Internet search firm Google Inc launched an India-specific version of its free video hosting site YouTube on Wednesday, aiming to be a traffic generator for everyone from media companies seeking new markets to small-time music bands seeking global glory.
Like its other offerings, the localised site (http://www.youtube.co.in) will differentiate content using its search technologies to throw up content relevant to India, which is the 20th in the series of country-specific YouTube sites that Google has launched. The global YouTube site already has 5 million Indian users.
It is not clear yet how YouTube will make money from its site which has established itself as the leading global hub for amateur videos.
For the moment it is experimenting with revenue-sharing with established media companies like Rajshri Films and UTV on a trial basis, while also carrying out in-house experiments on unobtrusive overlay advertisements on the videos. Revenue sharing is not available now for amateurs.
The challenge for Google is to evolve a mechanism to perfect revenue-sharing and payments, like it has done for its search-based ads and content for its Blogger.com site.
"Once we get to a point where we are comfortable, we'll get there in a heartbeat," Sakina Arsiwala, YouTube's Mumbai-bred International Manager, told Hindustan Times in an interview.
YouTube, which is a company acquired by Google, is building volumes, while Google's own video site (http://video.google.com) is focused on video search, Arsiwala said.
To help protect the copyrights of established media players and at the same time track users in a manner that could generate advertisement-friendly data, Google has developed audio and video "fingerprinting" technologies that can catch intellectual property thieves.
YouTube is for video streaming, not downloads, and has not evolved digital rights management (DRM) technologies that could help content generators make money by selling their videos through YouTube.