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Welcome YouTube in streaming war as it plans original series for Indian audience


Ever since Reliance Jio launch in 2016, Indian streaming market has been experiencing a hockey stick growth. While 216 million people had used streaming service at the end of 2017 (76 million more than 2016), still mere a million used paid subscription services.

The above data corroborates the fact that Indians are unlikely to pay for content. But, global video streaming majors are undeterred by this notoriety and bullish about the future of paid subscription.

After Amazon Prime, Netflix had announced seven original series for Indian audience and recently launched ‘Sacred Games’ starring Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and others. Toying Amazon and Netflix lines, YouTube is creating scripted series and other original programming for the Indian market.

The paid subscription (YouTube Premium) will generate content in genres including music documentaries, talk shows, and reality series. Original shows in these genres would be produced in local languages. However, they would be subtitled or dubbed for the audience in other geographies too.

Also Read: With Saavn, EROS, ALTBalaji and 160 Mn subscribers, Jio tends to outsmart Amazon and Netflix

Although, there are no details available on when YouTube would begin producing original series in India. The Alphabet-owned video marketplace may start it at the beginning of the next year. YouTube had launched an original talk show ‘UnCricket’ in India and claimed that it has surpassed its expectation.

Indian online video industry is expected to touch $1.6 billion in revenue by 2022, from the estimated $340 million in 2017, as per media research and consulting firm Media Partners Asia (MPA).

Besides Amazon Prime and Netflix, Alibaba has also been gearing up to launch a video streaming service soon. Meanwhile, local television production house Balaji Telefilms also had launched subscription-based streaming service ALT Balaji last year.

As of late December last year, Hotstar had monthly active subscribers base of 75 million, according to Counterpoint. Voot was the second largest player with 22 million monthly subscriber base. According to a FactorDaily report, Netflix has about 600K subscribers in India.

Since YouTube enjoys a massive 225 million MAUs in India, it seems to have a better chance of driving paid content. However, producing content is altogether a different ball game. Going forward, it would be exciting to watch how YouTube prepares for the battle against the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Alibaba, Facebook, and others.

The development was reported by Reuters.

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