Eight months after YouTube was finally re-opened in Pakistan, officials of the video streaming website made two major announcements on Wednesday. At a press conference held at the DHA Golf Club, YouTube launched a plan to monitise the medium along with an offline feature for Pakistanis.
Tania Aidrus, head of business development in the Next Billion Users team at Google Asia Pacific, addressed the media at the event. “By making these popular videos available for temporary offline viewing, fans can connect more easily with their favourite content, while also helping bring more viewers to their videos,” she said. “We hope to keep finding better ways to make video content more affordable and accessible in Pakistan.”
Once taken offline, the chosen video will be available for viewing for 48 hours without an internet connection. According to Aidrus, this will come in handy in areas with no Wi-Fi and no networks for data connection.
In addition to this, the team announced the launch of the YouTube Partner Program, which allows content creators in Pakistan to monetise their original works. The revenue generated will be split, with majority shares going to the creator. Moreover, YouTube provides video creators with resources and opportunity to improve their skills and build larger audiences.
Google Asia Pacific industry head Khurram Jamali praised the creativity and talent of Pakistani content creators as well. “Since we launched YouTube in Pakistan earlier this year, we have seen amazing things from Pakistanis posting their videos. The breadth of their talent and creativity is already very impressive and we hope this program will help bring even more talent onto this platform, to share with the whole world.”
Asked whether the agreement to censor objectionable content compromises the free space that YouTube claims to be, and how it will affect content creators trying to earn from their work, communications and public affairs manager Zeff Yusof told The Express Tribune
, “There is no correct answer to that. As of now, we are happy that we are here. And we look forward to working with Pakistani content creators.”
With 29% of local population using the internet regularly, there is a huge market for YouTube to capitalise on. The new project opens up fresh revenue sources for online content creators such as Ali Gul Pir, whose Wadere Ka Beta
turned him into a star overnight. The event also included performances by artists like him, who have capitalised on their YouTube fame.
“I took Wadere Ka Beta
to different TV channels and they rejected it, saying there was no female lead in the video. I approached radio stations but they said it was too controversial. So I just uploaded it on YouTube and you know the rest.”
Pir was accompanied by other video creators like comedian Danish Ali and the Justin Bibis.
The finale saw one of Pakistan’s most loved bands Noori, along with Saad Sultan and Haroon Shahid, entertain the audience with a couple songs before inviting Rachel Viccaji to join them for a rendition of the Coke Studio
to end the show.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2016.