Google has announced that YouTube watchers in Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will start seeing a new homepage from this week. While YouTube has been available in Nepali, Sinhalese and Urdu for a while, the new pages have tailored content specific to those three countries. They also have country-specific domains.
Most-watched videos like Nai Nabhannu La 3 in Nepal, the Coke Studio channel in Pakistan and the Amazing Sri Lankan Spiderman will now show up in the top content for their respective countries, making them even easier to find.
With more local content finding their way to their viewers’ home-pages, YouTube hopes it will help inspire more local creators to get involved, and help them get discovered more easily.
While Google is keen to advertise its ‘tailored’ new home pages, there is a more interesting sub-plot here. YouTube has been banned in Pakistan since 2012, a ban which was re-inforced last February when the government said it would remain banned indefinitely. At the time, a Pakistan official said that “no tool or solution has been found which can totally block offensive content, that is why YouTube remains blocked and it will remain so indefinitely.”
With a dedicated Pakistan home page, perhaps Google is hoping it can persuade the government to lift the ban.