
Gautam Anand, director, content and operations, YouTube Asia Pacific, Google is not a novice when it comes to creating online content and making it popular among viewers. After spending several years in Google managing the tricky business of content, he knows that unlike the old days when online videos were mainly about re-runs of episodes of popular television shows, today consumers want to watch original content online as well. Hence, as the man managing the operations of Googles online video platform YouTube in Asia Pacific, Anand and his team is busy identifying local talents who can make it big in India. In a

conversation with FE BrandWagons Anushree Bhattacharyya, Anand speaks on how online videos are becoming increasingly popular. Edited excerpts:

How has the journey been so far for YouTube

We have seen phenomenal growth of online videos online in the last few years. When Google had acquired YouTube it was primarily a US site. After the acquisition, one of the first things that we worked upon was to identify key international markets where we would launch YouTube. Back then, viewership was the main parameter used to identity these markets. Today, 80% of YouTube viewers are from markets outside the US while 60% of videos are uploaded from non-US markets. We already have over a billion users every month and upload over 100 hours of content every minute. We have localised the content. It has already been made available in local languages in about 70 markets. From being just a US based website, today YouTube is truly a global platform.

How does the Indian market compare

As per Comscore, YouTube in India currently has 60 million users. Nonetheless, there is a huge scope for growth given that in a country with a population of 1.2 billion people only 13% are online. What I am really excited about is that we have found original content creators such as podcast group All India Bakchod, aka AIB, in addition to discovering some of the top chefs online including home-makers such as 40-year-old Gayatri Sharma from Mumbai, apart from Sanjay Thumma, whose YouTube recipe channel, VahChef, has garnered over 185 million views.

Between repeat content mainly borrowed from television and original content, which one is more in demand

While we are just beginning to build a native ecosystem for original content creators across most of Asia, in case of international markets such the US and the UK there is a lot of demand for original content. For instance, Bethany Mota became popular in the US and in the UK for her haul videos (videos posted on the internet, which displays an item recently purchased, including product details or even the price) in which she talks about her fashion purchases on the internet. The videos cover outfit ideas to make-up and hair tutorials, recipes, etc. Ever since her successful stint on YouTube, she has launched her own fashion line at Aropostale, an American retailer of casual apparel and accessories. Then there is beauty and make-up instructor Michelle Phan. Finally, our top channel is a gaming channel by Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie. In June this year, the channel generated 351 million views. The viewership of these channels is as high as some of the popular shows on TV so there is clearly a desire for such content.

How do you plan to create more original content in India

India is one of the largest content producing countries. Indian television content on YouTube gets 50% of its viewership from international markets. Local original content on the other hand draws a lot of eyeballs, which proves that there is a lot of scope for growth. Indian reality shows on TV have proven that there is no dearth of talent in the country but only a handful of people make it to such shows after clearing many levels of auditions. YouTube offers a platform to these people to showcase their talent; so the aim is to find more content creators in categories such as comedy, cooking, gaming, etc., and then make a bigger effort in creating better content. With this, we will also be able to inspire the next generation of content creators.

Where does the mobile phone fit in the new scheme of things

I think mobile is increasingly becoming an important part of the platform. For example, YouTube generates 40% its viewership globally through mobile. Within Asia, in countries such as Japan and South Korea, 60% of YouTubes viewership comes from mobile. Currently in India, mobile contributes 33-35% of the overall viewership. First-time users of YouTube in emerging markets such as India will be mobile first users. So for a company like us it is important to ensure that products are designed keeping in mind the needs of mobile users in addition to creating a superlative experience for them.

What about monetisation of videos on YouTube

We are primarily an advertising supported platform. In Google we have build an amazing business focussed on advertising. We are able to tap into a big base of advertisers who are advertising on Google or want to, because YouTube is connected to the Google Adwords system. We rely on Googles sales team which has more than 12,000 people across the globe who are now also managing ad sales for YouTube. There has been an evolution from performance based marketing to brands now seriously looking at online videos for using it to build the brand. So what started as 10-15 seconds of ads is now moving to longer story formats like a one-minute ad. Recent examples are the Fortune ad by Ogilvy and the Durex commercial featuring Ranvir Singh.

Which are the categories that have potential for growth

Kids content is a big category for us. I think HooplaKidz is one of the biggest kids network on YouTube today. Next in line is music. Then, beauty and fashion is another category, apart from food, gaming and comedy. The fact that these are universal in nature is the reason why they tend to do better.