Gautam Anand, Director - Content Partnership, JAPAC, Google, is quite content with YouTube’s growth, and why not. Four years after Google acquired it, the video sharing platform is all set to touch breakeven this year for its investment of $1.6 billion. Anand shares with exchange4media YouTube’s engaging concepts, its growth and success.
He said, “We are definitely happy with the progress we have made. For one and half years after Google acquired YouTube, we concentrated on building traffic. It’s clear that was the right strategy, considering how big and diverse the site and audience is now – with over one billion views globally and 24 hours of video uploaded every minute.”
YouTube today has more than 10,000 partners in its kitty and counting. “We’re excited about the progress that we have made and we are always looking for ways to improve the online video experience of our users. We have over 10,000 partners worldwide and we continue to build partnerships in India. We already have several reputed content partners, including Yash Raj Films, UTV MP, Eros Entertainment, Rajshree, Zee, Sony Entertainment, Star News and Zoom. We will continue to add to our growing list of partners and offer users more locally-relevant content,” Anand added.
Betting big on Bolly wood
The showcase of the movie ‘Striker’ was well received. On being asked whether there would be more such YouTube-Bollywood collaborations, Anand replied, “Bollywood is one of the big focus areas for us. The recent premier of the movie ‘Striker’ on YouTube was the first time a mainstream Bollywood movie was released on YouTube on the same day of its theatre release. The movie has already seen close to a million views outside of India and is an early model for how Bollywood studios can distribute their content abroad. We also recently concluded the streaming of IPL matches on YouTube, which got over 54 million channel views worldwide.”
Has YouTube’s new design clicked? “We recently rolled out a new version of the YouTube watch page that streamlines and simplifies the page and puts the focus back on the most important thing about YouTube: video. We wanted to make sure the video was still the ‘star’ of the YouTube watch page, and we also wanted to make it easier for users to discover the next video they want to watch. Early response to the redesign from the community has been good, and we are continuing to tweak the page based on user feedback,” he added.
On strengthening the business model around video views and the partners, Anand elaborated, “In the past year, monetisation has received more of our attention and resources. We are currently monetising over a billion video views worldwide every week, more than the total views of any other video site. We have made great strides in expanding the amount of inventory available on the site – from new premium content partnerships, to the expansion of the YouTube Partner Program to thousands of users, to the hundreds of partners using our Content ID tools to monetise user-uploaded content – and we continue to improve our ad formats to help partners generate more and more revenue from their videos.”
Commenting on the kind of ad format, he elaborated, “Our approach has been to experiment with many different formats to find the right ad for the right video experience. As users enter the site, we have grown advertiser opportunities on our home page to seven formats and increased availability internationally. As users discover what to watch, we have built out a Promoted Videos product that is (analogously) for YouTube search results what Adwords is for Google search results. Then, as users watch video, we have grown our video sponsorship products, which allow advertisers to wrap themselves around the exciting partner videos available on the site. Finally, as users engage further in the community, we offer advertisers the ability to run engagement programmes, which most classically have looked like contests, and recently have expanded to include a wide variety of creative executions on advertiser brand channels.”
But how has Google managed to make the model work? To this, Anand explained the concept built around user satisfaction and said, “Right from the beginning, we focused on our users and that’s true still today. In everything we do, we start with the user, so it is important that we ensure the best possible user experience. The community has defined what works in this space, and we continue to innovate based on their feedback. It’s become clear to marketers that the most successful ad campaigns on the site take the time to truly engage our community, and to date, such advertising has contributed positively to the user experience on the site.”
“The entire YouTube platform is about engagement. Our users celebrate what they consider to be good advertisements and promotions and feel obligated to voice their views about those they do not like. They share and comment on ads, and respond by submitting their own content, participating in contests, and engaging in creative dialogue with others who share their interests. It is this active engagement that many advertisers seek in order to communicate and reach new consumers,” Anand concluded.
It was in 2006 that Google had taken over YouTube, which was created by Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small.