New Delhi: Going ahead, internet consumption in India will be driven by Video-first, Variety, and Vernacular content, according to report by management consulting firm Zinnov.

The report--The Future of Internet Content Consumption in India -- Frictionless Consumer Experience for Mobile-only India and Bharat--analyzes the changing content consumption patterns of Indian consumers, the rise of Indian content platform players, and the intersection of content and commerce as well as other evolving business models.

With the 4G user base in India set to touch a massive ~900 million in the next 3 years across tier-1, -2, and -3 cities, and 5G set to make its entry in mid-2020, there will be a plethora of opportunities for content players.

The survey revealed that 81% of tier-2 and 80% of tier-3 respondents chose mobile as the preferred platform for consuming online content. Further, a staggering 80% of respondents acknowledged that they check their phones as soon as they wake up, providing a unique window of opportunity for content platforms to push relevant and targeted content in terms of news, videos, fitness content, etc.

The survey also revealed that 36% of respondents preferred recommended content over searching for content on their own, highlighting that content moderation and personalization will be a key online content preference going forward.

Video-based content is becoming the most preferred content type, with more than 68% of respondents choosing it over text-based content and the same is evidenced by the massive scale that platforms such as YouTube and TikTok have achieved in the last 2 years. Combined with demand for video-first content, vernacularity has also surfaced as a key ask by the Indian consumer, with more than 70% of consumers preferring content in regional language over Hindi and English. The popularity of global apps such as Helo and local apps such as Glance, which is the fastest growing Indian content platform, stands testament to this shifting trend.

While both global and local content players in India are experimenting with different user strategies to enable a frictionless content experience, it is the Indian platforms which are leading the way. Indian platforms are registering daily average user growth rates in the magnitude of 2X-5X, against 1.1X-2X average growth by their global counterparts.

Additionally, Indian content platforms are leveraging global VC investments to diversify their offerings with original, video-first, vernacular content, gaming, and an intersection of content and commerce, among others.

Speaking about the study, Praveen Bhadada, Partner & Global Head – Digital Transformation, Zinnov, said, “Today, for content platforms to scale in India, it will be crucial to understand the winning imperatives of innovation and localization. Strategic planning will be key for content platforms to evolve in tandem with mobile users’ changing preferences. Identifying the sweet spot between content quality and user scale, empowering personalization through AI, creating an intersection of content and commerce, all while ensuring ‘Frictionless Content Experience’ is what will determine the leader board in these content wars."

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