YouTube’s interest in fostering a global audience has led it to South Korea, where it is launching a localized version of an American initiative that has offered some promising returns. During an address at Google’s Singapore office, YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl discuss his company’s plans for the Asian market. Among other designs, the video site has launched its first YouTube Red original in Korea, with K-pop band Big Bang taking the starring role.
The original series in question is titled Run, BIGBANG Scout!, and it is essentially a vehicle through which the five members of the titular group can share their personalities with viewers. Already, the official Big Bang YouTube channel has more than seven million subscribers and upwards of 3.4 billion views, and with the launch of the band’s original series, Kyncl expects those numbers to rise. “Creators featured in Originals get a significant boost in YouTube subscribers and watch time on their main channels as well,” Kyncl said.
As with YouTube Red originals in America, programs like Run, BIGBANG Scout! require a subscription to watch. The East Asian nation’s version of YouTube Red launched last year and costs 7,900 won, which translates to about $6.95. Two episodes of Big Bang’s new show are out now, with four more set to arrive over the next four weeks.
Originals aren’t the only way through which YouTube is serving its Asian audience. The site’s YouTube Go feature recently launched for bandwidth-strapped customers in India, and Kyncl discussed a data checking tool available in Malaysia as well. “We’re constantly trying to remove friction from the system, whether it’s advertisers, users, or telcos,” he said.