Despite abysmal Internet speeds in India, 2014 saw more companies foraying into the online video sector and web-exclusive videos receiving mainstream adoption. As pointed out by Google, two of the top five non-music videos watched on YouTube India during the year were web-exclusive videos released by independent video creators like AIB and TheViralFever. A look at some of the top developments we’ve noticed in the sector in 2014: The advent of YouTube MCNs Disney owned Maker Studios, possibly one of the largest YouTube multi-channel networks (MCNs) worldwide, entered India by signing up Indian YouTube channels like All India Bakchod, East India Comedy and Kanan Gill among others, while another large YouTube MCN FullScreen partnered Qyuki to expand into India. Interestingly, Qyuki itself had pivoted to become a YouTube MCN in March this year, a much needed change from its previous Tumblr-inspired avatar. The team that ran the now-defunct iStream, also launched Pepper Media in June while Culture Machine, an MCN setup by former Disney-UTV exec Sameer Pitalwalla and former YouTube exec Venkat Prasad raised investment from Zodius Capital. YouTube MCN Rightster signed a deal to manage Lehren's YouTube channels while the TO THE NEW Ventures-backed YouTube MCN #fame signed a deal with celebrity management firm CAA Kwan to launch celebrity YouTube channels. Culture Machine vs Shraddha Sharma: Also noteworthy this year was the legal battle between Culture Machine and YouTube India star Shraddha Sharma over an alleged breach of contract. This was a particularly interesting case since it brought to light the relationship between YouTube MCNs and YouTube stars over ownership of…
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