How Did YouTube Grow in India? | What Pushes Its Growth?

How Did YouTube Grow in India? | What Pushes Its Growth?

Launched on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, in the year 2005 by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim as an online video-sharing and social media platform, YouTube’s impact on society has been unprecedented. In the last decade and a half of its existence, YouTube has influenced popular culture, and internet trends and has created multimillionaire celebrities.

In October 2006, YouTube was bought by Google. Since then, YouTube has grown to become the second most visited website after Google Search, with more than 2.6 billion monthly users, collectively watching more than one billion hours of videos each day.

With Google’s guidance and expertise, YouTube expanded its revenue-generating model from advertising alone to offering paid content such as movies and exclusive material produced by YouTube. It also offers YouTube Premium, a paid subscription service that allows for content watching without intervening advertisements. YouTube also approved of creators participating in Google’s AdSense program, which is aimed at generating revenue for both parties.

Since 2006 and Google’s takeover of YouTube, it has expanded into mobile apps, network television and the ability to link with other platforms. YouTube’s video content now consists of music, short clips, news, short films, feature films, documentaries, audio recordings, movie trailers and teasers, vlogs, live streams and many more. Apart from individual content, YouTube also contains content generated from collaborations between YouTubers and Corporate sponsors. Large established media corporations like Disney, Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery have also created and expanded their corporate YouTube channels in an effort to reach to a wider audience.

YouTube's Growth Story in India
What Is Fuelling This Growth?

How to Start a YouTube Channel in 2022?

YouTube's Growth Story in India

Forecast of the Number of YouTube Users in India (2017-2025)
Forecast of the Number of YouTube Users in India (2017-2025)

A report published by Oxford Economics stated that Indian YouTubers have contributed more than INR 6,800 crores to the country’s economy, supporting 6,83,900 jobs in the year 2020. 90% of small and medium businesses reported that YouTube’s market penetration helped grow their client base while also contributing to employee performance due to ease of information access. As per a 2021 report, the number of YouTube channels that enjoy more than 1 lakh subscribers is approximately 40,000—a 45% increase from the year 2020. The report also states that as of June 2021, there are more than 4,000 channels on YouTube that have over 10 lakh subscribers – an increase of over 50% from 2020.

Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s CEO has said that India is the video streaming service’s largest and fastest-growing audience. “India is now both our biggest audience and one of our fastest growing audiences in the world. YouTube today has become the first stop for users to consume content, whether they’re looking for entertainment or information. It is this incredible variety of content combined with the growing reach that makes YouTube a perfect platform for brands to drive personalised engagement,” she said in an interview. During the same interview, she also shared that YouTube’s mobile consumption was at an all-time high of 85%, 60% of which was coming from the six largest metropolitan cities of India. Mark Patterson, CEO of GroupM Asia Pacific had referred to YouTube as a secret weapon in every Indian marketer’s arsenal.

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What Is Fuelling This Growth?

Most Frequently Watched YouTube Video Formats in India
Most Frequently Watched YouTube Video Formats in India

The primary reason for this has been the increase in Content Creators. In 2014, YouTube in India had only 16 content creators with 10 lakh subscribers. In less than a decade, that number has grown exponentially to reveal an average of 2 content creators who cross 10 lakh subscribers and more than 2,500 content creators who cross the 1,000 subscriber milestone every day. Then there are Influencers, Breakout Entertainers, Creative Entrepreneurs and Utility YouTubers who are substantial contributors to this new growing economy.

Rise of the Indian Content Creators

Content creators unanimously agree that the growth revolution witnessed by YouTube in India over the last few years has been triggered by Jio, which made the mobile internet extremely cost-effective.

“A lot of this growth is coming from local, native Indian languages across genres. While genres like comedy, food, health and beauty continue to rise, we are seeing tremendous growth in uniquely Indian content like village food, farming, etc.,” said Satya Raghavan, Director, YouTube Content Partnerships, India.

95% of users on YouTube in India are consuming content in local languages. By launching YouTube Space in Mumbai and Delhi, YouTube has given creators access to production equipment and themed sets to create and produce original content for their YouTube channels.

The Influencers

Influencers are young and speak to the millennial audience. They create videos on everyday relatable things, usually in Hindi, and post an average of 12–15 videos a month. They enjoy a large fan following from a gender-balanced and geographically diverse audience. These are creators who collaborate with brands and engage in product or service promotions due to their wide reach. They record high earnings due to these collaborations and even the resulting sales. They also earn handsomely from YouTube.

The Breakout Entertainers

The advent of breakout entertainers on YouTube saw exponential growth in subscribers and viewership, for YouTube. These are single performers of stand-up comedy, dance, and other various forms of entertainment. Examples of Indian breakout entertainers are Bhuvan Bam and his channel BB ki Vines and Prajakta Koli known as ‘MostlySane’.

The Creative Entrepreneurs

These are creators who, regardless of their gender, enjoy a subscription of at least 10,000 users and other niche creators with lesser subscribers who generate funds from other sources through their YouTube videos. They also permanently employ other people to support their activities on YouTube.

The Utility YouTubers

YouTube has revealed that a most remarkable trend has emerged concerning utility and DIY videos. 71% of their online Indian viewers first watch a YouTube video to learn something. This reveals that YouTube is quickly becoming India’s ‘go-to’ place to learn a new skill.

Says Ajay Vidyasagar, Regional Director, APAC, YouTube Partnerships - “The creator economy in the country has the potential to emerge as a soft-power impacting economic growth, job creation, and even cultural influence. As our creators and artists build the next generation of media companies that are connecting with a global audience, their impact on the economy’s overall success will only continue to accelerate."


Satya Raghavan said, "Over the years, we have invested heavily in growing and nurturing the creator community in India and are excited to see how Indian YouTube stars now go global." To sum it up, the Indian online video market is all set to cross USD 5 billion by 2023 and YouTube is all set to occupy a large chunk of it.


When did YouTube start?

YouTube was launched on February 14th, 2005, by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim as an online video-sharing and social media platform.

Is YouTube really growing in India?

YouTube's user base in India was recorded to be around 459.23 million users in 2021, and this number is expected to reach 833.03 million users by the year 2025, as per Statista.

What is pushing YouTube's growth in India?

The following are the prominent reasons for YouTube's growth in India are:

  • Rise of the Indian Content Creators
  • The Influencers
  • The Breakout Entertainers
  • The Creative Entrepreneurs
  • The Utility YouTubers

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