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A Philippine version of YouTube was officially unveiled on Thursday, becoming the first localized flavor of the online video site in Southeast Asia and the 34th in the world. YouTube, which is owned by Internet giant Google, cited the prolific video habits of Filipinos in launching the localized service and noted the discovery of Filipino singing artists Charice and Arnel Pineda through the site. Charice, who rocketed to fame after being discovered in a YouTube video while singing in a Korean talent contest, sent a video message for the launch during the event held at the Blue Leaf Tent in Taguig City. The YouTube Philippines site offers a local interface and aggregates videos that are relevant to Filipinos. Users can go to the localized site by choosing “The Philippines" as the location setting at the bottom of the YouTube homepage.
To provide a unique feel, the video site signed up local content partners which include TV networks GMA, ABS-CBN, and TV5, as well as the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (Filscap) and multinational Procter and Gamble. Also launched during the event are the updated presidential channels from Pres. Noynoy Aquino III at www.youtube.com/govph and www.youtube.com/rtvmalacanang. Company executives also disclosed Aquino will participate in YouTube’s World View live interview series where the questions come directly from citizens. Aquino will be the first Asian head of state to participate in the program on November 4, officials said. US Pres. Barack Obama is also scheduled to take in the online interview series. Julian Persaud, managing director for Google Southeast Asia, said video sharing in the Philippine is one of the highest in the Asean region. “The Philippine online population is even bigger than the actual population of most countries in Southeast Asia," Persuad noted. Adam Smith, head of YouTube for Asia Pacific, added that Filipinos upload tremendous amount of videos to YouTube – also one of the highest daily averages among Internet users. Despite its increasing presence in the country, Google executives refused to comment if it has plans of putting up a local office. The company is currently represented in the country by a consultant, Aileen Apollo. Google executives said the local YouTube channel has the capability to livestream local events such as concerts. Last year, a concert of Irish rock band U2 was also broadcast to the global audience via YouTube. As for local partners GMA-7 and ABS-CBN, the networks said they would put many – but not all – of their TV shows on the online video site. The content providers expect to generate revenues when advertisements are displayed in their videos uploaded in YouTube. YouTube also described its Content Identification technology that will find unauthorized uploads of content owned by its partners, who would then have the option of either deactivating it or counting the page views as their own and collecting any revenues from the pirated videos. Filscap, meanwhile, signed a deal with YouTube to allow Filipino music artists and composers to receive payments from their associations when rights holders distribute them. Ricky Carandang, head of the presidential communications group, said the two YouTube presidential channels would also give Filipinos here and abroad the ability to expose corruption and the same time showcase their talent. “Since it is impossible to reach all of our people, this initiative would provide a powerful, relevant way to inform our countrymen what this administration is doing," said Carandang. With the localized site in the Philippines, the company also announced that opening of the YouTube Partner Program to enable regular video content creators in the country to become content partners with YouTube and monetize their work on the site through advertising. Content creators will be able to apply online for the program at http://www.youtube.com/creators/partner.html. — Newsbytes.ph