The descent into a ‘new normal’ because of the coronavirus pandemic has given rise to a different pattern of consumer behaviour. During the lockdown, India started observing a huge surge in video consumption which has led to some very interesting developments in the startup ecosystem.
It has recently been found out that homegrown video apps such as Trell, Bolo Indya and Roposo have started attracting a lot of interest from various investors and venture capitalists. This is mainly because these apps have been observing a humongous spike in user count, impressions and engagement due to the lockdown along with the currently increased sentiment of banning Chinese products and services in India.
Deepak Gupta who is the founding partner at WEH Ventures and has invested in Trell believes that video apps are currently getting extended to utility, thus, if monetisation is made possible then ‘content economy’ can be another great wave of innovation.
Trell, in the last month, reported having 8 million monthly active users (MAU) after doubling from January. Bolo Indya saw a similar growth pattern as it recorded 480,000 MAUs in the last month after being at a mere 170,000 MAUs in January. Meanwhile, Roposo saw a whopping 25% jump in MAUs from February to 4 million in May. This shows how entertainment during the lockdown has majorly been in the video format for most of India.
Most of these apps are modelled to majorly bank on their content to drive commerce on their platforms other than being reliant on advertisement dollars. Users of Bolo Indya can buy the services of experts for personalized sessions for which the app charges a fee on every transaction. Trell enables its users on the app to directly buy the brands that an influencer might be talking about while Roposo is simply trying to differentiate itself from TikTok by providing ‘quality content’.
The latest report from BCG-CII highlights that the average digital video consumption in India has increased by nearly 200% to 24mins/day from 11mins/day over the past two years. The report also depicts that in 2019 digital video witnessed about 15% YoY rise in the number of sessions and close to 20-25% YoY growth in average time per session.
India is estimated to have over 500 million online video subscribers by FY’23. In fact, according to the report from KPMG, the contribution of video content to the overall internet traffic would be increased to 77% by 2022.
The above estimations clearly indicate the exploded consumption and adoption of video content and video apps, respectively.
Pulkit Sharma, the co-founder of Trell, in a statement, has said that they are testing out various ads but are majorly banking on content commerce to double the growth of its user base by the end of the year.
Lastly, it should also be noted that the interest among investors is not really ‘so-very-sudden’ as this particular segment has raised close to $534 million in the last 18 months according to the data from Tacxn Technologies. That being said, the lockdown has definitely helped move things in favour of these in Indian-origin video apps for sure.
As of right now, if there’s one major factor that contributes to investors finding this space exciting, it is the need for a different value proposition to compete with TikTok. This popular Chinese short video app has been able to amass over 611 million downloads in India over a very short time. However, currently, it is facing a lot of backlash due to its Chinese-origin and over its alleged lax moderation of content which has been deemed as sleazy and hateful by many. Thus, no wonder, many investors are looking forward to using this particular moment to steal TikTok’s thunder and establish a new capable competitor in the short video space which can compete with the biggies.
Now it remains to be seen what does the future hold for these Indian-origin video apps. We will keep you posted on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.