Indian digital content creators relatively unaffected following YouTube fiasco: Experts

The fallout of YouTube with advertisers has been especially problematic for content creators. However, the effect in India seems to have been muted, feel experts

e4m by Abhinn Shreshtha
Updated: Apr 12, 2017 8:10 AM
Indian digital content creators relatively unaffected following YouTube fiasco: Experts

The fallout of YouTube with advertisers has been especially problematic for content creators. According to reports, many of YouTube’s most popular content creators have taken a hit when it comes to revenues.

For example, YouTube star and the highest paid celebrity on YouTube last year, PewDiePie, on Monday posted a video lambasting the new YouTube ad policies and claiming that more than a third of his videos have been demonetised. He is now launching a new weekly show on rival gaming video platform, Twitch.

Just this week, YouTube announced that it would not place ads on channels that have less than 10,000 views, as part of its continuing crusade against the type of content that put in this spot in the first place.

However, Indian content creators still seem to have been more or less insulated from the new measures.  The reasons for this could be due to the type of content usually created in India as well as the fact that programmatic advertising is still not as mainstream here as it is in other countries.

According to Hitesh Chawla, Founder and CEO of SilverPush, “We have certainly witnessed the ripple effects of the global developments which have recently come to the forefront. This is especially prominent in the case of the FMCG and F&B segment in India. At the same time, there has been a rise of other OTT apps and video platforms that are fuelling in our market, each of them eyeing a share of the video advertising pie.”

When asked whether Indian content creators are getting affected, he said, “Content creators are certainly facing the heat but not in India. The impact is lot higher in global market. There are specific reasons behind this trend. Firstly, the curation of content by creators in India is not limited to YouTube. YouTube monetisation is smaller, as compared to global average standards. Unlike global markets, Indian content creators need a larger percentage of initial investment and resources in order to gain similar kind of traction that ad revenues tend to produce. More importantly, the recent announcement of new ad formats launched by Facebook on mid-roll unit being tested around video inventory is will foster creativity, innovation and compelling content coming out by creators hosted on Facebook.”

Subrat Kar, Co-founder at Vidooly, also said that according to their research, the damage has not been as intense in India. “If you look at the names of the big brands that have pulled out their ads from YouTube, you can see that almost half of them do not focus on the Indian market. Brands such as Wal-Mart Stores, Starbucks, AT&T, Verizon focus mainly on the American and the British market for their ads,” he said.

He admitted that there has been a slight dip in the revenue of some of the top Indian creators but said that it would be wrong to ascribe this solely to the advertising boycott.

“This dip is in fact seasonal since this is the beginning of a new financial year and the CPM rates do get affected during this time of the year as brands are busy chalking out their media buying plans for the season ahead. I believe that the controversy will probably die out in a few months if not weeks as Google has already started taking measures by revising its ads policies,” he explained.

Amit Doshi, Founder of Indus Vox Media, opined that all stakeholders were now going to figure out how placement (of ads) should occur in the future. He noted that the crux of the issue was programmatic or algorithmic advertising and not customised brand stories. Here it should be remembered that branded content forms a much higher proportion of revenues for most India content creators.

“Oversight is always important. I think what is happened is the tools for placing large ad spends at a granular level have outpaced the processes required to monitor what is happening to the various spends. This is a challenge and will require agencies to retool their placement and measurement processes but the tools to do this mostly exist,” he said.

Ashwin Suresh, Co-Founder of Pocket Aces, also said that they have not seen any drop in CPM across their network.

“I understand the position advertisers are in, and agree that there needs to be oversight on ad spends. However, that is a hard problem to solve at scale so I expect it to be a while before YouTube is able to address it in an effective manner. YouTube does, however, make it easy for advertisers to bid on premium channels which are genre-specific or have a long history of brand-friendly content; I believe that advertisers should leverage that ability to place their creatives on premium, trustworthy channels until YouTube figures out a longer term solution. Similar to the arguments being made by television channels in the days after these incidents, this also highlights an increasing need for brands to shift their spends towards native advertising campaigns or content sponsorship campaigns where the content quality and brand-fit are assured and engagement is always much higher,” he further said.

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