Can Koo fly where Twitter falls?

As Twitter tries to steady itself in the aftermath of Musk's buyout, experts weigh in on whether its Indian alternative Koo has the potential to topple it

by Team PITCH
Published - December 14, 2022
5 minutes To Read
Can Koo fly where Twitter falls?

The Twitter saga that began in April 2022 finally culminated with Elon Musk buying the platform for $44 billion, but according to some, this is only the beginning of a tumultuous time ahead for the company. Meanwhile, an Indian social media company, founded by Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka has caught the eye of investors and industry leaders.

Koo, launched in the middle of a pandemic in March 2020, is a microblogging site for multilingual conversations. The application has over 50 million downloads and was recently launched in Brazil.

Now, in a world where Twitter is facing intense criticism for the new changes under Elon Musk and an application like Koo gaining momentum, experts argue whether Koo has the capability to dethrone the giant big tech company that Twitter is. A lot of conversations on the internet is about how Koo could be an alternative to Twitter, but what is the reality of that expectation? Industry experts talk about the potential that Koo has but feel like it still has years till it can reach the position Twitter has globally.

'Twitter not easy to replace'

According to Hareesh Tibrewala, Joint CEO of Mirum India, Twitter isn’t easily replacable. “I don’t think displacing a social network is easy. Social networks work on the power of the community. And the entire community needs to start migrating to a new platform, for a new platform to be relevant. While Twitter, under Elon Musk, is going through teething problems, not in small measure due to the mercurial behavior of the founder, my feeling is that it will get its act together in some time. Twitter was indeed overstaffed, lacked innovation and was not able to monetize its value.

"However, in terms of its power and value to society, Twitter outranks Facebook and LinkedIn. During the last US elections, we saw how a politician was able to exploit the power of the platform to the hilt, just by his tweets. And we have also seen how during crises and news-making events, Twitter is the first place one turns to get some information. Hence a newer Twitter, with better moderation of content and innovative solutions for advertisers should become a strong viable business. In my opinion, I see global acceptance and scalability by platforms like Koo as a challenge.”

'Koo has potential'

According to Rashid Ahmed, Digital Head of Infectious Advertising, Koo comes with a lot of potential and has great growth potential to grow in the next few years. “Koo is already making tremendous inroads into the microblogging space. The platform had 50 million downloads by early November. It comes across as a viable replacement for Twitter which has lost its 'safe harbour' protection in India, due to failures in appointing mandated personnel under the Intermediary Guidelines. With the growth Koo is seeing in India as well as in some international markets, the platform could potentially become the go-to online townhall for netizens in the next five years.

Koo has global ambitions. The platform recently introduced the Portuguese language to its interface and became the top downloaded app on both the Google Play Store and the Apple Store in Brazil within just a few days. The freshness of the platform makes it attractive to new users, especially if there is a wave of high-profile first movers that drive uptake. For now, it seems like Koo has a fairly solid future on the global stage.”

As for Viren Razdan, Managing Director of Brand-Nomics, “Twitter's churn should be Koo’s gain. The app has created a good base not just in India but opportunities in other countries as well. How they develop the brand and its popularity will determine its growth opportunity. While it’s taken a more mass base as its positioning it needs to up its ante from being local to global talk to be a force to reckon with.”

Twitter’s future

Rashid Ahmed says, “Twitter is going through a sea of changes under Elon Musk whose focus has been to ensure that the platform brings in revenues worthy of its presence. The platform is looking at monetizing verified profiles besides enhancing other revenue streams. As with any change, there is usually upheaval, and at Twitter, this has been in the form of pivoting towards heightened efficiency, albeit through stress on the personnel front.”

Razdan thinks it is a wait-and-watch game, “Musk’s churn is attempting to push the platform to the business end of the game and its impact will be worth watching. Most such platforms' true value emerges once monetisation of the service comes into play. So, it’s going to be a great learning.”