At the time when video streaming players like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar continue to struggle and add customers for their paid subscription services, Google-owned YouTube had been leveraging its old-yet-strong ‘free’ presence in India.
However, not the one to be left behind in the Trending section, YouTube is ready for the next generation of its growth in India as the video streaming platform is bringing its YouTube Originals to India starting with music maestro A R Rahman’s show— ‘ARRived’.
Even though the company will start India Originals with its ad-supported platform, soon it will launch an ad-free subscription service — YouTube Premium.
YouTube India entertainment head Satya Raghavan told TOI that the company is looking at multiple formats for original content in the country at a time when it is attracting 245 Mn unique users each month.
Globally, YouTube is planning 50 originals in 2019, while it has already released over 60 projects till now.
Raghavan said, “We feel this is the right time to bring Originals to India. It will boost the overall online video ad spends and drive more advertisers to connect with consumers through these shows. For instance, 60% of our watch time comes from outside of the six largest metro areas.”
Even though there is no timeline set for YouTube Premium, the company says it is part of the roadmap for India.
According to the reports, the company claims to grow its daily active viewer base at 100% year-on-year.
While YouTube has thrived on original content created by users, under ‘Originals’ it will feature content from some of its most successful creators/ partners.
“YouTube funds and commissions these shows based on insights from user data, but the IP remains with the creator,” Raghavan explained.
The company believes that this will also help boost its business from online video ad-spends.
“With our growing reach and highly engaged audience, brands have an incredible opportunity to engage with the audience. Our goal is to further boost the ecosystem and supercharge the growth,” Raghavan said.
The company said it has already run two sponsored shows as pilots, working closely with advertisers to test the market and it claims to have received a phenomenal response.
Original And Premium Service: Key To Indian Video Streaming Market?
India is estimated to emerge in the top 10 lists in the global OTT market by 2022 with revenue of with over $803Mn (INR 5,500 Cr), according to the latest report by PwC, an audit and consultancy firm.
There are nearly 30 OTT companies running OTT service in India.
In the video streaming industry, the global video streaming player Netflix, having only 5 Mn subscribers in India, is also pushing in for producing localised content.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently revealed that Netflix sees a potential of adding 100 Mn customers in India. In terms of its viewership in India, Reed agreed to the fact that Netflix lags behind the likes of Google-owned free content provider YouTube, especially Star India-owned Hotstar, which charges only for premium contents. It also competes with Amazon’s Prime Video.
Amazon Prime Video allows users exclusive access to movies, Amazon’s original series as well as premium content from across the globe.
According to a global information company IHS Markit, Amazon Prime in its short run of one year has captured around 10% of the Indian market.
Video on demand is a growing segment with many players like Voot, Hooq, Hotstar, Ogle, Big Flix, Eros Now, Ditto TV, Muvi, and Spuul, AltBalaji in the space.
Here are some insights in the video streaming industry in India:
- By 2019, the video segment is expected to grow to 74% of all Internet traffic in India.
- Digital media product consumption in this segment is currently pegged at $1.2 Bn and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 33.5% to reach $3.9 Bn by 2020 in India
- In India, about 250 Mn people viewed videos online during 2017, a figure that is expected to double to 500 Mn by 2020, according to FICCI – EY report 2018
- Around 40% of total mobile traffic in India came from the consumption of video services in 2015 and is expected to touch 72% by 2020.
- OTT subscription in India is expected to touch $279 Mn (INR 20 Bn) by 2020
With YouTube being the first major video streaming service in India and growing rapidly with its content and penetrations beyond Tier -II and Tier-III cities in India, the company’s bets on paid subscription service for value and price-conscious Indians would be an interesting watch.
While others like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar have struggled and evolved while trying to get users to pay for video streaming services in India, how and what happens to the most-watched platform — YouTube remains to keep us excited for the next gen of YouTube in India.
[The development was reported by PTI.]