Vishal Maheshwari, APAC Head At Yahoo Talks About ‘Yahoo! Video'[Interview]

Vishal Maheshwari, APAC Head At Yahoo Talks About 'Yahoo! Video'[Interview]


2011 we saw a lot of development in online videos. Online Video was the hot pick and companies such as Google, Yahoo, etc. have tried to test their luck. If we were excited to see the launch of Boxoffice, Youtube then it was also the time for the dark horse of Internet business Yahoo to come up with Movieplex. I was thinking that we might see some more competitors jumping onto the arena but then Yahoo gave one more surprise. In the age of consumption of free content, Yahoo launched ‘Yahoo Video’, a dedicated premium video destination. The obvious reaction by the junta was that it is an absurd move and won’t survive because when we can get premium HD quality videos for free then why would someone pay for it.

yahoo video logo

With the same thoughts I got in touch with Yahoo India for an email interview .Vishal Maheshwari, Senior Director & Head of Sales, Yahoo India was quite cool to answer our queries that are shared below:


1. Yahoo has recently launched licensed premium video content. What has been the objective behind this move?

One of the interesting things about India is its collective focus on the audio-visual media. We find a growing appetite for online video - across Movies, TV Shows and Sports, amongst other categories. Over 30 million Internet users in India consume online video regularly, leading to over 1.8 Billion video streams every month.

As the premier digital media company and a category leader in the online entertainment space, Yahoo! is committed to bring premium video content to its users and the launch of Yahoo! Video is a critical step towards meeting the growing appetite of Indian online users.

‘Yahoo! Video’, a dedicated premium video destination offers original content across multiple genres such as News, Entertainment, Lifestyle and Movies. It delivers a high quality video experience, free for all Internet users in India and guarantees a trusted and safe environment for publishers and content providers to host their valuable content.

2. As a user I get all kinds of content on Youtube from HD quality content to normal videos. So how would you create user attraction to a premium model?

While the demand for online video content has been increasing, a clear lack in the current market is the availability of original, licensed videos. You will find most of the online video destinations cluttered with random content, within which the authentic content gets lost.

The difference with Yahoo! Video is that it offers strictly original content, across Movies, News, TV Shows, Finance, Lifestyle and Entertainment. Yahoo! Video is piracy-free and provides a trusted and safe environment for content producers to host their content. In turn this ensures a high-quality user experience, and a clutter-free environment.

As the premier digital media company, we are committed to bringing people closer to their passions. Our strong programming and the deep consumer insights that lie beneath ensure that we offer only premium content on the site. We have signed up with 35 key Movie, TV and News partners to ensure that we get original content which are of interest to our audience. When most existing video destinations are piracy ridden, Yahoo! Video is a bold step towards organizing the online video category. With its licensed, original and diverse content, Yahoo! Video promises an unparalleled experience to Indian users.

3. I believe you have tied up with 35 partners in India for this launch but at the same time some of the partners have their video sites where they provide free content. As a user what can I get more here from Yahoo’s new model?

Yahoo! Video lets the user consume content across multiple genres such as movies, news, entertainment, lifestyle and sports, providing access to an archive of thousands of videos, which are easily discoverable. It offers an unmatchable viewing experience and also Yahoo!’s reach to over 80 percent of the Indian Internet audience. The editorial and programming capability on Yahoo! network helps connect people to their passions – resulting in serendipitous discovery of content, which they otherwise would perhaps not come across. These are the clear advantages that Yahoo! Video drives. To add to this is the fact that content producers trust us with their valuable content, as it is hosted in a completely piracy-free and clutter-free environment.

4. Do you have plans to bring in regional content going forth and are you going to provide access to NRI’s too?

Currently this destination can be only accessed from India. We definitely plan to bring in a lot of regional content not just on Video but on the entire Yahoo! network. Today, our partnerships with leading content producers allow us access to over 3000 videos across 7 different languages. Yahoo! is available in Hindi, Marathi and Tamil, and going forward we will offer our content in 3 other Indian languages.  Localizing content and offering multiple languages is definitely an area of focus for us in India.

5. How do you plan to monetize apart from ads? Do you plan to provide customized space for brands to engage with users?

Yahoo! Video provides an unparalleled opportunity for advertisers to connect with their target audiences through innovative and cross-screen video ad formats such as Clickable ads, Interactive ads, In-Banner ads, Smart Ads for Videos, and Log-in Page ad. Research shows that users have higher engagement with video ads as compared to tradition display advertisements. Hence, we are bullish about the advantage we bring to the advertisers.  At this point, we monetize only through advertising and at no cost to the consumer.

6. A few months ago, Yahoo had also launched Yahoo Movieplex and now the premium video content model. Going further, how do you see both of them growing?

Movieplex is a part of Yahoo! Video and it offers full-length movie viewing for free. On Yahoo! Video, we have access to over 3000 movies in 7 languages and we are uploading new titles in a phased manner.  Overall our focus is to continue to offer original and licensed content through strengthening our partnership base and capitalizing on our core editorial and programming capability, backed by technology which drives personalization.  Videos and Languages are key pillars on which we are building our premium content, and you will continue to see developments in these areas.

7. Is the future this - when a Bollywood movie is released across all theaters in India, it is also released on Yahoo Movieplex?

Well, why not? It is definitely a possibility. We partner with the leading content producers in the country to host their valuable content on Yahoo! Video. If there is an opportunity where we can have a simultaneous online release along with the theatre release, then we will definitely want to partner on that. Recently, Shemaroo Entertainment tied-up with us for an exclusive online release of the kid’s animation movie “Super K” on Movieplex, as they found the online media of increasing relevance to their audience. With more and more people migrating towards the digital medium for consuming entertainment content in the form of videos and movies, production houses will definitely increase their attention to the medium and the trend of online releases will continue to surge.


Thanks Vishal for answering our queries. I believe that 2012 will provide clearer picture in terms of how many active users are actually using ‘Yahoo Video’. Regional content is going to interest a lot of people in India and Yahoo does have a great prospect here.

So will you prefer to watch the latest movies and premium content on Yahoo Video or would you still prefer free sites. I would opt in only if you give me exciting and exclusive content, how about you?