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MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE, 1 p.m.) In an apparent move to reach more Filipinos here and abroad, the government has signed on to popular video-sharing site YouTube as part of its ramped-up social media efforts, officials announced Thursday.
In conjunction with the local unveiling of YouTube Philippines — the first in Southeast Asia — Presidential Communications Development & Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ricky Carandang said the government has deemed it important to strengthen its presence online, particularly in one of the most visited websites on the Internet, to inform more citizens particularly the younger populace.
“Our government recognizes the significant impact of the Internet on the quality of life of 30 million Filipino users,” Carandang said.
“The Presidential Channel provides a powerful, relevant way to demonstrate good governance and transparency — the cornerstone of his administration — and his contribution to poverty alleviation and sustainable economic growth,” he added.
Carandang said it is virtually impossible for the President to reach the more than 90 million Filipinos here and abroad, but with the help of social media, more citizens are able to view the President’s dealings and announcements.
As part of the launch, executives from Google and officials from Malacañang unveiled the Official Gazette YouTube Channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/govph) and the Radio TV Malacañang YouTube Channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/RTVMalacanang), which will house all videos gathered by different offices of the administration, including various cabinet offices and their attached agencies.
These videos include press briefings, speeches of the President, public service announcements and other multimedia material relevant to the public, and would include entire speeches instead of just short 10-minute clips.
In addition, Carandang announced that President Aquino had signified interest in joining YouTube’s World View, a series of moderated interviews with leaders from around the world, including US’s Barack Obama and the UK’s David Cameron.
World View allows citizens from around the world to ask their leaders pertinent questions about their government. Powered by Google Moderator, questions are submitted through the site and users vote on which questions they want to be answered by a particular leader to be interviewed.
“On November 4, PNoy joins World View, the first Asian leader to do so. Filipinos can submit questions via http://www.youtube.com/worldview, and users can vote on questions they want answered beginning October 21,” Carandang said.
Local content partners
Aside from Malacañang, the launch of the localized version of YouTube also saw the introduction of local television content to the site, in partnership with local broadcasting networks.
This means some content produced by TV networks — such as TV5, ABS-CBN and GMA Network — will be uploaded to the site. Is it yet to be known, however, if full episodes of news and entertainment shows will be made available.
In addition to TV content, YouTube said they had also paired up with music producers in an effort to help revive the local music industry. The company said it has signed a licensing agreement with the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (FILSCAP), which will allow music artists to earn revenue through the site.
“From now on, [our members and affiliates] will receive fair payment for the use of their works on YouTube which is a very positive step for our songwriters and publishers,” said FILSCAP General Manager Debbie Gaite.
YouTube said it has also signed on VIVA Records, PinoyTuner, Oak3, Vicor Records and Star Records as other music partners.
Rock legend and former lead guitarist of The Dawn, Francis Reyes, now of PinoyTuner, one of the top local partners, said this initiative with YouTube is “extremely amazing” not only for young music companies like them, but for the entire music industry as well.
“It’s no secret that the music industry has been suffering [a lot lately],” Reyes said. “There are even artists like Lady Gaga who are suffering from declining sales. What more for the Filipinos who are recognized as very excellent musicians but remain undiscovered?”
Monetizing user videos
However, to the ordinary YouTube video artists out there, fret not, for these top content providers are not the only ones who can earn money from the content they upload to the site.
Gautam Anand, director for content partnership for Google Asia Pacific said that with the localization of YouTube in the country, the ordinary Juan dela Cruz with a video camera and impressive content could also earn from the YouTube Partner Program.
“Historically, unless we’ve locally launched, we don’t monetize videos. Now, we can start monetizing all content we have in the Philippines, and start selling to advertisers for all content consumed in the country,” Anand explained.
To become a YouTube partner, the Google executive said users would just have to log on to the sign-up page (http://www.youtube.com/creators/partner.html).
“We’re very excited about that entire ecosystem,” he said. “We hope more Filipino users would utilize YouTube to express themselves.”
To celebrate the official launch of YouTube Philippines, the main YouTube site featured a sidebar on its homepage dedicated to videos of popular Filipino celebrity icons, such as singer Charice Pempengco and boxer Rep. Manny Pacquiao.
“YouTube is officially launched in the Philippines! Stay tuned as the Philippines YouTube community shares its amazing creativity,” the sidebar text said.
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