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“Entertainment & Sports will be two major categories to drive the growth of mobile content consumption for a long time”- Damon Xi, General Manager, UCWeb India

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“Indian smartphone users spend 1.1 hours on an average on content related to entertainment every day. According to the total rate of content consumption on UC News Feed platform in India, Entertainment is the largest category in mobile content consumption for Indian usersaccounting for 27.4%followed by Sports and Lifestylewhich accounts for 18.6% and 13.8% respectively”, as per a joint report issued by Cheetah Lab and UC Media Lab.

Damon Xi, General Manager, UCWeb India talks to us about the content ecosystem in India,  upcoming trends in the mobile entertainment industry and  categories driving the growth of mobile content consumption in the future.

Excerpts:

How has the content consumption ecosystem evolved in India?

Recent developments of mobile screens have fundamentally impacted traditional media and entertainment industry within the Indian market, gradually changing viewing habits of people. With increasing popularity of smart devices and acceleration of network speeds, Indian users are gradually shifting from traditional media to digital media for content consumption. India’s growing middle class, large population of millennials, increased economic growth prospects, as well as the development of digitization are some of the factors leading this trend.

Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge of the office, he vigorously promoted the “Digital India” strategy, making smartphones and Internet facilities rapidly popular in India; Telecom operators set off a price competition in India, where mobile Internet prices significantly dropped, and some services even offered for free. The decline in price for mobile phone data has spurred the potential of the market.

Companies from U.S. and China tend to gain market share for their potential growth within the market. In the current entertainment market in India, companies from the U.S. mainly focus on production and dissemination of long videos (such as Amazon and Netflix), while companies from China hold an advantage on the news and short videos segment.

India has a long history of culture, artistic tradition and rich experience in the production of entertainment content. With industry players from U.S. and China expanding their business in India, it will benefit Indian users and allow them to enjoy different kinds of content on digital platforms.

What’s more, with development of big data and machine learning, we will have more insight into user preference and habits, which will help content providers and content platforms to better adapt to the changes and satisfy users’ demand and interest.

How can brands and advertisers leverage the increasing demand for entertainment content on mobile devices?

Brands and advertisers should pay more attention to the importance of content marketing. Content marketing, instead of selling a product directly, helps brands create sustainable brand loyalty, provide valuable information to consumers, and raise consumers’ purchase intention in a “soft,” or “word-of-mouth” way that makes it a great plus from paid advertising in marketing campaign/media mix.

UC Ads provides intelligent content marketing solutions, leveraging UC influencer network and content lab. It enables marketers to brief the right content creators, generate branded buzz content from influencers and distribute the content via smart algorithm to the targeted audiences on UC browsers app and UC news app, all done by UC Ads platform.

Content marketing is like talking to a friend – your topic better be enjoyable, not blunt or intrusive. Entertaining content seems to be the most preferred content, which customers actively consume. For example, during the SUPERHERO activity before Independence Day, users armed themselves with personalized outfits in UC Browser, among which there were awesome outfits customized in accordance to Honor Play. The outfits were so cool that many young users chose them for their own superhero characters. The characters were shared on their SNS, along with the branding image, creating a positive buzz.

What are the key upcoming trends in the mobile entertainment industry in India?

According to Cheetah Lab and UC Media Lab Joint Report, Entertainment is the largest category in mobile content consumption for Indian users on UC’s news feed platform, accounting for 27.4%,followed by Sports and Lifestyle; Indian smartphone users spend 1.1 hours on an average on content related to entertainment every day.

Prosperity for Online Video: In India, more and more people are “isolating” from Television and embracing mobile phones for online content. According to statistics, number of online video viewers in India has reached up to 250 million in 2017 alone, with a year-on-year increase of 64%. It is estimated that by 2020, 72% of mobile phone traffic consumption by Indian digital consumers will be used to watch online videos.

According to data from the survey company ComScore, top 15 new media have produced a total of 14 billion minutes of video in April 2017 alone.

Another research conducted by Media Partners Asia shows that India’s online video market is worth over $700 million and is expected to reach a market size of $2.4 billion by 2023.At present, leading enterprises from China and U.S. are optimistic towards prospects of online video development in India.

Long videos: Domination of local films, Amazon, Netflix works on content production

Movies and TV shows account for the majority of content consumption in long videos.

Digitalization has played an important role in the development of Indian film industry. A relevant data analysis illustrates that the Indian film industry will develop at a speed rate of 11.9% by 2020, and there will be more than 3,000 screens all over cinemas in India by 2019. This also provides rich content for online video products.

Short Videos: Chinese publishers are heavily involved in the construction of the platform with sports content much sought after

2018 is a year where India’s short videos products have massively appeared and flourished. According to Cheetah Data, there were only five short video Apps of an adequate scale in India last year, 17 of them with a market penetration rate of 0.1% and above this year. Majority of these App publishers are from China. The top four Apps, namely TikTok, Vigo, Vivavideo, and LIKE are Chinese distributors, and the fifth Clip has investment from China’s ShunWei Capital. Others such as KuaiShou and UC’s Vmate have also been developing well in India.

The reason why China’s short video distributors have valued Indian market is that it is a major global trend to fill up leisure time. 2017 was the first year when short videos were a major trend in China. The outbreak of short video consumption has spawned significant developments within Apps, which has led to a hugely competitive environment. With the hidden potential in India’s market of 1 billion dollars, there is an opportunity for investors to seize the market, providing opportunities and room for future development.

The rise of the short video content platform has also led to higher ranking of short video editing tools. Among them, five Apps including Vivavideo are short video tools,  which means that UGC short video contents are gradually becoming more refined and professional.

While entertainment is the largest category in mobile content consumption, how do you see the growth of the other sectors in the near future?

According to what we have observed in India market, Entertainment & Sports will be two major categories to drive the growth of mobile content consumption for a long time.

Cricket is India’s most popular sport, which is reflected in the level of consumption of online cricket content. Amongst India’s Tier I sports Apps, six of them are related to cricket, from which Cricket live streaming and news product CricBuzz is the most popular. Football comes in second as being the most favoured sports in India.

How has the content consumption rate been in the Tier II and Tier III cities in India (what percentage does these contribute to the overall segment )?

A large part of our users are in Tier II and Tier III cities; the demand for entertainment content among tier II and tier III cities is also growing. More local language content that can meet the demand of tier II and tier III cities will be needed. With respect to the entertainment content consumed on mobile, Hindi remains the main language, accounting for 69.2% of the consumed content; English content accounting only for 6.37%; and the remaining 24.61% are content of vernacular languages.

This is also in line with UC’s strategy to offer more local language content for users. UC news feed is available not only in English and Hindi, but also in Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Kannada, bringing more localised and relatable content to Indian users. UC is in the process of including more content in different vernacular languages on the platform.

 

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Smriti Mishra

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