With a growing population of more than 100 million Internet users, India is one of the most lucrative Internet markets in the world. The “Bollywood and Cricket Crazy” country that India is makes it easier to connect with such a large base of people.
This is what Google’s video sharing website, YouTube, is working on. Having realized the importance, the network is banking high on Bollywood and Cricket in India.
Launched in the year 2008, YouTube has a huge potential to drive the Bollywood and Cricket related content in India. Before I talk about each of these verticals, let me highight some stats and facts about YouTube in India:
- The video site currently has 17.3 unique visitors in India
- It ranks 5th in India in the most visited websites list
- It records more than 684 million views per month
- 77% of the users are less than 25 years old
- With more than 700 million mobile users in India, YouTube should look at capturing India mobile users if it really wish to reach out to the masses
The above data show YouTube’s potential in India. With an interesting new strategy in India, YouTube is set to capture a large user base and increase viewership.
YouTube currently has around 400 titles in its library and has partnered with major Indian studios such as UTV Motion Pictures, Eros International, Yashraj Films and Rajshri for content sharing.
A latest example of how big Bollywood is on YouTube was was highlighted when “Dabangg”, a Bollywood film, attracted more than 1 million hits in less than a week when it was screened for free on YouTube last month.
Gautam Anand, Director, Content Partnerships, Asia Pacific for Google said, ”Up until last year, we had partners providing us short-form content, to promote their content. But in the last one year, the platform has evolved and we have a lot more long-form content coming in.”
Last year, a small budget film called “Striker” was released on Youtube, a day after it was released in theaters. This was available for paid viewing to larger audience outside India, thus increasing reach for the film.
“For most Bollywood producers, distribution in non-traditional markets is a problem and then the only choice left for people in those markets is piracy. At least this way we are legitimizing views and monetizing it,” Anand said in an interview.
Cricket is a major hook amongst the Indian male audience. Last year, YouTube streamed IPL, the top Cricket league in the world. It went live in more than 250 countries and had garnered 55 million views during the league period. 4 million views out of the 55 million were from the league’s final match. Also standing as the most subscribed YouTube Channel in India, there is no doubt how popular Cricket is in India.
Currently, YouTube is concentrating on the ongoing Cricket Word Cup with highlights and short clips from the games provided by broadcaster ESPN Star.
Commenting on the future plans for YouTube, Anand said that, ”You would see us grow a lot more in the sports areas. For you to do a lot of sports, you need a robust live platform and that’s something we’ll hopefully get to soon,”
YouTube seems set to capitalize on the two big trends in India. It will be interesting to see how it would position itself in the coming future.