By GABEY GOHbytz@thestar.com.my
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians clock up over one million video hours a day and over one billion hours a month on Google's videosharing platform, YouTube.
These numbers were shared during the launch of YouTube Malaysia, a localised site for Malaysians to easily find videos most relevant to them, including expanded content from local and global partners.
"Over the last few years Malaysians have been watching YouTube in huge numbers, and by launching a version of the site optimised for Malaysia, we aim to create an even more relevant local YouTube experience," said Adam Smith, director of product management for YouTube, Asia-Pacific.
The site is intended to create a new online space for the local community and give Malaysian creators the opportunity to increase their exposure.
Calling the localised site "long overdue," Google Malaysia country manager Sajith Sivanandan noted that YouTube is a natural fit for a "country so inherently multi-cultural."
"We continue to be amazed by how completely and thoroughly all sectors of society have embraced the Net. One area where we see Malaysians taking the lead is in contributing local content," said Sajith, adding that the company's investment in the country and region continues to be a long-term priority.
In conjunction with the launch, YouTube also forged partnership agreements with media companies Astro Malaysia and KRU Studios.
The agreement with Astro sees selected content from free satellite TV service Njoi being made available via YouTube, while KRU Studios' collaboration will allow the home-grown media and entertainment company to expand its reach and tap into the global market.
In addition, YouTube has also signed a licensing agreement that will allow Malaysian musicians and composers represented by the collecting society Music Author's Copyright Protection (MACP) to earn revenue on YouTube.
Revenue is generated when advertisements are displayed against YouTube partner's videos. Under this agreement, Malaysian authors will now receive payments from their associations when rights holders distribute them.
According to Smith, YouTube's individual Partner Program, a revenue-sharing program that allows creators and producers of original content to earn money from their popular videos and relevant advertisements, is not yet available in Malaysia.
He declined to give a timeframe but said the company is working on opening it up to the local market as soon as possible.
Users can visit Malaysia site by choosing "Malaysia" as the location setting at the bottom of the YouTube.com homepage or going directly to www.youtube.com.my.