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NEW DELHI : Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, known for short, disappearing stories, is strengthening its original content slate in India to cash in on the growing popularity of short-form videos.

The company, which specializes in fiction and non-fiction videos ranging from three to five minutes, announced 120 new episodes for 2022 at a virtual event called Snap in India on Wednesday.

Snapchat has partnered with Sony Entertainment Television and Zee TV and has also offered a platform to internet content makers such as Shehnaaz Gill, Avneet Kaur, Harsh Beniwal and Sushant Divgikar to create these mobile-first shows. A new series called Retro Rewind, featuring Ruhi Singh, Adnan Shaikh, Samiksha Sood and Vishal Panday, started streaming on Wednesday, said the company, which has announced the Hinglish version of international Snap original Phone Swap that, with 16 million users, is one of its most-watched shows in India.

Snapchat clocked 102.4 million downloads on Google Play Store in India between January and August, according to an earlier Mint report.

“The potential (of the Indian market) is incredibly promising for us. It has become a daily habit for Indians to use their mobile devices for news and entertainment, which is why we have curated made-for-mobile shows with a commitment to robust local content," said Vanessa Guthrie, head of original content at Snap.

“We have made significant investments to localize the Snapchat experience for the Indian community. We have added culturally relevant content, developed active and creative local creator communities, and invested in local products, marketing initiatives and language support," she said, but did not share investment figures for India.

The short-form video market has exploded over the past two years, growing 3.5 times in user base and 12 times in total time spent across platforms, according to a recent report by global management consulting firm Bain & Company. More than 200 million Indians watched short videos at least once in 2020, with an active user spending up to 45 minutes a day on these platforms.

The market includes user-generated videos or those brought out by creators and influencers on both homegrown apps such as Moj, MX Taka Tak, Roposo that emerged in the wake of the TikTok ban, as well as those backed by foreign players such as Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts.

“Democratization of content on short-video platforms is helping unearth hidden creative talent in India. Short-video platforms and new businesses are offering to address creator needs right from training, content creation support, relationship management, to monetization, financing and analytics," Arpan Sheth, senior partner at Bain had told Mint.

The ‘Discover’ content section on Snapchat has 70 local Indian channels across news, fitness, fashion, entertainment and comedy through partnerships with broadcasters and media companies.

The daily time spent watching shows and publisher content has increased 150% in the second quarter of this year, compared with the same period of last year, Snap said.

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