The ban of popular Chinese short-video app TikTok in India this June opened up a massive canyon in India’s short-form video app market, sending users on a quest for the next best alternative.
With almost 90% of Indian short-form video app users spending most of their time on TikTok, India was TikTok’s largest international market before the ban. The app had 611 million lifetime downloads from India as of April 2020.
Slowly, but surely, other alternatives have made a name for themselves, some international and some domestic. According to a recent report by RedSeer, an impressive 40% of TikTok’s India market has now been claimed by domestic apps.
JOSH, Roposo, and MX TakaTak: Players to “Watch Out For”
According to RedSeer’s analysis, due to TikTok’s boom in India, short-form content became the most popular entertainment category in 2020. Contributors to this boom were India’s cheap mobile handset and data prices, the unwillingness of users to pay for entertainment (e.g., OTT services), and most importantly, TikTok’s highly engaging user interface.
Based on the factors that made TikTok such a success, RedSeer analyzed the top three homegrown alternatives that users are most aware of (>25%) to see how they did on these parameters.
A good short-form app must be able to acquire users at scale, create a network of quality creators and content, offer personalization, and monetize on users.
In terms of awareness, most Indian users are aware of Josh (44%), followed by MX TakaTak (39%), and finally Roposo (31%).
Josh leads the short-video sector in most areas. The app offers high personalization on feeds and has a high-quality network of creators and content library. Many TikTok influencers and other entertainment platforms are also now using Josh. The report depicts that Josh provides the highest satisfaction to both users and creators and has a constantly growing user-base with a high retention rate. Josh, however, lacks in the tools for content creation it offers such as filters, themes, and icons, falling behind its competitors in this respect.
MX TakaTak is the next biggest domestic player in the market in terms of awareness and features it offers. It is similar to JOSH in its capacity to house a large user base. It offers personalized content, albeit not as well as JOSH does. Due to its parent company’s experience with monetizing on users through its other apps like Gaana, this is also a strength that extends to their short-video app. MX TakaTak also has the best user expectations of data privacy. While the tools it offers are more diverse than JOSH’s, lending creators more versatility, it falls short in its ability to attract influencers beyond the local level.
The last app with massive potential and a sizeable user awareness is Roposo. Being one of the oldest short-video apps in India, it is technologically robust and can accommodate many users. Personalization is also a strength area. However, the app has yet to attract or produce big influencers and thus lacks in the quality of the content it offers. However, like MX TakaTak, it has diverse tools. Monetization is another blind spot for the app, keeping it from being further up in the list.
With 56 overall experience score, Josh is finally winning the hearts of all short-video content creators and its app users, followed by Roposo at 40 score and Mx TakaTak at 30 score.
Moving forward, filling up existing gaps would make the domestic short-form video sector in India competitive and in turn lead to more growth. Currently, Josh, which was founded in July 2020, has 70 – 75 million monthly active users. Its parent company Dailyhunt has secured funding from big names like Google and Microsoft earlier this week, most of which will be invested in the short video app. MX TakaTak which was also launched in July 2020 has around 55 – 60 million MAUs. Roposo, which has been a player ever since 2014, has 65 million MAUs.
The findings of the report indicates that the return of TikTok is becoming much more challenging for the China based short-video app market leader TikTok. As influencers ad brands don’t have any visibility of TikTok returning to India anytime soon, most of them have changed their strategies and getting gel with homegrown alternatives and other alternatives.
All said and done, if the situation continues to remain same and TikTok fails to crack a deal with Indian authorities, soon it will become an uphill battle for TikTok.