Things are getting back on track for YouTube in Pakistan. Months after the country lifted its three-year-old ban on the site, people have once again begun turning to Googles video service for consuming and creating videos.
Pakistanis are now spending substantially more time on YouTube than they were in January, the company told Mashable India. Google says the watch-time of YouTube has more than doubled in eight months. Pakistan government had banned YouTube in late 2012 after it found an anti-Islam video circulating on the video portal. The ban was eventually lifted earlier this January.
Much like India, Pakistan is an important place for Google. Unsurprisingly, both neighboring countries share a similar challenge for the company – low Internet penetration. Earlier this week, Google outlined its plans on how it intends to improve its services for Indians. Today it made two important announcements for Pakistan.
Google says users in Pakistan too can now save certain videos for offline usage. This feature has been particularly popular in emerging countries where many face connectivity issues. Through this, a user can go to YouTube app (on Android as well as iOS), and save a video for later viewing. The video will be with them for 48 hours after downloading it.
We are delighted to launch this new offline experience on YouTube with some of the top Pakistani players in entertainment. By making these popular videos available for temporary offline viewing, our partners will help fans connect more easily with their favorite content, while also helping bring more viewers to their videos, said Tania Aidrus, Head of Business Development, Next Billion Users team at Google Asia Pacific.
But more importantly, Google is also looking at YouTube creators for growth. To make the deal sweeter for them, it is bringing YouTube Partner Program to Pakistan. This will allow video creators in the country to make money for their original work.
Pakistani rapper says YouTube has been his only glimmer of hope.
This is particularly an exciting development for artists in Pakistan. The country’s entertainment industry is fairly small, which makes YouTube the biggest platform for many artists to showcase their work. Popular Pakistani rapper and comedian Ali Gul Pir explains the matter to Mashable India: YouTube for Pakistan before the ban was a glimmer of hope as we did not even have a single record label in the country. So musicians and artists only had YouTube and that’s where I released my first song as well.”
“It got over 3 million views. It made my career but then YouTube was banned and we were back to zero. I still made content but we would use Twitter and Facebook to show the work, and frankly that didn’t work well because those platforms are not made for content creators,” he added.
Google says any Pakistani creator even if they have only one original video can become a Partner and start making money. These partners will be able to run ads against their videos. YouTube splits the revenue generated by those ads, and pays its partners.