India is experiencing a steady growth in the number of digital media content producers with more than 460 million internet users. And on Google’s online video streaming site, YouTube, Indian women lead the way with video’s on cars, technology, gaming, and farming— traditionally unrelated to their gender-informed Quartz India Marc Lefkowitz, APAC’s head of YouTube creator and artist growth.
The company kicked off its first-ever #WomenToWatch workshop in India last week to help more women on YouTube and entertained over 700 artists at its Pop-Up Space in New Delhi. “We have been and will continue to invest in expanding the diverse women creator community of YouTube so we can see many others joining our established stars,” Lefkowitz said in a post-event telephone conversation.
Lefkowitz also provided insights into how Indian content creators make their mark, among other items, in the constantly changing world of digital media. Edited conversation excerpts:
Do you think YouTube’s platform has enough women creators?
Female content creators on YouTube have seen a significant increase from almost zero female content creators in 2015 to just one in 2016, three in 2017, to now a growing community of over 120 in 2019. Traditionally male-dominated verticals such as Moto Vlogging, tech and gaming are becoming increasingly popular with female creators.
It’s really important to have these role models, so I’m here to help them and inspire them. And while creating an opportunity for them, we will ensure that the next generation will have enough role models.
What is the reason for an increase in the number of female content creators on YouTube?
For us, investing in a diverse ecosystem is significant. We are therefore making a concerted effort to illustrate entirely how creators can shine. We have on our trending section a “creators on the rise” shelf that highlights creators with 100,000 subscribers. In terms of developers who have highlighted on this shelf, we have seen a 60 percent increase this year. And in 2019, 48 percent of all designers are female.
YouTube NextUp has also driven the rise of many female makers. We have initiatives such as channel memberships, super chat, and pop-ups from YouTube to help creators currency.
Many creators find their voices and create content about uncomfortable topics to break the taboo. For example, the mom of YouTuber Sejal Kumar is a gynecologist and she often creates content with her mom and she has found a great follower. Then there are designers who spread awareness about tribal women’s issues and spread a message of body positivity. We ensure that they receive full support and that they can reach out to more women.
What are some of the unconventional verticals where women creators have made a mark in?
We are now seeing motor vlogging channels run by women, which is really fascinating and has started to take off on the web. The whole field of gaming has started to burst in India and we are seeing gamers of women. The tag is also created by farming makers. There is, for example, a woman creator who, together with her husband, is happy about farming and raising the animals on her farm.
How receptive are the audience towards these verticles?
With a niche audience, this kind of content starts and then it explodes. It had a niche audience when you look at the food genre years ago. I think female gamers will really make a mark this year. A tag will also be created by engine vloggers. If I speak to you next year, we’ll probably see these people coming across the platform to a wider section.
How is India doing in terms of content in comparison to their Asian countries?
India has been leading the way since the last year. We’ve seen some of India’s viral trends and then going beyond them. I’m sure we’re going to see more and more developments coming from India and hitting the other parts of Asia by next year.