The Thai-specific homepage, launched last week, helps discover and promote local content, and is therefore expected to help push local brands to a more prominent position on the site. Thai advertisers now have the option of setting up a local channel to host all their content, targeting specific video content using Trueview in-stream ads or buying the YouTube homepage masthead.
“Having a Thai-specific homepage means we can bring the 67 million citizens the most relevant videos to the Thai people—sounds like a pretty great way to celebrate everything we love about Thailand this Songkran,” Pornthip Kongchuan, head of marketing, Google Thailand, wrote on the company’s official blog. (The country is celebrating the Songkran new year holiday this week.)
Video consumption in Thailand is growing at a fast clip. Thailand’s internet users spend twice as much time online as they do watching television.
According to a 2013 Comscore study, the online video audience in Southeast Asia grew around 8 per cent in the past year, YouTube continues to be the top video property in all markets. Music, movies and entertainment sites get more visitors and time spent than global averages. In Thailand, You Tube receives 7.289 million unique users—well above countries like Indonesia, Singapore and Philippines. Other popular video sites in Thailand are Mthai.com, Dailymotion, Vevo and the iTunes Software application.
The Comscore study also revealed that internet users in Vietnam and Thailand, driven in part by their younger populations, spend the greatest amount of time online: 74 per cent of Thailand’s population is under 35.
“Thailand has the highest you tube penetration in SEA and the Thais love to watch their video content," Rochelle Chaya, head of digital with Omnicom Media Group in Thailand, told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "The localized site now gives brands the opportunity to connect to the audience and not just push advertising to them. Content is king and now through content creation and aggregation brands will have a new playing field.”
YouTube is currently localised in 61 countries across 61 languages including India, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.
As Thailand is closed for Songkran, Piotr Jakobowksi, head of digital at VML Qais Indonesia, commented on what a localised YouTube site has meant for that country. "Since YouTube Indonesia launched in 2012, it has seen a meteoric rise in its audience, due mainly to dropping smartphone and data prices," he said. "Indonesians now have more immediate access to contextually relevant content for the local market—and more content will continue to be posted. As part of this cycle, more and more people will be inspired to contribute and create content, making the content base for Indonesia even richer."