YouTube Originals rolled out in India; partners AR Rahman for its first show ‘ARRived’

MUMBAI: Video streaming behemoth YouTube has rolled out its Originals service in India. The first major show on the service will be AR Rahman’s ‘ARRived’ which is slated to release in the coming weeks.

The YouTube Originals service is currently free and ad-supported. The company said that it will also provide the subscription option later giving an exact date. YouTube Originals is aimed at boosting the overall online video ad-spends in India.

YouTube Originals is part of YouTube Premium which was launched in 2016 and is available in more than 17 countries worldwide. The YouTube Premium service also includes ad-free services like YouTube Music, YouTube Gaming, and YouTube Kids.

Prior to the YouTube Originals roll-out, the video streaming platform had launched two sponsored shows as pilots to test the market. The shows were based on “Cricket” and featured cricket hosts—Gaurav Kapur and Vikram Sathaye.

The service, which has released 60 projects so far, aims to release 50 new shows worldwide in 2019. YouTube Originals will mostly feature content from some of its most successful creators/ partners.

“YouTube funds and commissions these shows based on insights from user data, but the IP remains with the creator,” PTI quotes YouTube India Head of Entertainment Satya Raghavan as saying.

He further stated that affordable data costs are driving video consumption in India. The data usage is about 8 GB a month per subscriber. “This has pushed online video consumption as well, which is now about 75% of all mobile traffic as per industry reports,” he added.

YouTube is the biggest digital video platform in India with 245 million unique users per month. Its daily active viewer base is growing at 100% year-on-year.

The launch of original content will pit YouTube against other streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, HOOQ, Voot, Eros Now, Yupp TV, Hungama and ALT Balaji who are investing heavily in original and exclusive content.

“With our growing reach and highly engaged audience, brands have an incredible opportunity to engage with the audience. Our goal is to further boost the ecosystem and supercharge the growth,” Raghavan said.

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