According to Cisco, India’s internet users will rise from 373 million in 2016 to 829 million in 2021 as a result of digital transformation. India's digital minister Ravi Shankar Prasad earlier said that the Indian government estimates the digital economy to surpass $1.115tn by 2024-25.
As a result,improved access to internet has empowered digital media sites like Facebook and YouTube. YouTube has become one of the fastest growing platforms in India. The Drum spoke with Satya Raghavan, head of entertainment, YouTube India to find about its marketing strategy to engage consumers.
He said, “YouTube reaches 180 million monthly unique users on mobile alone with massive room for growth. We have been focused on a number of things to turbo charge this growth in India. On the product side, we have implemented a number of new features to help new and first time users to consume their favorite content without having to worry about data cost or poor video streaming experience - we first launched YouTube offline in India which is now rolled out to over 77 countries world over.
We have also introduced a brand new app (under beta) called YouTube Go -for new users who’re coming online in India for the first time - the app has a number of features which help users to stream content even on a poor/patchy 2G networks, they can share content offline and many more."
A report published by Google and KPMG titled ‘Indian languages – Defining India’s Internet’ stated that brands will need more localised content to advertise in India. YouTube has integrated this into their strategy. It initially started off in English but has now incorporated Hindi and other regional languages.
YouTube now aims to double its users according to Raghavan. He said: “Language and video content are emerging as a staple diet for the first time internet users in India - India today has well over 200 million Indian language users online and every new user coming online now is not a English language users - they consume a lot of language content and consumption across languages is exploding on YouTube. We will continue to double down on our efforts in growing the language creator ecosystem and focus on ensuring that we continue to provide best video viewing experience to these users.’
From a handful of creators in 2014 - India today has well over 50 creators across segments like tech, food, beauty, comedy, music, education and kids who’ve over million of subscribers.
YouTube has also been working with lot of social media influencers and has provided them with a platform to connect with their consumers. It has launched platforms like YouTube Space and campaigns like #seesomethingnew and NextUp. Raghavan said: “On the content side, India has seen a content creator revolution - the success of our content creators has attracted a whole new generations of creators in India and everyday we’re finding new creators emerge and find success with the audience online.
Facebook and Twitter venturing aggressively into live broadcasts has intensified competition for YouTube. As to how they are tackling it, Raghavan said: “We’ve supported live since the beginning in 2011. Last year, we did something no other company has done with the launch of 360-degree and 4k live streaming. We also introduced mobile live streaming to creators and are excited to see what they do with it. In India, we were the first to host IPL live on YouTube and almost all major broadcast channels and key events are live streamed on YouTube.”
“Because we've been doing live for a while, we know that live is not one size fits all. What drives long term engagement on live is mostly gaming, creators with an established audience, and big events. We are excited to support all use cases: from large events to mobile live streams, allowing creators to choose the best product for their needs.
YouTube was the first brand to market comedians in India. However, the arrival of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video has changed the game. As to how YouTube is stepping up to the challenge, Raghavan said: “We’re a creator community driven platform which is genre agnostic and we’re seeing the creator ecosystem bloom across genres in India. Majority of our efforts in India are focused on fueling the creator community growth and their success. Creators continue to work across platforms and that is true for any entertainers across the world.
He further added:"In terms of competition - none of this is new for us, we compete with established platforms everywhere in the world and we’re continuing to see very robust growth world wide with 1.5 billion logged in users globally. We think this is a great time to be a creator in India today - and we hope more players in the space will further fuel the creator community in India - across the board and not just comedy.”
YouTube has stepped up its game where brand collaborations are concerned. “YouTube today is core part of the media mix for all brand advertisers,” adds Raghavan. He said: “We follow ad supported model in India, which means working with brands is core part of YouTube in India. The increase in YouTube’s viewership and great content has excited a lot of brands to work closely with us and the creator community.
Today, we’re working with brands across all verticals and helping them break new creative boundaries working directly with us or helping them to partner with creators for branded/sponsored content. From movie and TV show promotions, to working with leading brands in auto, travel, tech and telecom."
YouTube recently revealed its new logo and tweaked mobile and desktop experiences.