Thailand is the latest stop for YouTube, after the Google-owned company introduced a localized version of its site and its YouTube Partner Program in the country.
The move will allow the company to work more closely with local content producers to help export their work across Thailand and the rest of the world. The company will also begin working with local advertisers to place ad spots inside content on Youtube.co.th.
Ariya Banomyong, who heads the company in Thailand, outlined the potential of the localized initiatives in a blog post:
We hope that bringing this program and the fully localized YouTube site to Thailand will help encourage more Thai talent to come online, and make it easier for Thai communities to find and fall in love with more local content.
YouTube has been an important medium for spreading K-Pop worldwide, and Banomyong points to VRZO as one Thai YouTube company demonstrating the potential. VRZO has over 100 staff, its channel has over 2 million subscribers, and its 124 episodes have racked up over 400 million views.
Internet users in Thailand are among some of the most active on YouTube — for example Thailand is the second biggest watcher of hit video Gangnam Style, behind only the US.
But Thailand hasn’t been an easy market for YouTube, since it (and parent Google) has agreed to government requests to block a number of videos on the site which infringe its lèse majesté laws against defamation of the royal family. Google has had an office in Thailand since 2011, but it’s unclear whether a local YouTube presence will mean closer co-operation with local authorities.
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Image via Rego Korosi / Flickr