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Thais take to YouTube

News, 11 June 2015

BANGKOK: In the year that YouTube has offered a dedicated home page for Thailand it has seen watch time grow 110% while there has been a 50% uplift in the amount of videos being uploaded by partners and creators according to a leading executive.

"We have a very strong content partner and creator ecosystem in Thailand," said Ariya Banomyong, country head of Google Thailand.

"The reason YouTube is so popular is because of the content," he told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "Without the content, we would be nothing. We just created the platform."

Brands have latched on to the surge in popularity of the site and looked to both learn from content creators and to tap into their fan bases.

Content creators and brands both want to see their content shared, Banomyong noted. "The shareability is one success criteria of good content and video," he added. "It's part of the paid, earned, owned media strategy and you don't want to be on 100% paid media."

Another aspect of the YouTube experience in Thailand is that half of the watch time takes place on mobile. And Banomyong claimed that most people would cite YouTube as one of their top three mobile apps.

He also professed himself surprised at how experimental Thai marketers are. "They're unusually open to learning and trying new things," he said "I think it's the culture of Thai people – all the brands in our ad leaderboard are extremely adventurous."

Campaign Asia-Pacific highlighted some of the other characteristics that emerged from a study of that leaderboard, including how authentically Thai they are and their use of local YouTube stars.

They are also specifically made for digital, with around 80% lasting far longer than the traditional 20- or 30-second TV slot. At an average of four minutes, this was twice the average length across the region.

Banomyong also suggested that YouTube was a way to build audiences in Thailand, citing the example of TV talent show The Voice which has received over 400m views on YouTube.

He explained that the broadcaster uploaded the singing battles on the show to YouTube within five minutes of them being aired. "They've done that consistently and built a fan base that has gone on to impact the show on television."

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff