YouTube India’s creator impact: 2 mn-strong community, revenue streams, et al

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NEW DELHI: YouTube has some data to share, with which the video sharing and social media platform is attempting to illustrate the role of India, and the impact of the creator economy on the Indian economy. Citing a new report by research firm Oxford Economics, YouTube says the platform’s creative entrepreneurs contributed as much as 6,800 crore to the Indian economy in the year 2020, while also supporting as many as 6,83,900 full-time jobs as a result of greater traction, reach and revenue.

The Indian creator base is now more than 2 million strong, and YouTube says there are more than 40,000 channels on the platform in India that have more than 100,000 subscribers – an annual increase of 45%. There is also a 60% year-on-year increase in the number of channels on the platform, which are garnering more than 100,000 in revenue. The company also indicates that as of their internal data updated July 2021, more than 40% of the creators who received payment last year were not even part of the YouTube Partner Program, called Shorts Fund.

There has apparently been a positive spin on things for small businesses, which often attempt to leverage the reach of social media to gain visibility. According to the report, YouTube channels helped 92% of SMBs surveyed, to reach new audiences, while 87% of SMBs who use the platform to advertise believe that that’s helped sales grow. At this time, there are seven methods to monetise YouTube channels, including advertisements, channel memberships and Super Thanks.

“The creator economy in the country has the potential to emerge as a soft-power impacting economic growth, job creation, and even cultural influence,” says Ajay Vidyasagar, Regional Director, APAC, YouTube Partnerships, while speaking to us at a roundtable.

“This report is the first of its kind to unpack and quantify the economic, societal and cultural impacts of the YouTube ecosystem in India,” says Adrian Cooper, CEO of Oxford Economics.

The research firm surveyed 4,032 users based in India, as well as 1,020 businesses, across seven Indian languages, including Hindi, Bengali, Tamil and Malayalam. YouTube, which is owned by Google, has however not shared any indicative data for the year 2021.

Oxford Economics uses the term creative entrepreneurs for any social media creator (or ‘influencer’) who earns an income directly from their YouTube presence, and also have hired employees who are paid a regular salary. The minimum criteria stand at 10,000 subscribers for the channel. These generally also include individual creators, media companies and musicians.

“A principal source of YouTube’s economic impact is the revenue the platform redistributes to its creators, which can include ad sales, pay-outs from eight alternative monetisation features such as channel memberships and Super Chat, and royalty payments paid to music and media companies,” says the report.

Since the bulk of the data collected covers the year 2020, there is a definite impact on ‘work from home’ and ‘study from home’ as well. Among the users surveyed for the report, 94% of students aged more than 18 years said they used YouTube to supplement their personal study and for help with assignments.

At the same time, 81% of teachers agreed that the platform has its advantages, while 91% of parents of children aged 13-17 years say they use the platform to search for information for their child’s assignments.


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