YouTube to trial new monetisation features in India first before expanding globally: Pichai

YouTube to trial new monetisation features in India first before expanding globally: Pichai
Photo Credit: Reuters
2 Feb, 2022

Alphabet-owned YouTube will introduce new commerce features on YouTube in India, which may then be taken to other countries, Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google, said during the company’s Q4, 2021 earnings call last night. Pichai was answering questions from two analysts, who asked about the company’s monetisation efforts on the platform and its efforts in India.

“I think all the commerce experiences we are thinking about in YouTube is a whole additional layer of opportunity. And again, it’s another area where it all feels very early to me. We are seeing tremendous traction in YouTube across newer areas, be it podcast, gaming, learning, sports. And so across all these areas, we’ll kind of take a vertical-specific look and see how we can support creators better,” Pichai said, answering a question about what commerce and advertising efforts the company is thinking of in the medium to long term.

Further, answering a second question about how Google has developed products in India and other emerging markets and then taken products elsewhere, Pichai said, “When I look at YouTube in India, some of the commerce ideas we talked about earlier, you may see us first stride in India, because we can get quicker feedback, very dynamic youthful population. And so we’ll do it there and then roll it out globally. So we are constantly looking for opportunities like that.”

YouTube has already expanded to offer Shorts, which veers into the short-video market, to capture a share of the increasing short videos market. YouTube Shorts came on the back of TikTok’s popularity, and was launched in September 2020.

Further, Pichai also noted that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) may be an area that YouTube might be looking into. He cited a letter written by YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki on January 25, where she said, “We’re always focused on expanding the YouTube ecosystem to help creators capitalize on emerging technologies, including things like NFTs, while continuing to strengthen and enhance the experiences creators and fans have on YouTube.”

He also said that new features like Super Chat and memberships for YouTube channels are at early stages right now, but are showing signs of growth.

NFT is a technology based on blockchains, which is used to signify ownership of digital items. The technology has gained immense popularity recently, with large brands like Adidas, Nike and many more venturing into this space. Social media platform Twitter is also in the process of introducing NFTs on its platform, allowing creators to use NFT art as profile images, and showcase such art directly on the platform.

Harish Bijoor, a brand and business strategy consultant, said that expansion of Google's creator monetisation offerings is a natural evolution to adapt to the future. "When Google wants to monetise something, it offers the ability for creators to monetise. In future, there wouldn't be just one, but multiple metaverses, all of which would communicate with each other. Google, of course, has ambitions to play a major role in the metaverse. It would, therefore, plan to expand its monetisation avenues according to the future," he said.

Talking about Google’s involvement in web3 projects, Pichai stated that the company intends to support the new generation of the internet. “The web has always evolved, and it’s going to continue to evolve. As Google, we have benefitted tremendously from open-source technologies, and we plan to contribute there,” Pichai said.

The executive also stated that going forward, the company is “definitely” looking at using blockchain in its products, alongside looking at new markets for its products. “We are trying to think deeper about these newer markets, so it really lines up with our mission of building a more equitable internet for everyone,” Pichai added.

Alphabet reported a record annual revenue of $257 billion, up by 41 percent year on year, on February 1, marking the first time that the company has crossed the $200 million mark in yearly revenue.  It reported quarterly revenue of $75.3 billion – up 32 percent year on year, in the quarter ended December 2021.