International Manager of YouTube Speaks about YouTube’s India Plans

YouTube India

World renowned video-sharing site YouTube has spread its wings wide apart and made its landing on to India with its Indian version of the site. TechShout conducted an interview with the International Manager of YouTube, Sakina Arsiwala who threw more light on their latest launch in India.

How different is YouTube.co.in in comparison to YouTube.com?

Essentially YouTube.com and YouTube.co.in are both interfaces to the same universal content, but YouTube.co.in will highlight and promote any specific content that’s related to India. We have video sections like partnered, featured, promoted and video ads which will display all India relevant content. Even the search on the website will give more Indian related content. The ‘Most viewed’ and ‘Most popular’ video sections will also deliver an Indian version of videos. Click on the global link and you will get what’s available worldwide. We have made it very simple and easy for users to search content in India which is most interesting to them.

What steps have been taken for parental control over the access of videos?

From the day one that YouTube, we have had very strict content policies in place and have had absolute zero tolerance for porn. When one uploads a video and if anybody flags it and even if a single user flags it, we immediately review it and if it’s pornographic or against any terms of condition/violation we will take it down. To give a sense of scope on this, every minute, ten hours of video are uploaded on YouTube. That’s a huge amount of videos uploaded to the site and we take strong reactive review cycles which are quite prompt and most of the times porn videos are taken off within minutes of its flagging.

How often are the ‘channels’ section updated on the site?

The Most Viewed and the Most Discussed sections are updated at very short intervals. The update will be done depending on the section that is to be updated. We have different policies for the update process of different content. But most importantly we would like to keep it as fresh as possible.

What’s a video response? Is it a comment that can be left via a video?

Yes Absolutely! People upload interesting content and other people may have a video response to it. You can sit in front of a webcam and just record your response to that video and we see a lot of that happening.

Any time limitations for the upload of the videos? For instance on YouTube.com, the maximum time limit of video uploading is around ten minutes, will the same rule apply for YouTube India as well?

Yes, Absolutely! The user can upload a video of only 10 minutes duration on YouTube.co.in.

What if a person uploads a video which is above the prescribed time limit of 10 minutes? Does the person have to pay for extra duration?

No, there is absolutely no money exchange involved with the upload process. The reason for the 10 minute video uploading process is so that regular users cannot upload feature films or copyright protected material on the site. The 10 minute limit is placed for copyright protection and not to make money out of it. If you are a partner with us and we know that the content is owned by you, like for example Rajshri and Eros, then we would extend the time limit further. When we launched the site, we launched with almost two dozen partners in India.

It does not have to be a commercial partnership as IIT is using YouTube as a platform to standardize engineering education across India. It’s a Government of India initiative where they are taking the entire IIT course curriculum and putting it online, so that students anywhere in the world can have access to the learning and education, which is very exciting. You have access to something that is very high in terms of technology and education standards and it is now available for free to everyone.

How would you handle copyrighted materials that are uploaded on YouTube.co.in?

We take copyright very seriously and right from the beginning we have had clear content policies. Once we get a notification from a user stating that it is a material owned by them, we take it down and make a digital hash-out of that content so that nobody else can use it other than the user who owns it. Another step taken is by trials done on DTO id and fingerprint technology and we have worked with some partners globally who will give us the entire content library and once we get that content library, we will digitize or fingerprint that library. So anybody in the world who uploads a video which is infringing to the content, we will notify the user of the content about the infringement and it will allow the user to block the video used by somebody else, take it off the site or even partner with the other user or keep it on the site for promotional reasons and keep monitoring it.

Any reasons as to why YouTube.co.in was chosen over an easier website name as YouTube.in?

Actually it’s available on both the names. Both the site names can be used and in fact the actual India site rests on www.YouTube.in. It was more of a consistency decision and you can access it either ways.

Does Google plan to launch a local language edition of the YouTube site where even non-English speaking visitors can search for videos in their own mother tongue?

Sure, even right now a lot of regional content is available. YouTube is a complete platform for videos and it’s the content that determines the popularity. If you type in Hindi, Gujarati or Telugu words, you will get content in that language and it’s already serving the local language community. The user-interface is very simple and if you are uploading the video in a regional language it is very easy to share amongst the local communities and once the video ends, one can click on the related links to that video. We are already seeing a lot of local language content on the site and I am hoping to see more of it and if it makes sense we can launch in multiple Indian languages.

Will the YouTube India’s servers effectively come under Indian Jurisdiction?

When we launched in India, we made a commitment to respect Indian Laws and we are working very actively with various law enforcement agencies. We have worked with the Mumbai Police and the Kolkatta Police to mutually understand their concerns and explain to them from a pure technology perspective from where we are coming from. We are very pro-active in making sure that the experience the people have on YouTube is very safe. We rely heavily on the community section and as said earlier, you can do a single flag and notify us of any infringement or inappropriate content and we will review it and take it down if it is illegal or is against terms of service.

Any plans of partnering with any more content creators?

Absolutely! We would love to partner with as many content creators as possible. We are already partners with approximately 2 dozen or more content creators like Eros Entertainment, Rajshri Films, IIFA, Ministry of Tourism, IIT Delhi, NDTV, UTV, Zoom TV, India TV, Krishcricket etc.

What kind of traffic are you expecting?

We have over 2 lakh users added every month from India in 2007 as per third party data and have approximately 5 Million unique users in India.

How does YouTube plan to promote itself in India?

Essentially we are counting on our user community to first create interesting content and share it rapidly with their friends. YouTube has not been a very vital platform that was heavily marketable in any country but we would look at interesting opportunities as and when they come up.

What are your revenue expectations from YouTube India?

YouTube is not a business revenue model and we are keen on sharing the best video experience amongst the users. The revenues are rolled in via advertising.