If you are a YouTube creator in India, short-form content is the way forward for subscriber growth in the future.
That's the key takeaway from YouTube's annual list of top creators in the country, based on the number of subscribers gained in 2022.
The Google-owned platform, on December 5, announced its 2022 list of India's top creators, breakout creators, and women breakout creators, along with a yearly recap of the top 10 trending videos, music videos, and short videos.
About half of the top 20 creators have made only short videos in the past year, a Moneycontrol analysis of the list provided by YouTube shows.
Several other creators have been prolific with minute-long videos while also making a few long-form videos in the past year. Only a single creator in the list solely focused on long-form content.
In response to a Moneycontrol query, YouTube said this list is based on the number of subscribers gained in India this year. It excludes artists, brands, media companies, and children's content, with a single channel per creator.
Shorts Break, a YouTube channel that offers short comedy videos, topped the list, with about 16.8 million subscribers at the time of writing this article.
This was followed by creators Akshay Nagwadiya (14.7 million) and Gulshan Kalra (17.9 million subscribers). YouTube has not disclosed specific numbers on the subscriber growth these creators have witnessed during this year.
Sketches across various genres such as humour, pranks, motivational and drama dominated the list of top short videos for the year.
To be sure, industry executives and creators have previously told Moneycontrol that services such as YouTube's bite-sized video feature Shorts have helped creators grow their subscriber base dramatically faster as compared to creators who are making long-form content on the platform.
For instance, Shorts Break opened its YouTube channel in July 2021, as per its channel page, indicating that it has added 16.8 million subscribers in a span of nearly one and half years, a feat that typically takes several years for long-form creators.
Ajay Vidyasagar, Regional Director-Asia Pacific, YouTube Partnerships, told Moneycontrol in September 2022 that creator channels uploading both Shorts and long-form content are seeing better overall watch-time and subscriber growth as compared to those only uploading long-form content.
This trend is evident in the company's list of "breakout creators", those whose YouTube channels have more than tripled their subscriber base this year in India.
It excludes artists, brands, media companies, and children's content with a single channel per creator.
A majority of the creators on the list have focused primarily on short-form videos this year, but they have also actively created long-form videos, leading to a trend the company terms "multi-format creators".
While Hyderabad-based creator Harsha Sai topped the list of "breakout creators" Indore-based Jaanvi Patel was the top creator in the list of women breakout creators for the year.
This development comes amid a significant jump in the consumption of short videos in the country, which has also spurned rivalry with Facebook parent Meta (Reels) and local rivals such as ShareChat (Moj and Takatak), VerSe Innovation's Josh and InMobi's Roposo, among others.
Most of these services have emerged after the suspension of Bytedance's TikTok in India in June 2020.
As competition heats up in the sector, Shorts will likely play a crucial role for YouTube in attracting the next wave of creators.
Vidyasagar had previously told Moneycontrol that the feature had fuelled video creation in India's Tier 2, 3 and 4 cities, helping them go deeper into the country's hinterland.
YouTube could also have an upper edge over its rivals when it comes to helping creators monetise content.
Starting early 2023, Shorts-focused creators will be able to join the YouTube Partner Program, enabling them to make money through different formats on the platform, the company announced on September 20.
The video-sharing platform will start sharing advertising revenues with Shorts creators from early 2023. Those with more than 1,000 subscribers and at least 10 million views on their short videos over 90 days will be able to apply.
None of the other platforms have a revenue-sharing arrangement with short video creators at present, though Facebook had announced a limited pilot to test sharing of advertising revenue with creators last year.
2022's top trending videos
In terms of the overall trending YouTube videos in India this year, Age of Water, a dystopian comedy by YouTube channel Round2Hell was at the top of the list, followed by Sasta Shark Tank, a parody of the television reality series Shark Tank India by popular creator Ashish Chanchlani.
YouTube stated this list was based on views generated by videos uploaded in 2022 from viewers in India. It excludes Shorts, music videos, trailers and children's videos, with a single video per creator.
On the other hand, songs from the popular Telugu action-drama film Pushpa made up for four of the top 10 music videos for the year, with Srivalli taking the top spot and Saami Saami taking the third spot. Oo Antava and its Hindi version Oo Bolega were at seventh and sixth positions, respectively.
The lyrical version of Tamil film Beast's Arabic Kuthu song took the second spot while the music video of the same song was at the ninth position. Other songs that made it to the list were the remixed version of the Kacha Badam and Coke Studio song Pasoori.
YouTube stated that the list of top music videos was based on views generated by those videos that were uploaded in 2022 from viewers in India, excluding views that were driven by paid advertising.