YouTube today (June 19) unveiled local-language sites in nine countries.
Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, the co-founders of YouTube, which was acquired by Google Inc. for $1.65 billion last year, told a news conference in Paris that the nine country sites will eventually feature locally popular content.
Until now, while user-generated videos and comments could be posted in any language, the YouTube.com site framework and navigation menus have been in English only and the featured pages users first see are heavily skewed to U.S. tastes. This is despite the fact that more than half of YouTube's audience comes from outside the United States, Chen said.
YouTube unveiled national sites for Brazil (http://www.youtube.com.br), Britain (http://youtube.co.uk), France (youtube.fr), Ireland (youtube.ie), Italy (http://it.youtube.com), Japan (youtube.jp), the Netherlands (youtube.nl), Poland (youtube.pl) and Spain (youtube.es).
During the first stage of the international move, each site will offer fully translated local homepages and video search functions. Over time, each national site will have an entirely "local" feel that will allow for country-specific video rankings and comments in various sections, YouTube said.
In recent months, YouTube has signed up various major international media partners including broadcasters such as the British Broadcasting Corporation, France 24, the Spanish Antena 3 and Cuatro TV, the Portuguese RTP, and the Dutch VPRO and NPO. It has also struck deals for archive and daily news material from popular European soccer clubs such as Chelsea FC, AC Milan, Barcelona FC and Real Madrid.