Saturday, March 4, 2017

Facebook vs YouTube India: The Race Begins

If you are being bombarded by videos from past, uploaded by others, on Facebook, it is basically Facebook trying to give you a new addiction. These videos are different from the muted autoplay function the social networking site introduced a few days back. Facebook is expanding and posing a threat to YouTube among others.

facebook vs Youtube India
We are watching you,
dear Facebook...and you too, YouTube!!!


Pretty soon, Facebook will be a competition to YouTube. Strange but true. Vimeo and Dailymotion are nowhere as near as the threat Facebook videos pose to YouTube's. 

Earlier, people recorded offline and uploaded the videos to Facebook. The process used too much of computer resources for playing back just until four years ago. The playback is now much lighter & probably played on a  different lightweight player. I did not find any confirmation that Facebook changed its video player - but the new look and ease make it obvious. Like YouTube, Facebook is also becoming a repository of videos because of the ease of broadcasting video it provides.

Live Streaming on Facebook and YouTube

TV channels are airing their shows on both TV and Facebook at the same time. I do not watch TV but when something interesting comes up, I can watch it live on Facebook now. Earlier, live streaming was restricted to YouTube and third party websites.

The ease with which anyone can go live on Facebook is the major turning point. The mobile app of Facebook allows just about anyone - you and me - to go live whenever we want. I have checked the Android and Windows 10 app. I am sure iOS would also be good. At one of the weddings I attended recently, they live streamed the whole event on Facebook without damaging their phone. I am yet to do a live show on Facebook so I can't talk about the video quality but when I look at others' it is fairly good even on low resource machines.

You can go live on YouTube too, but that needs either special software for converting live feed into YouTube format or the Android/iOS YouTube app. The Android app of YouTube is again good for live streaming on YouTube. You don't have to use third party software when live streaming with the YouTube app for Android and iOS. I could not find any good app that I could use on my Windows 10 tablet. The YouTube Android app consumes a good amount of phone & tablet resources; heats up your phone if you are broadcasting for longer periods without break. And of course, you can go live on YouTube if your channel exceeds a certain number of subscribers - when streaming through apps.

Where does all this fit in? Well, YouTube is trying to woo the South Asian viewers to get an edge on Netflix and likes. Given that Facebook is both a social networking platform and now a live streaming site, the latter already has an edge in this (tough) competition.

Is YouTube being desperate? Yes, it is.

YouTube is so desperate for viewer base in South Asia that it is even bypassing copyright laws in case of India. It is not only allowing but also promoting new artists who are uploading commercial grade covers of just released songs.

You CANNOT do so - according to the Indian Copyright law 1957, modified 58. There must be a difference of five years before you can reuse anything related to performing arts. But the law was always abused. I mentioned it in details when covering history of electronic music in India.

According to its own rules, you need a permission from copyright holders before uploading commercial quality covers on YouTube. It seems to have forgotten the rule. Or maybe they changed it now.

According to YouTube's monetization policy, revenue from advertisements on commercial grade covers go to the original copyright holders. The covers with no or one/two instruments are okay to make money. In short, you cannot monetize commercial grade covers. But what I don't understand is the fact that covers (especially, commercial grade audio) are an open infringement of copyright laws and seems no one, including the copyright holders, has problem with that.

Coming back to Facebook, it has not forced any rules yet. It goes without saying that you should own copyright to the videos you are uploading or streaming live. It has not yet started offering advertisements but has made it pretty easy for every one to upload videos. It may start showing advertisements and overlays on the videos soon.

If you know making videos, this is the right time to invest your time into it. They'll be displaying adverts, an opportunity to earn - for you.

Competition is between Facebook and YouTube. Others like Dailymotion and Vimeo cannot even make it yet to South-Asian market. You might have seen "kuch naya dekho (Watch something new)" ads aggressively on virtually all channels...from YouTube to TV, AdSense and social media - even on Ookla's speedtest website (but excluding Facebook & Instagram feeds for obvious reasons).

~
Arun Kumar
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