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YouTube Space India names Jigisha Mistry Iyengar as head; plans year end launch

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MUMBAI: For aspiring YouTube stars in India, 2015 is spelling out to be a good year. By the end of this year, Mumbai will be home to YouTube Space at Subhash Ghai's Whistling Woods International (WWI), making India one of the seven in the world to have one.

The India operations of YouTube Space will be headed by Jigisha Mistry Iyengar.

The move comes in the wake of the emerging generation of YouTube creators and the growing demand for quality digital video content on the platform. As per YouTube’s internal studies, the number of watch hours on YouTube has grown by 80 per cent in India.

“Jigisha comes from a very strong background in production, both here and in the US. Apart from her, we will be collaborating with all the popular creators onboard with YouTube from all genres be it music, art comedy, news,” said YouTube Space head South Asia David McDonald, who is in Mumbai to conduct a workshop on YouTube at Celebrate Cinema 2015.

McDonald also threw light on how the launch of YouTube Space in India is going to be giant leap in inducting more YouTube creators in the country. The workshop’s key aim was to empower youngsters with the knowledge of how YouTube consumers can become creators and encourage them to seriously consider a profession as a YouTuber.

The aim of the workshop was to show creators how to build an audience as well as design relevant content for YouTube, build one’s business as a creator and the role YouTube Space in all this. Keeping that in mind, three spokesperson from YouTube addressed the audience at the workshop clarifying their doubts on content creation, audience building and monetisation respectively.

“YouTube Space will offer YouTubers a platform to build their community and network better through events, seminars, parties, ‘happy hours and workshops, at the same time facilitate for them to improve the quality of their product through better infrastructure at the Space,” McDonald said.

“The Space will be open for creators to learn connect and create. Our first goal is to foster the community of YouTube creators in India. We give them a physical community a place they can call home. Secondly, it's to inspire better quality content on YouTube, by giving them resources like shooting studios, cameras edit labs etc. It will allow them to experiment more with what they create. We want to push the envelope of creativity through this. Frankly, a YouTube Space becomes a front door to YouTube itself. Between the industry and media, it's a great place catch up on what YouTube does,” he added.

McDonald is confident that having YouTube Space in india will boost the number of creators here. “We have seen this in other parts of the world and I think it stands true for India as well. Specially with the growing demand,” he said.

Citing an instance from YouTube Fanfest earlier this year, he said. “There were more than 5000 fans screaming and going gaga over 33 YouTube stars, and that number has increased by multiples from the previous year. It is a win - win for the viewers, who get more creative content, the creators who have access to facilities to improve their content and advertisers to expand their reach as well. We hope the numbers keep growing,” he adds.

A lot is still under planning when it comes to accessibility of the ‘Space.’ While McDonald asserts that the workshops and networking events will be for all, the access to the studio will have certain eligibility criteria. “The seminars, workshops, happy hours and networking events are pretty much available for all those who have a YouTube channel to begin with. Our idea behind the Space is to democratise the access to these kind of facilities, which means we are a democratised platform available for everyone who wants to learn connect and create. The challenge of course is that we have finite resources in only so many studios, cameras and other equipments. At some point we have to figure what the right threshold of the access locations is,” he explains.

While some may say that this will be counter productive of the ‘democratised’ idea behind the concept of Spaces, segregating the YouTubers who have access to the facilities from those who don’t, McDonald painted a different picture. “I have seen this happen in the US. We have only two Spaces there in Los Angeles and New York. But we still have creators doing good from other parts of the country as well, and there is no preference from the viewers as such. Similar is the case with our Spaces in London. Not everyone from the UK gets access to the facilities but that doesn’t deter YouTubers from all over UK and Europe to contribute. Our goal is to have more of the Spaces and the one in Mumbai is a first step. I hope we can support more creatives from all over India. We do have events and workshops in other parts of the country as well to reach out to as many creators as possible.”

With this major push in India from YouTube, more Indian talent is soon poised to join the likes of All India Backchod (AIB), IISuperwomanII and The Viral Fever, who have become household names by showcasing their talent on this popular video platform.

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