YouTube banks on Bollywood, cricket for India

Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:23am EST
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By Shilpa Jamkhandikar

MUMBAI (Reuters Life!) - YouTube, the Google-owned video-sharing website, is banking on Bollywood and cricket to make its mark in the Indian market, looking at tie-ups with major studios to expand its movie library.

YouTube, which launched in India in 2008, says there is a huge market for Bollywood and cricket content not just in India, but in markets which haven't been explored earlier, a trend it is hoping to cash in on, a top official at the company told Reuters.

"For most Bollywood producers, distribution in non-traditional markets is a problem and then the only choice left for people in those markets is piracy," Gautam Anand, Director, Content Partnerships, Asia Pacific for Google, said in an interview.

"At least this way we are legitimizing views and monetizing it."

YouTube currently has 17.3 million unique visitors in India, where it also has the most premium partner views after the United States.

India is adding rapidly adding more broadband connections, with the country's Telecom Regulatory Authority of India recommending that the government should fix a target of 75 million broadband connections by 2012 and 160 million by 2014 -- up from 10.3 million broadband connections at the end of September 2010.

Anand said his company is also making sure that all the content available on PCs is also available on mobile devices as well, crucial in a country that has around 700 million mobile users.

One of Bollywood's biggest hits from 2010, "Dabangg," which stars Salman Khan, one of its most well-known actors, attracted more than a million hits in less than a week when it was screened for free viewing on YouTube last month.   Continued...