NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 7 – Online video platform YouTube has launched the localised version of the site, dubbed YouTube Kenya.
On average YouTube videos are viewed over three billion times daily, with 70 percent of traffic originating from outside the United States, a trend the new Kenyan domain is promoting by offering content that is most relevant to locals.
Speaking during the launch, Google Kenya’s Country Manager Olga Arara-Kimani said YouTube Kenya will enable Kenyans to create a new virtual space for the national community giving local users the opportunity to increase their exposure.
“We strongly believe that there are remarkable reserves within the country from music, educational tips, news and self-help tips. Content that is archived somewhere; Content that someone is waiting to develop and put out,” she said.
YouTube Kenya will still offer the same video content from around the world that was available before the launch, through a local interface.
However, this does not give access to video content that is restricted to specific territories due to rights management, as some companies do not have the global rights that allow them to freely stream.
Content uploaded by users in Kenya will show up as browse pages on the YouTube Kenya site.
Kenya is the second country in sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa, to receive a localised YouTube site that will be available in Kiswahili as well.
Ministry of Information and Communications Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo said the government has already embarked on initiatives to meet the growing local demand for social media content.
“We’ve actually rolled out digital villages. We want to hear what they are saying on the ground. From now on as we work on the last mile solutions, as far as infrastructure, you are going to see a super revolution out of Africa. There is hunger in Africa in terms of the content out there that we’re not seeing,” he said.
The digital villages are electronic centres, known as Pasha Centres that are the brainchild of the Ministry of Information and the Kenya ICT board.
The Pasha Centres will serve as hubs that provide a host of services to the public via computers connected to the Internet, or by using and marketing other ICT-enabled applications.
With over 400 million mobile views a day on the video platform worldwide, YouTube Partnerships Manager Tal Sela said the company will engage more Kenyan mobile users as viewership on the site continues to grow.
“We’ve made our mobile technology one that is easier to consume, faster to stream and allow users to upload their experiences which they capture on video phones. So they can not only watch videos but also share videos through mobile phones,” he said.
In Kenya, over 60 percent of the population use a mobile phone with an estimated 4.7 million Internet subscribers primarily using mobile devices to access the web.
To cater to users with low-speed Internet connections, YouTube is currently testing its light version, called YouTube Feather that includes the site’s most basic features allowing videos play faster.