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YouTube launches buffer-free offline video in India

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MUMBAI: YouTube has launched an offline feature in India as part of a larger initiative to make YouTube easier to enjoy on mobile devices, while lessening the burden of data for its growing base of mobile users. This is part of YouTube’s first release of its ad-supported offline feature on Android and iOS, which was announced earlier this year with the launch of Android One smartphones.

The new offline feature for the YouTube app lets people take videos offline, using WiFi or their data plans.  Once taken offline, the videos can be viewed without an internet connection for up to 48 hours, allowing people to enjoy YouTube videos without worrying about slow connections. For videos where this feature is available, people can choose to add the video for offline viewing by tapping on the offline icon that sits under the video frame.

YouTube vice president of engineering John Harding said, “In a country like India, the future of the internet is mobile. 85 per cent of the internet population will connect to the internet with a mobile phone before any other device. Already, we’re seeing over 40 per cent of our traffic in India come from mobile devices, and we want to make sure we are making YouTube as enjoyable as possible for these mobile-first users. By launching this offline experience on YouTube in India today, we hope to help people move past the challenges of data connection, speed and cost to enjoy a smooth, buffer-free version of YouTube.”

Much of India’s popular YouTube content is ready for people to view offline from indie comedy to Hindi movies and select Bollywood and pop Bhangra music.



 

“We are delighted to launch this new offline experience on YouTube with some of India’s household names for entertainment and music, including T-Series, Saregama and Yashraj Films. Making these popular videos available for temporary offline viewing will help fans connect more easily with their favourite content, and we hope to continue helping Indians affordably access YouTube over the next year. This new feature will also help our partners bring more viewers to their content and find even greater success on our platform,” said YouTube Asia-Pacific regional director of YouTube partnerships Ajay Vidyasagar.

The launch of YouTube’s offline feature is YouTube’s latest effort in a series of initiatives to make video content more affordable and accessible to the large base of mobile internet users in the country. Earlier this year, YouTube worked with Tata DoCoMo to introduce “YouTube Recharge,” a new video data add-on for prepaid users that gave them more affordable access to YouTube on their mobiles devices.

Saregama India MD Vikram Mehra said, “As a partner of YouTube we welcome this new feature which will allow people from small towns who are surfing from poor bandwidth to enjoy our vast repertoire.”

Added Shemaroo Entertainment director Jai Maroo, “We are one of the oldest partners of YouTube India and have a very successful partnership putting the best of bollywood content and monetizing it, where today we do between 46 to 60 million views per month.  Given the access and pricing issues to date in this country, we do see that user behavior that somewhere consumption gets restricted and this offline initiative will help increase consumption.   YouTube has created a win win situation where this feature is easy and seamless for the user while still protecting the interest of the content owner and the advertiser.” 

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