Kazakh YouTube Thrives Locally, Eyes Global Expansion, Says Entrepreneur

ASTANA – Kazakh-language content on YouTube is picking up steam in the domestic media space. At the same time, it should venture into overseas markets, said the CEO of YouTube Genesis Creator Service Provider (CSP) Zangar Boztayev. In an interview with The Astana Times, he spoke about the role of YouTube in Kazakhstan’s media agenda, challenges in content production, and its internationalization.   

Zangar Boztayev.

Genesis CSP, a certified partner of YouTube in Central Asia and India, helps publishers and brands develop their channels and increase revenue on YouTube. Technical support, copyright protection, content strategy, management and optimization have been part of their services since 2016.  

“Every second Kazakh citizen is a YouTube user. As one of the most popular social media platforms in Kazakhstan, YouTube exerts a significant influence on the country’s media agenda. Public authorities and opposition media outlets are both content producers of the website,” he said. 

The excessive focus on the local market, in his opinion, may be a problem. YouTube content producers from Kazakhstan should strive to enter foreign markets.   

“The domestic content targets the local audience. As for now, to a lesser extent, it is designed for the viewers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries. Meanwhile, more than one billion people speak English, 500 million people speak Spanish, and 300 million people speak Hindi,” he said, referring to the undeniable power of language in a global reach. 

Boztayev stressed that internationalization is a “long-term path to success.”  

He brought examples of foreign experience, saying that “exports of IT services from Belarus, Ukraine, and Israel, global popularity of South Korean cultural products, and Swedish expertise in exporting its pop music are of particular interest.” 

To enhance and diversify domestic content production on YouTube, Boztayev outlined three focus areas.   

“First, content creators, including bloggers, tiktokers and gamers, should duplicate their content on YouTube from other social media platforms. For them, it would be useful to apply artificial intelligence (AI) features in their materials with a focus on foreign markets,” he said. 

Secondly, emerging opportunities in the YouTube business landscape, according to him, represent a “blue ocean,” a business concept that implies an untapped market space or industry.    

“YouTube is an excellent PR and marketing tool. The involvement of businesses, whether freelance specialists or major oil conglomerates, will give a strong impetus to the platform’s development, especially given the lack of competition,” said Boztayev. 

“Non-specialists should also be more involved in content creation – sharing personal achievements and expressing opinions on public events. Besides, YouTube pays for views,” he added.

The company’s ongoing activities are aimed at achieving two main objectives – the performance increase of the YouTube channels in Kazakhstan and the promotion of a new product called YouTube for Business.  

“Genesis CSP works with TV programs, artists, bloggers, and content creators. As part of our work, we conduct expert training, provide consulting services, and inform our partners about the latest updates and trends on YouTube. The company expands its network in search of new collaborations,” he said.    

YouTube for Business, Boztayev emphasized, includes both channel management consulting and production from scratch. It encompasses the use of AI for writing scripts, customizing videos, and dubbing content into foreign languages. The company now offers the service to its partners in a test mode.    

When asked about the major challenges Kazakhstan’s YouTube is facing now, Boztayev addressed two main problems related to the high competitiveness of the platform’s market.  

First, he noted the discrepancy between high costs in terms of time and resources and the result of investments. It often happens that the channel does not grow despite huge efforts. 

“Secondly, well-established demand for certain types of content prevents productions from taking risks and experimenting with new topics,” said Boztayev.  

According to him, despite a wide range of political, expert, scientific, and educational information, users prefer entertainment – music, TV series, games, and children’s content. Сrime series and family comedies receive the highest number of views in Kazakhstan.

“The video’s reach depends on the relevance of the topic, competitiveness, the quality of the content, or the personal charisma of the speaker. It is important not to be afraid to start and devote enough time to the development of the channel, at least for six months,” said Boztayev.  

Launched in 2005, YouTube is the second-biggest search engine, following its owner, Google. 

“Google, in its turn, has a different strategy – it is focused on developed and big emerging markets, and, therefore, doesn’t pay much attention to marketing activities of the minor emerging markets,” said Boztayev.  

Data from YouTube indicates that the platform has more than 2.7 billion active users as of 2023. In the next two years, it plans to increase the global user count to 2.85 billion.  

“YouTube is a long game, but in the long run it will pay off with a loyal audience. Good content will always find its viewers,” said Boztayev.  

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