A recent report ‘#India Trends 2018: Trends Shaping Digital India’ (in partnership with KPMG), currently, there are an estimated 521 million Hindi language speakers and 500 million Indian language speakers in India. Even though there are over 125 million English speakers in India, less than 0.3 million of those speak it as their first language. The rest speak in one or more of the 22 vernacular languages.
With over 460 million internet users, a number projected to go up to 635.8 million by 2021, India is the second largest online market in the world. With such a huge base of internet users driving digital use and revenue, what Indians want can no longer be ignored.
A recent study by KPMG India and Google has two key findings:
- Indian language internet users are expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18 percent vs English users at a CAGR of 3 percent.
- 2. 9 out of every 10 new internet users in India over the next five years are likely to be an Indian language user.
The Indian growth story has shifted from the metros to its Tier I and Tier II cities, a population which prefers regional languages over English. With 99 percent Indian language users accessing the net on their mobiles, small-town Indians are making the most of affordable smartphones and low-cost data plans. Increased disposable incomes and aspirations and improved digital literacy even in rural areas has given birth to a new India, one which is increasingly consuming Indian language content and accessing government services, classifieds, news, and payment services exclusively online.
With 88 percent of Indian language internet users more likely to respond to digital advertisements in local language over English, both domestic and international companies are fast taking steps to meet this growing need for Indic content. Tech giant Google has recently added voice search capability for eight additional Indian languages. Microsoft has announced support for email addresses in 15 languages. Transforming its brand strategy in India, Amazon India announced support for sellers in three Indian languages. Additionally, it has launched its Indian studios last year with plans for 17 original programmes, including shows in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. It is now more than evident that regional language internet usage is where the real growth will be in India.
Filling the void left by a dearth of quality vernacular content and social networking platforms, aspiring Indian startups are increasingly adopting vernacular languages to reach out to the masses in the country. There are localized apps and services built from the ground up rather than adding language support as an afterthought.
The Entertainment industry in India yields an annual gross output of over Rs 2 lakh crore, pays annual direct and indirect taxes of Rs. 96,696 crore and provides employment to over 24 lakh people.
The Indian Film and Entertainment industry churns out more than thousand films each year out of which approximately 30-35% are films made in Hindi language. Google estimates that by 2021, content consumption in Hindi will be bigger than consumption in English. This is just four years away and highlights the pace at which local languages, led by Hindi, are helping Indian people get introduced to the world of online content/ stories.
India is a multi-lingual country. Each state follows its own language as official language. Also, although several languages in India are spoken they do not have any script. For example, although Marathi is the official language of Maharashtra, Ahirani, Wharadi, Konkani, and Malwani are its dialects. In Karnataka, Kannada is the official language. Tulu is spoken in Karnataka but has no script. A recent trend noticeable in many successful Hindi movies is the unabashed use of Haryanvi dialect. Ditto with some of the recent successful Marathi movies. Here we see a phenomenal growth in content driven films made inIndian vernacular/ regional languages as there seems to be 500 million Indian language speaking audience in the waiting.
We also see a lot of freelancing careers in the making of artists in the field of scriptwriting, editing, photography, or technology-based services,. Entertainment industry will be on the lookout for such professionals. Freelancers, personally speaking, for many, it is like an idealistic Bollywood romance. Too good to be true kind of a story – being your own boss and having time at your disposal as freelancer in the Entertainment industry, time is an opportunity cost.
The scope of this diversity and demographics is an enormous potential to boost the economy too.
(Contributed by Prof. Rosie Murray-Full-time Faculty at RSACE)