YouTube, Facebook and India: Online Video’s Biggest Sleeping Giant?

YouTube, Facebook and India: Online Video’s Biggest Sleeping Giant?

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Recently I participated in the taping of an upcoming TubeTalk podcast along with Mark Robertson, the Founder and Publisher of ReelSEO and Director of Advanced Video Marketing at Tubular Labs, Tim Schmoyer, the Founder of Video Creators, and Jeremy Vest, the Founder and CEO of Vidpow. ReelSEO did an incredible job of building this show into an excellent source of analysis, tips and trends for the online video and internet marketing industries. Now, the TubeTalk podcast has a new home at Vidpow and a new host in Jeremy.

Jeremy asked a very hard question that each of the panelists had to wrestle with for a while before we could come up with an answer: What’s the biggest story in video marketing that’s been under-reported in 2015? The impact of online video, especially YouTube and Facebook, in India.

India = The Second Largest Market for YouTube

India is now the second largest market – after the United States – for YouTube, Facebook, and many other video platforms. Now, China is most populous country in the world with more than 1.40 billion people. But about 3,000 websites are blocked by mainland China, including Google, Facebook, and YouTube. And China is closely followed by India, which has a population of more than 1.28 billion. The United States is third with 322.6 million, Indonesia is fourth with 252.8 million, and Brazil is fifth with 202.0 million. India was also the top contributor to total world population growth in the past year. The Indian population increased by 15 million, followed by China at 7.8 million. In fact, India accounted for 18.5% of total global population growth in 2014.

To be fair, I did mention India in my column, “12 Slides That Every Video Marketer Should Read Right Now,” which ReelSEO published on June 3, 215. But, if you don’t recall what I wrote back then about slide #2, let me repeat what Mary Meeker said during her presentation at the Code Conference earlier this year.

In 2014, there were 2.8 billion internet users, that’s around 39% of the total population on earth. China was the biggest Internet market with 644 million internet users, and the United States was the second largest with 280 million internet users. However, India was the third largest market with 232 million active Internet users. India was also the country that had the most new Internet users, adding 63 million in 2014 alone.

That means India is in the top two markets when it comes to monthly active users (or MAUs as they are known in the industry). In 2014, there were 112 million MAUs for Facebook, making India that platform’s second largest market. There were also 70 million YouTube users resident in India last year.

Meeker India 1

However, I didn’t write about what Meeker went on to say about India. I figured that would be a good topic for a future column and just never got around to writing it – until now.

India: Reaching Peak Internet?

With 37% growth in internet users year-over year, India appears to be at an inflection point in its internet penetration. What’s driving this? Well, 65% of India’s internet traffic comes from mobile devices, a higher rate than most other countries.

Meeker India 2

Now, this story may have been under-reported back in June, but it’s pretty obvious that the folks at YouTube and Facebook were paying close attention to this trend. On May 8, 2015, YouTube India announced an update to the latest version of the YouTube app which offered a new Offline feature. This enables YouTube users in the country to watch their favorite videos anytime, anywhere, without buffering.

In August 2015, YouTube announced that it had partnered with one of Asia’s largest and most renowned film schools, Whistling Woods International, to open YouTube Space in Mumbai. And on Dec. 3, 2015, YouTube opened the doors of this 1,400-square-foot Space to India’s video content creators.

YouTube creator, and pianist 88 Keys to Euphoria’s Aakash Gandhi, Ash King, and Shashaa Tirupati opened the event. Their video, Billie Jean | Jiya Re (Mashup Cover), is the first official production piece out of YouTube Space Mumbai. You can watch it below.

Facebook Investing in India Too

Meanwhile, Facebook has been focused on the subcontinent, too. On June 29, 2015, the company rolled out Facebook Lite to India. The Lite version gobbles up less data than the full Facebook app, and is aimed at people with low-end Android devices and slow or unstable 2G network connections — both of which are found in emerging markets. You won’t find Facebook videos on the Lite version yet, since they can hog bandwidth, but I suspect they will start appearing in the News Feed in the foreseeable future.

So, YouTube and Facebook are both spending a lot of time and attention on India. Considering the growth rate in the number of internet users, India is likely to become their largest market — bigger than the United States — sometime in 2016. Yeah, that’s probably the biggest story in video marketing that been under-reported in 2015.


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