KARACHI: YouTube Pakistan made two major announcements on Wednesday.
At a press conference organised at the DHA Golf Club, the video streaming website announced the launch of the YouTube Partner Program and the introduction of a new offline video feature.
The YouTube Partner Program allows content creators in Pakistan to monetize original works. Revenue generated from videos will be split between the video streaming site and content creators — with creators obtaining a major share. YouTube will also provide video creators with resources and opportunities to hone skills and build larger audiences.
Praising the creativity and talent of Pakistani content creators, Google Asia Pacific Industry Head Khurram Jamali said, “Since we launched YouTube in Pakistan earlier this year, we have seen amazing things from Pakistanis. The breadth of their talent and creativity is already very impressive and we hope this programme will help bring even more Pakistani talent onto the platform to share with the world.”
At the event, YouTube also announced the launch of its offline video feature in Pakistan. This allows chosen videos to remain available for offline viewing over a 48 hour-period.
Elaborating on the feature, Jamali said that the feature had been introduced to make the video sharing platform easier to enjoy on mobile devices and lessen the burden of data for its growing base of cellular users.
Google Asia Pacific Next Billion Users Head of Business Development Tania Aidrus said the feature would come in handy where Wi-Fi connections were not available or there was no network coverage. “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. We hope to keep finding better ways to make video content more affordable and accessible in Pakistan,” Aidrus added.
With 29% of Pakistan’s population online, the country remains a huge market for YouTube to capitalise on. The move opens up a new revenue stream for Pakistani content creators, case in point being Ali Gul Pir whose Wadere Ka Beta transformed him into an overnight sensation.
Following the press conference, the event featured performances by artists who have capitalised on their YouTube fan following and became household names. Revealing how YouTube helped him Pir said, “I took my video (Wadere Ka Beta) to TV channels and they rejected it, saying there was no female lead in the video. I approached radio stations but they said it was controversial. So I just uploaded it on YouTube and the rest is history.”
Besides Pir, several other Pakistani video creators including comedian Danish Ali and Justin Bibis performed on the occasion. The finale saw Noori perform alongside Saad Sultan and Haroon Shahid. The group mesmerised the audience with a couple songs before inviting Rachel Viccaji to join them for Coke Studio 9 hit Baliye to end the show.
Asked whether the agreement to censor objectionable content compromised the free space YouTube claimed to be and how that would affect content creators trying to monetize their works, Google Communications and Public Affairs Manager Zeff Yusof told The Express Tribune, “There is no correct answer to that. You are right but as of now, we are happy that we are here. And we look forward to working with Pakistani content creators.”