YouTube aims to bring Shorts into the limelight, says Satya Raghavan

Satya Raghavan, director of YouTube Content Partnerships, India
YouTube wants the spotlight to be on its short video offering YouTube Shorts, and sees social commerce becoming a revenue stream after its acquisition of simsim earlier this year, said Satya Raghavan, director of YouTube Content Partnerships, India.


As Shorts is still in the beta phase, the YouTube Shorts Fund – a $100 million fund launched in August that will be used to pay creators – will work differently from the usual route for creators to make money, which is either through ads or memberships.


Raghavan said the firm was constantly adding more product features, depending on how consumers are using some of the existing ones, so that the product becomes more robust.


“Shorts has democratised the ability to create content on YouTube even more. If you were to create a normal video you would perhaps worry about having a good phone to shoot. You might even think about taking a microphone, light... In terms of video for Shorts, it’s a lot easier. You just take the phone, open the app, switch on the camera, add some music. In fact, you can even add from soundtracks... (and) the sound of all the videos that are there on YouTube, and you can create amazing mash-ups,” Raghavan said.


Shorts was launched first in India last year, and has since been expanded to over 100 countries. Of the 15 billion views that it receives daily, Shorts sees above average views from India, said Raghavan. Similarly, for subscription on YouTube, too, the India numbers are above average.


Ordinarily, YouTube shares ad revenue with creators when people watch ads before a video. However, premium members do not see ads, and a part of their monthly fee is shared with creators. Among subscriptions, music is a big use case, said Raghavan.

“You could be really, really engaged with a particular creator who has opened up memberships as an option where, in return for recurring monthly fees, of which there are tiers, starting right from Rs 20 a month... (And) in return for that monthly fee, they are engaging with you, perhaps even one on one...(or) giving you content that reaches you first, before it reaches all their subscribers, sometimes they’re even giving you content that is only unique for you,” he said.


Users to double


According to data from consulting firm RedSeer, monthly active users of short-form video content are expected to more than double to around 650 million by 2025, occupying the second spot after television. The space exploded largely due to the quick rise of TikTok, which was banned in India last year. Though YouTube was a relatively late entrant to the format, the response has been encouraging, it said.




In July, YouTube bought Indian social commerce start-up simsim, which helps small businesses transition to e-commerce by using the power of video and creators.


“The opportunity for us is to ensure we are able to help simsim, that’s dedicated to helping Indian consumers buy products, and by getting both together, how can we help small businesses and retailers and consumers in even more powerful the centre of all of that at the end of the day will be the creator...Even globally, we’ve done a couple of pilots on commerce. So, it’s something that will emerge as ano­t­h­er revenue stream,” Raghavan said.

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