YoutubeYouTube has crossed 55 million unique users a month in India, reports Hindustan Times. Speaking to the publication, Rajan Anandan, Managing Director of Google India claimed that the platform has a library of 10,000 full-length Indian movies and 95% of India’s music catalogue in Hindi as well as regional languages with its web-only content growing at 300% year-on-year.

According to YouTube, the platform globally receives more than 1 billion unique users every month which essentially means that India presently contributes only 5.5% of the global unique users visiting YouTube. However, the percentage of unique users from India watching full-length films and music videos is not clear, but given how videos are showcased in search results, even if you’re not specifically searching for a video, number would be substantive.

Television content, films & original content on YouTube  

Owing to the cost involved in buying the rights of full-length films and its music, most of the film & music content on YouTube is distributed by large media houses like Rajshri, Shemaroo, among others.

Earlier this year, YouTube had also rolled out its movie rental service, wherein production houses like YashRaj Films publish only trailers on YouTube, with full-length feature films available via YouTube Rentals. At the time of YouTube Rentals’ launch, the number of Indian films on the platform was significantly low.

Since most of these films are either old or out of theatres, any revenue that is generated from YouTube is an additional income to content partners. While content partners get 55% of the ad revenue from videos on YouTube, the revenue share from YouTube Rentals is not clear. Further, using YouTube Content ID, these channels can also monetize from other YouTube videos that violate the copyright films in their portfolio: Remember T-Series law suit against YouTube & Google for copyright violation?

Apart from production houses, large television networks like Viacom18, Sony, Star Network, Zee Group, among others also monetize their television content from across all their channels on YouTube by using it as a platform for re-runs. Similar to production houses, revenue generated on YouTube is an additional source of income for these television networks since their main source of income continues to be television ad sales.

However, clearly YouTube does not want to position itself as a platform for re-runs. It seems that the company is looking at becoming the alternative to television. In that direction, YouTube had recently launched its first Comedy week in India in an attempt to provide segmented television like content on its platform. During the course of the week, YouTube had featured both original comedy shows and aggregated comedy content from television and films.

YouTube on Mobile

Interestingly, Anandan has also said that 38% of YouTube’s traffic in India comes from mobile phones, although, as far as we’ve seen, not all videos are available on the mobile. According to YouTube, mobile phones contribute to more than 25% of it’s global watch time. India’s contribution to the global watch time is not clear.

Although 38% is a large number, the percentage of the mobile traffic being monetized is also not clear. Taking into consideration the poor bandwidth in India, the screen size and  the reasonably lower attention span of viewers on mobile phones, monetizing through video ads may not be the best way to monetize their mobile traffic.

Also, are viewers watching full-length films on their mobile phones? We don’t know.

Note: MediaNama will be releasing a research report on YouTube in India shortly