‘India generating meaningful views for YouTube Shorts’

Number of channels earning ₹1 lakh rose 60%: Raghavan

YouTube Shorts, which was introduced a year ago to compete with Instagram Reels and TikTok, is generating 15 billion views globally on a daily basis with a ‘meaningful part’ coming from India, said Satya Raghavan, director, YouTube Content Partnerships, India.

Shorts, which are still in the beta phase, was first unveiled in India last year, and was subsequently rolled out in other markets.

“We have actually seen a new breed of creators who have come onto the platform right with the launch of Shorts,” Mr. Raghavan told The Hindu. “And, in that process, a whole lot of existing creators have adapted as well. Shorts allows you to create a video on the fly. It has made creation very easy for a whole lot of people.”

In a first step to build a monetisation model for ‘Shorts,’ where the company does not run advertisements yet, YouTube had recently announced a $100 million fund distributed over 2021-2022, from which eligible creators can claim payments.

Mr. Raghavan said that while it is a bit early to talk about how the Shorts fund has been utilised, for YouTube, the number of channels in India making ₹1 lakh and above in revenue has grown by more than 60% year-on-year, as of June.

He added that in India, there were more than 4,000 channels on YouTube with over a million subscribers as of June, a 50% YoY increase. Further, about 140 channels have over 10 million subscribers.

“In terms of how much Indian creators earn versus international creators…those are larger ad and subscription markets. So, we’re able to see international creators scale a lot more in some of the richer countries like the U.S., but India is turning out to be more vibrant in terms of the number of revenue streams that the creators are able to tap into,” he added.

For Shorts, Mr. Raghavan said music was a big driver, with comedy, learning (from crafts to science to DIY), and motivational content emerging as popular consumption segments.

“All of that actually shows you the kind of velocity and momentum that our ecosystem has. The way we are seeing it is that the sky is literally the limit at this point of time for creators,” he said.

Replying to a query of competition from other platforms offering similar short videos features, Mr. Raghavan said, “each platform brings a specific strength to the fore and it is for the creator to realise that and then hone their presence across platforms. What we realised over time is that because of the unique business model that YouTube has, it is that one place where multiple revenue streams exist at the same time. This turns out to be a huge differentiator for YouTube, whether it is Shorts or the traditional video format.”

On particular trends that the company saw during the pandemic, he added that India as a country seemed to be on an endeavour of sorts to become more financially literate. “We certainly saw a lot of people in smaller cities tap on to demat platforms…(and) in turn ended up creating a new breed of YouTube creators on the platform who are focused on financial literacy.”

He pointed out that creators like Nitin Bhatia, utilise channel memberships to share exclusive educational videos on stocks, real estate and personal finance with his members, and has seen almost a sixfold rise in YouTube revenue within 18 months.

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