NEW DELHI: Many advertisers will launch branded channels on YouTube during the course of 2014 as online video consumption grows rapidly, industry figures have predicted.

"I won't be surprised if 60-70 brands sign up on YouTube in the coming few months," Atul Hegde, chief executive at the independent digital firm Ignitee Digital Solutions, told Livemint.

He said all brands needed to capitalise on the opportunity presented by increased video consumption, which doubled between March 2011 and March 2013. "And by that I mean they can no longer just put up ads on YouTube, they will have to create content to connect with the consumer," he added.

Depending on the brand, that could include such things as self-help videos, television shows sponsored by brands and video blogs by celebrities.

Dabur, a maker of food, health and personal care products, has started three YouTube channels in the last three months, each focusing on a different product segment. Devendra Garg, senior executive director in the consumer care business, explained the channel was important to reaching the target audience as 40% of YouTube users were women in the top socio-economic categories.

"With more and more women using YouTube as 'catch-up TV', this trend is going to continue further," he said.

CPG firm ITC has indicated it is planning a recipe channel to push its foods business while car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki intends starting a channel "sooner rather than later".

And Dentsu Digital is also considering the creation of a video channel for its new client Gatsby, a Japanese male grooming products brand. "These branded channels will become a more cost-effective mode of accessing consumers globally through videos," noted Glen Ireland, the agency's CEO.

He added that online video advertising had grown massively. "I would say it has certainly doubled from last year," he said. "All brands have hugely started connecting with the platform."

"Most brands see YouTube as an extension of their television advertising," according to Gopa Menon, associate vice-president at digital media agency Isobar, part of Aegis Media.

He also highlighted YouTube's TrueView format which gave viewers control over whether they watched an ad or not. "Advertisers find this effective because of its sharper return on investment as they only pay for the ads that are watched by the users," he explained.

Data sourced from Livemint; additional content by Warc staff