Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Future of TV consumption in India

A few days ago, my aunt found the house maid watching a movie on her phone. The maid asked my aunt if she would also like to have some movies on her phone. On enquiring further she said that the mobile recharge shop would load a few movies in her memory card for a few 10 Rupees.

Last month, I was once traveling by a cab from Gurgaon to Noida and while chatting with the driver, he told me that his facebook was not working and wanted my help to get it started. I was stunned and asked him what else he does on his phone. Again it was Music and Movies.

Has Media consumption dynamics changed? Movie piracy has shifted from VCR to CDs and now Digital files on Mobile!

So what’s really happening in the Mobile consumption space? While we talk about Internet numbers, Online video viewing numbers, TV viewership etc, we seem to have completely missed what’s happening underground. While Napster transformed the way content is consumed in the west, it is the disorganized sector that is fueling the growth of Media consumption in India.

Let’s look at a few numbers. The internet population seems to be stagnant at around 100 million in India. There are various numbers floating around, IRS says it is 42million, Facebook has around 50 million users, IAMAI says 165 million.

Will we really see any growth? Unlike other markets like China where the local language is predominant, India with its diverse national languages has seen a slow standardization and uptake of local language fonts online. Indian Internet is still predominantly English. The total Press readership in India is 353 mn out of which English press contributes to around 20mn. So if at all any growth has to happen it can happen only if there is a growth in the local language space which doesn’t really seem to be coming along?

So what else can fuel the growth? Video!! One doesn’t need to be able to type in local language for video but can watch and listen to it online. My mom is a great fan of Youtube and watches Tamil programmes on her Tablet. According to Comscore there are around 45mn people watching video online in India?  There are 571 mn people watching TV in India (IRS). Can this gap be bridged? Or has it already been bridged?

My view is that atleast 500mn people in India are already watching videos on Mobile phone albeit through the disorganized sector of piracy. This huge market is just waiting to be captured and we need a game changer like Reliance to come and offer broadband services at dirt cheap rates to transfer this ready audience online.

This will change the way Television is consumed in India and both Media companies and advertisers need to be ready for this explosion.

Quick facts

Top 10 English newspapers
19 mn
Top 10 Hindi newspapers
70 mn
Total Press readership
353 mn
Internet population
165 mn
Online Video population
45 mn
TV population
571 mn
Mobile population
900 mn
Mobile population Active
700 mn


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