YouTube tests ecommerce feature, to take Shorts beyond India

YouTube tests ecommerce feature, to take Shorts beyond India
Photo Credit: Pixabay
27 Jan, 2021

Alphabet-owned video platform YouTube has announced that it is beta-testing a discovery-based shopping service on the platform with a group of beauty and electronics content creators. 

The feature is expected to be rolled out later this year, CEO Susan Wojcicki said in a letter published on the platform on Tuesday. As per the letter, YouTube has paid over $30 billion to creators, artists and media companies over the past three years.

The development marks YouTube’s foray into creator-led marketing, converting product research into ecommerce on the platform. 

Additionally, the platform said it will expand its YouTube Shorts product to new markets, without disclosing further details. YouTube launched the Shorts platform in India in beta mode in September 2020. As per Wojcicki’s letter, the platform receives 3.5 billion daily views.

The platform will also improve its Living Room app for the TV, as it saw the maximum growth in on-TV viewership in 2020, the letter said, adding that YouTube will tap into more living room devices, making voice navigation better. In the letter, Wojcicki said that YouTube Music and Premium subscriptions grew during 2020, reaching 30 million in the third quarter of 2020. 

Wojcicki also said in her letter that YouTube will look at how content representing different communities is treated in search, discovery and monetization for better inclusivity in its home market, the US. 

The letter also addressed regulatory issues with different governments. “The European Union recently introduced the Digital Services Act (DSA) that could have major implications for online speech. We’ll update you as this progresses, and we’re also working with governments like the United Kingdom as they consider legislation to take on harmful content,” Wojcicki said in her letter.

She added that the platform is working closely with European policy makers to make the EU copyright directive more workable for creators. 

In India too, the Personal Data Protection Bill, which is still under review by the joint parliamentary committee, will have a major impact on platforms such as YouTube. YouTube had over 325 million monthly active users in India, according to Comscore data released in October 2020.

In India, Facebook-owned chat app platform WhatsApp has been facing the heat for updating its privacy policy, which includes sharing data of transacting customers on WhatsApp business with parent Facebook. The policy was pushed back by three months and was instructed by the government to roll back the policy update.