Enhanced mobile data consumption, Indian languages and growing tier 2/3 cities to power the future of India’s digital media

Enhanced mobile data consumption, Indian languages and growing tier 2/3 cities to power the future of India’s digital media

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In 2011, India had 100 million users; fast inching towards crossing 350 million internet user base in 2017. Industry experts opines that by 2020 India can expect to have 650 million internet users.

The growing internet base catapulted by the increasing penetration of smart mobile phones and lower data cost, transformed by the Reliance Jio Phenomenon, has changed the overall digital landscape. Data is abundant, and every one today uses data more liberally. Consumers in Tier 2/ 3 cities are as much in the race as their counterparts in the metros in terms of digital dynamism.   Smartphone penetration is expected to touch 500 million connected users by 2020, as they become increasingly cost effective.

The continued rise of Indian languages is the other growth driver for internet in India. “Last year, non-English search queries grew 10 times faster than English. Non-English content consumption is growing 5 times faster than English content. Now, almost every single new user that comes to the Internet is not proficient in English, and as India goes from 400 to 650 million users, they will consume the internet in their own language” said Rajan Anandan, Vice President for Southeast Asia and India, Google at an event to celebrate Google India’s ‘premier partners’

By 2021, language users are expected to grow at 18 per cent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) to 536 million. In the same period, English-language users are likely to grow by a mere three per cent CAGR to reach 199 million. Indian language Internet user base is expected to account for 75% of the total Internet user base in India by 2021. Hindi Internet user base is likely to outgrow English user base by 2021.

The third important factor shaping the future of the digital landscape in India is the growth of Video Consumption in India especially in mobile phone devices. Online Video watch time in India has been growing exponentially.  After being the largest FB user base populated country in the world, India is now the second largest market in terms of watch time for YouTube. “There’s been 90 per cent growth in uploaded content, and 65 per cent of YouTube content is consumed on mobile. If one looked at reach in urban India, YouTube is ahead of TV” added Mr. Rajan Anandan.

Then urban growth story is spreading to smaller towns: Consumers in tier 2 & tier 3 markets are transforming the growth paradigm and offers a new opportunity. According to a EY Study, 61% Share of household income in 2020 will be accounted for by new wave markets relative to metros.

No wonder, the number of regional advertisers in India is rising. There was a 7% increase in regional advertisers in 2016, according to Publicis Media’s media buying arm Starcom. There were 12,027 regional advertisers in 2016 compared with 11,278 in 2015. There were 6,916 regional brands that advertised aggressively in the first half of 2017 and the number is expected to increase significantly in the second


Raktim Das

Raktim is a strategy and business development professional with over 20 years TV, Print & Digital media experience in leadership roles with leading media organizations like Times Group, India Today Group, HT Media, Zee News Limited, NewsX and Network 18 Media. He can reached at raktim@raktimdas.in

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