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YouTube, now in an Indian flavour

By , agencyfaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | May 08, 2008
YouTube has launched an Indian site and has tied up with media companies, including NDTV and Rajshri Media, for content

YouTube, the & #BANNER1 & # video sharing site that brought online video to the masses, now has its own Indian site. Google has launched www.youtube.co.in, where the focus will be on videos from India and for India. Making the announcement, Shailesh Rao, managing director of Google India, said, "YouTube India is a platform for Indians to communicate and share ideas through the powerful medium of video."

The YouTube India site will showcase videos uploaded by Indian users or those that are of relevance to them. India is the 20th country to have a separate YouTube site. The local version of the site will show Indian content in its featured and promoted videos. The search on the site is also customised for India.

Sakina Arsiwala, international manager, YouTube, says that India is an important market for the site as there is a strong interest in Indian content worldwide. Also, digital cameras and mobile phones with video are becoming affordable.

The YouTube India site
Citing comScore's figures, Arsiwala added that Indian users on YouTube.com have grown at 2,00,000 per month over the last year, and currently, the site has about 50 lakh unique users from India.

YouTube India already has a few partners on board, who have created their channels on the site. The list of partners includes the ministry of tourism, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), NDTV, Rajshri Media, Zoom, UTVi and Music Today.

Rajat Barjatya, managing director, Rajshri Media, speaking on his company's involvement with YouTube, says, "It all began as an experiment, but now we are using YouTube to promote and market our content and to engage with our audience."

Rao & Arsiwala at the launch
Barjatya also spoke about an upcoming series called Akar Birbal Remixed. The series will be launched as three-minute episodes simultaneously on Rajshri.com and YouTube India.

The ministry of tourism has created an Incredible India channel on YouTube. Leena Nanda, joint secretary at the ministry, says the site received 6,00,000 views in the first three months. "We have been using the power of this medium to the maximum and we will continue using it," she says.

Vikram Chandra, chief executive officer, NDTV Networks, said the Internet is the next big frontier. "The biggest opportunity in the next four-five years is to take our content to the Internet and the mobile." Chandra also pointed out that digital media is the reason behind the rise in citizen journalism.

YouTube India has also partnered with the IITs to make instructional video content available on the Net. Meant for engineering students, there are currently 1,600 hours of video content available on the IIT channel on the site.

Artistes such as magician Suhani Shah and music band Da-Saz have also created their pages on the site.

YouTube India has revenue sharing arrangements with its partners, but the terms have not been disclosed. Rao said the model would be similar to that of AdSense, its search advertising programme.

The company is also working out other revenue generating options, including in-video ads and banners. It has conducted a trial for revenue sharing with regular users, which may be tried in India.