Google is making a big push to boost YouTube usage in India and is in talks with direct-to-home cable providers to bring the service to televisions screens, its global director of platform partnerships, Francisco Varela, said.
Varela, who is on his first trip to India, said the country was among the video service’s fastest-growing markets and that talks were on with partners to boost usage further. Strategically, YouTube is an important part of Google’s revenues, which crossed $50 billion (about Rs 3.1 lakh crore) in 2012.
About 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube and about 100 hours of video are uploaded to the service every minute. “When we talk to direct-tohome providers or television makers or device makers, it’s so that you can watch YouTube on every screen you have, in a fully scalable way,” Varela told ET.
Varela declined to name the DTH providers he was in discussions with and would only say the company was working on a tie-up “as soon as possible”. The video platform receives more than 55 million unique monthly users from India, up from 15 million in 2011, a number set to grow as internet and mobile penetration in the country rises.
Access to DTH subscribers would open up more viewers for YouTube, which has already become a key component of companies’ digital marketing and advertising spend. According to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, there were about 54 million DTH subscribers, at the end of last year.
The major DTH players are Dish TV, Tata Sky, AirtelBSE 2.77 % Digital TV, Videocon D2H, Reliance Digital TV and Sun Direct. YouTube already has partnerships with television makers like Samsung, LG, Sony for making the video sharing site available on their smart TVs. As of March, India had about 164 million users, with seven out of eight of them accessing the internet from their phones. But network speed still remains a barrier for YouTube in India.