While announcing the YouTube Fan Fest yesterday, the company said that the company saw 14 creators hitting the 1 million subscribers mark in the past one year, across Entertainment, Music, Tech and Food: channels like BB Ki Vines (crossing both the 1m and 2m mark in 2016), Shirley Setia, Being Indian, Kabita’s Kitchen, VidyaVox, Technical Guruji, Nisha Madhulika, SANAM, Sandeep Maheshwari, Sanjeev Kapoor and InfoBells Telugu. BB Ki Vines is the fastest creator in India to ever hit the 2 million subscriber mark.
In 2016, the company saw over 500 creators across India get over 100k subscribers, “meaning at least one channel is crossing this threshold every day.”
The company said that India now has over 300 million smartphone users, which has led to a massive growth in online video viewership: “with over 180 million users per month in India on mobile alone, according to App Annie.” Around 80% of YouTube’s total watch time in India is mobile, and has grown at over 400% year on year. Earlier this year, YouTube announced that its over 1 billion users worldwide are now watching 1 billion hours of video daily.
Another big factor driving YouTube’s success in India is the rise of independent online creators. 2016 saw the fastest growth of creators’ subscriber base, with now over ten creators across the country boasting more than 1 million subscribers. YouTube has been consistently investing in boosting creators’ success, with initiatives such as the NextUp development program as well as holding more than 50 events and workshops across India.
Why original content creators matter to YouTube
For a long time, YouTube was the only game in town in India. It was the only means to monetize video content effectively because of the robust advertising ecosystem it built around YouTube, and the fact that it the volume of content, and the community, meant that it had enough of an audience base to attract advertisers. Some professional (read: TV, movies) content creators now switching to the subscription model and taking their content off YouTube: for example, in the last earnings call, Zee Entertainment pointed out that it has taken all of its content off YouTube to its own platform OZEE. As people seek lower dependency on YouTube for monetization, YouTube will need more original content creators to keep users hooked on to the platform.
The way google works, and especially in case of YouTube, is that it is built on the model of “creating fragmentation and monetizing aggregation”. YouTube wants more original content creators, and users to create content, so that it has enough content, enough audience, and has little or no dependency on any individual content creator. If a BB Ki Vines leaves YouTube, it won’t affect the platform. But the success – and the showcasing of the success of – BB Ki Vines can attract another hundred other content creators, which further lowers its dependency. More fragmentation means that no single creator has any negotiating power against YouTube, even though Google wouldn’t want them to leave. This fragmentation makes Google the primary means of reaching audiences: thus Google is the aggregator of the fragmentation it creates.