March 6, 2013
Google’s Roppongi Hills studio in Tokyo, Japan is making efforts to increase the amount of original international content on YouTube. The site is currently recruiting talent in order to launch international based channels. YouTube said that it has also created deals with other media companies in Asia and India, and has even agreed to host a channel in China with “state-owned” CNTV.
“In Japan, YouTube and other Google video sites had 50.8 million unique viewers in December, a 30 percent rise over the same period a year earlier,” reports Businessweek, citing comScore data. “That’s 43 percent more than the country’s No. 2 online video company, Tokyo-based Dwango.”
This increase has led to the push for more “local-language channels” to be produced on video sites such as YouTube.
However, there are challenges that Google will have to overcome to make the regional-based content a success. David Macdonald, the head of YouTube’s Asia-Pacific content operations explains that Asians are less inclined to jump into the spotlight, compared to Americans. “Making them feel comfortable with being in front of the camera is a bit of a challenge,” he says. “In the U.S. we have had rich organic growth on YouTube, but in Asia we have had to help some of the off-YouTube creators to move onto YouTube.”
Still, with the success of Asian-based content like Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” YouTube is finding those who are excited to take advantage of the opportunity. One Japanese company, Gekidan Squash, has been using Google’s Roppingi Hills Studio to promote their “Stalking Vampire” videos. Meanwhile, YouTube has also been talking with popular cooking blogger Rajani Saran Gupta from India, and her English channel is planned to launch on YouTube soon.
“There are so many things that we can do here,” Macdonald suggests. “My answer is, bring yourselves and a bunch of your friends in. We can teach you the ways of YouTube.”