TECH TALK: The Rise of YouTube: Impact for China and India

SeekingAlpha [David Wolf] wrote: Apart from the fact that the deal needs to close, Kai-Fu Lee and the team over at Google China are wise enough in the ways of the Middle Kingdom to know that YouTube in the form that it operates in the U.S. would not fly with the Chinese authorities. A website that plays videos but is not a licensed broadcaster? That’s a no-go: we know that from the way the IPTV trials are being handled. A foreign website? Playing foreign videos? Or worse, self-produced videos from local Chinese? Even worse, owned by a foreign company with huge resources?…China is not the only place Google is likely to face challenges as it makes plans to take YouTube global. In Singapore and in other countries where Google does business, there will be authorities who take issue with the concept of a video sharing site, and Google will face a choice: don’t launch YouTube at all, or launch a localized version that operates in accordance with local laws and sensibilities. I’m betting on the YouTube Local approach, especially in non-English-speaking territories.

The real opportunity is likely to be around the mobile. SeekingAlpha again: Mobile content has its own particular requirements – small screens, short programming, and loads of choice. From that perspective, YouTube is brilliantly suited to mobile television: short duration videos, lots of low-definition stuff that people are used to seeing in small screens, and content that is mostly already formatted for wmv and RealPlayer. Launching YouTube in China as a video wireless value-added service provider [V-WVASP?], combined with some clever advertising techniques developed by YouTube and Chinese mobile TV pioneers like 21cms, could be the ticket.

The mobile angle was also discussed by MocoNews:

The biggest indication of any mobile results is in the content deals announced by both companies just before the merger, which is mostly with music labels and is for music videos. Theres talk of free music videos supported by Googles advertising nouse. Music videos, as well as the user-generated content which made YouTube so big, is perfect for mobile devices. For me, the question is not what will they do but why havent they done anything yet?, and if the answer is anything other than the fact that theyre still sorting out online video any speculation would be premature. But if its something they just havent got around to Im sure they will at some point. Because of data charges syncing is the most obvious delivery technique at this point, but that leaves a few issues such as the difficulty of syncing. With the higher speed networks planned Im sure therell be over-the-air downloads that dont cost to much, which could see it take off. The revenue model could be paid for content (such as some of the new music video deals) or ad-sponsored (which is Googles strength, after all) or a mixture of the two. Perhaps the biggest thing Google could bring to the deal is an easier way to find videos that interest you, which is of particular interest in mobile where you want to download only what you like.

My view is that the deal highlights the importance of social networks and community. It also brings out the coming age of video on the Internet. In India, we are still in the Web 1.0 world, so we have a long way to go before we start realising the benefits on this new Internet. But, we do have an opportunity to leapfrog to Web2.0 if we build it our around mobiles. As I have often said in the past, there is an opportunity for the next YouTube or Google to come from emerging markets like China and India. Instead of looking at what companies in the developed markets are doing, the focus needs to be on the needs of the large user base in the domestic markets. If there is one key takeaway for entrepreneurs from the YouTube-Google deal, it is this (from Evan Williams): It’s a great example of how and why a focused startup can compete with the big guys. Google not only had a video product that was a competitor, they started it before YouTube existed. Then YouTube came along and kicked their butt into paying through the nose for them. One game is over, new ones are ready to begin.

TECH TALK The Rise of YouTube+T

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.