10 years later, YouTube is a hit but faces challenges
- Ten years after its launch, YouTube has become a household name for online video but faces an array of rivals in the market and lingering questions about its business model.
- The first video uploaded April 23, 2005 — an 18-second clip of co-founder Jawed Karim at the San Diego Zoo — offered little indication the service would become the leader in Internet video and a key part of the Google empire. A decade later, YouTube has more than one billion users, with localized service in 75 countries and 61 languages.
- Some 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and “every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views,” according to the YouTube statistics page. Google is reserving its 10-year anniversary celebration for May 10, marking the day the site went public, a spokesman told. But analysts and others were talking about the milestone.
- YouTube played a key role in the Arab Spring uprisings and other political movements. It has faced bans in some countries, notably for the distribution of a film about Muhammad which offended some Muslims, and has faced criticism for being used to distribute unauthorized copyrighted content.
- Rayburn said that even though YouTube was immensely popular around the world, it was not clear if it had a real business model.
- Google bought YouTube in 2006 for some $1.6 billion in stock — raising eyebrows about what was then the Internet firm’s biggest acquisition — and now generates considerable revenue, but also has high costs. “Even today, Google will not say if YouTube is profitable,” Rayburn noted. “But 90 per cent of analysts say it is not profitable.”
- Rayburn said that even though YouTube popularised the idea of online video, the videos are mainly “user generated content” that does not attract revenue from users or advertisers. “To stream premium content like films and television programs, people go to Netflix or Hulu or iTunes,” he said. “YouTube has struggled to find its core business. The vast amount of content on it cannot be monetised.”
- But a report by Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne earlier this year said YouTube was “a high-growth, valuable asset” for Google with tremendous potential. The report said YouTube generated some $4.7 billion in revenue in 2014, and that it could do even better by investing in premium content — such as the paid video channels it recently unveiled and other kinds of subscriptions.
BSNL offers free landline calls at night
- The State-owned BSNL on April 23 introduced unlimited free calls during night hours.
- The scheme, effective from May 1, allows one to make calls free of cost to any operator, including of mobile phones, anywhere in the country between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. It covers all types of connections, BSNL said in a statement.
- “We are modernising our landline business and want to resurrect it,” said BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava.
- “There is no end date fixed for this scheme. We will review it after six months,” said Mr. Shrivastava.
Alam back in jail
- The Jammu & Kashmir government on Wednesday evening booked Hurriyat leader Masarat Alam under the Public Safety Act (PSA), rendering irrelevant his pending bail plea which was to come up in court on April 25.
- Alam was released last month after being detained for four-and-a-half years under six consecutive PSAs.
- This is the 26th time Alam is being booked under the Act since 1990. According to senior police officials, in the last 25 years, Alam has spent more than 17 years in jail under the PSA, which allows detention of a person for two years on mere suspicion.
- The Peoples Democratic Party on April 23 defended the use of this ‘extra-judicial law’, the one they were critical of during their time in the Opposition. “We are not backing away from our claims of ‘battle of ideas’, but Alam did not deserve anything but PSA,” PDP spokesperson Waheed Parra told The Hindu . “We have to see that nothing derails the tourism industry.”
- Alam was arrested on April 17 for participating in a pro-Independence rally where pro-Pakistan slogans and flags were raised.
Hurriyat Leader, Masarat Alam
Gorkha Rifles complete 200 years of valiant service
- The famed Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army known for their Khukris and their ‘Aayo Gorkhali’ battle cry complete 200 years of their raising on April 24.
- The Gorkhas were first recruited by the East India Company and later fought under the British in several battles including World War I and II and continued in the Indian Army after Independence.
- The first regiment was raised by Sir Robert Colquhuon on April 24, 1815 with men from Gorkhas, Kumaon and Garhwal regions. Two battalions, 1/1 GR and 1/3 GR, were raised.
- “Only a few others including the Madras and Grenadiers Regiments (1758), Punjab Regiment (1761), Rajputana Rifles (1775), Rajput Regiment (1778), Jat Regiment (1795) and Kumaon Regiment (1813) are among the other native infantry regiments that preceded them,” said an officer.
- Currently there are about 30,000 Nepalese Gorkhas serving in the seven Gorkha regiments of the Indian Army with their motto being: “ Kafar hunu bhanda marnu ramro! (It's better to die than be a coward!)”.
- The Gorkhas are highly decorated having earned 117 gallantry and distinguished awards since Independence including an Ashoka and Kirti Chakra, two Shaurya Chakras and a Padma Bhushan among others.
- India’s first Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw belongs to this regiment as does the current Army Chief General Dalbir Singh.
Clinton, Rubio lead in 2016 U.S. poll survey
- Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio are early frontrunners to become the next president of the United States, according to a well-regarded poll released April 23.
- Clinton -- a celebrity former secretary of state, first lady and New York senator -- who is bidding to become America's first female president, is head-and-shoulders above her 2016 Democratic party rivals according to a Quinnipiac University poll.
- She has the backing of 60 percent of Democrats, according to the survey, with her nearest potential rival, Vice President Joe Biden trailing on 10 percent.
- At first blush, that would appear to be superb news for Clinton supporters, who were shocked to lose the party nomination to Barack Obama in 2008.
- But Clinton's seemingly unassailable lead has the party faithful worried that a meek primary campaign will leave her far from battled hardened by the time the general election campaign against the Republican nominee begins.
- Perhaps more concerning for Clintonites will be Quinnipiac's finding that more than half of all voters polled say the 67-year-old is not trustworthy.
Unequal scales for juveniles
- It is unfortunate that the government seems determined to introduce legal provisions to ensure that children between the ages of 16 and 18 are tried as adults if they commit heinous offences such as murder and rape.
- Ever since a juvenile offender was given a ‘light’ sentence in the Delhi gang rape case of 2012 under the existing child-friendly laws, there has been a clamour to treat juveniles involved in heinous crimes as adults.
- A fresh Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill introduced in the Lok Sabha last year contained clauses that many child rights activists and groups disapproved of.
- A Standing Committee of Parliament recommended a review and reconsideration of all clauses that sought to carve out an exception for children in the 16-18 age group and subject them to the rigours of regular criminal procedure.
- However, the amended Bill now cleared by the Cabinet retains the clause that provides that when a heinous crime is committed by one in this age group, the Juvenile Justice Board will assess whether the crime has been committed as a ‘child’ or as an ‘adult’. The trial would take place on the basis of this assessment. The present framework classifies offences as petty, serious and heinous and treats each category under a different process.
- The government claims that since this assessment will be done with the help of psychologists and social experts, the rights of the juvenile would be protected. It remains to be seen if enough numbers of such professionals would be available across the country to make this work.
- It should not be forgotten that making children face an adult criminal court would mar the prospect of their rehabilitation. The Supreme Court has not seen any special reason to amend the present juvenile law. Nor did the Justice J.S. Verma Committee, which made far- reaching recommendations on the legal framework for treating sexual offences, suggest such changes. The government should stick by the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which treats everyone up to 18 as a child.
- To the government's credit, it has held some consultations with stakeholders before finalising its latest draft. It has heeded the Parliamentary Committee’s objection to Clause 7, and dropped the arbitrary provision that a person who had committed an offence when aged between 16 and 18 but was apprehended only after crossing the age of 21 would be treated and tried as an adult. However, this is not enough. The government would do well to drop its attempt to have a differential system for those involved in ‘heinous offences’. Instead, it should pursue the other forward-looking aspects of the bill, which has welcome features for the care and protection of children that can help them significantly through provisions such as those for foster homes and a better-regulated adoption mechanism.