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YouTube looks to double user base in India, take it to 400 mn from 200 mn

Says may look at subscription service in India, working with producers to build exclusive content

T E Narasimhan  |  Chennai 

YouTube | Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

YouTube, the video platform of Google, said on Tuesday it expects its user base in India to double to over 400 million as more consumers, particularly in smaller towns and rural areas, get access to affordable internet that would help them access videos on their mobile phones.

India has a base of more than 930 million mobile subscribers, of which over 300 million use smartphones that allows them to access internet on the go. For YouTube, 85 per cent of the content streamed on its video channels is consumed on mobile phones, which has seen a fourfold increase over the past year.

"India is one of the most exciting markets and the global leadership is interested in India," said Ajay Vidyasagar, regional director-Asia Pacific. "The growth will be led by rural markets, which have been growing more than urban market."

Reliance Jio, which launched last year, has seen its user base at nearly 110 million. Its push to target low-income users with a feature phone that allows users to access video content is expected to increase video consumption in the country.

For the online video platform, India is the one of the fastest-growing markets globally and already in the top 10. The company which started with English content, went to Hindi and now it sees good traction from regional languages.

For example, Rajinikanth's Kabali teaser had around 34 million views, which was more than the trailer for the new Star Wars movie. on Tuesday recognised Chennai-based YouTube-focused kids channel ChuChuTv with its diamond play button, for surpassing 10 million subscribers with only 154 videos.

YouTube, which has been relying on advertising revenue till now in India, may look at subscription-based revenue going forward. Now, only the US and Korea are the two markets, which have subscription-based revenue.

"As the market evolves, we may look at this model in India," Vidyasagar said.

Content offered through the subscription model are advertisement-free and the user can even view it offline.

has also started working with production houses Red Chillies, and UTV, besides the producers of Bahubali, to ensure video content that they produced is not illegally uploaded on the platform.  

The company, which claimed that it has saved nearly $1 billion for Hollywood movies last year, is now working with Indian producers to curb privacy.

First Published: Wed, August 02 2017. 00:33 IST