Mobiles were invented for a solitary purpose: to help improve on-the-way communication. However today, that particular functionality has become a minute facility among a sea of other features.
The Smartphone Revolution and Changing Habits
The mobile screens are widening and internet speeds are becoming faster and cheaper at the same time. Believe it or not, the good old idiot box is not only facing a serious competition from the palm device, but smartphones are also playing an able substitutes for televisions.
This is especially true for the Indian market, where the traditional media and entertainment industry are feeling the repercussions of a gradually changing viewing habits of its audience. The Indian users are making the shift from traditional media to digital media for content consumption.
Add to it India’s growing middle class, a large population of millennials, increased economic growth prospects and most importantly – the development of digitization, all have lead to a tremendous rise in the mobile data consumption.
Only months into his tenure and India’s Prime Minister had already started to promote a term that has now become prevalent in India – Digital India. Under this strategy, the government took serious steps towards connecting millions of Indians with basic smartphones (remember the Akash Tablet?) and internet connectivity.
Add to that the entry of Jio into the cellular market that shook the entire telecom industry by its roots. It soon made the “unlimited” data plans a mainstay in the market and in no time people could now afford watching their favourite content online.
Sports: The torch-bearer of the Digital India revolution
A strong category that will sweep away young India’s digital consumption will quite unsurprisingly, be sports. Sports provide for a very unadulterated and thrilling brand of entertainment, a thing that strikes the chords of millions of Indians.
This is evident in the popularity that so many of India’s fancy sports leagues enjoy. As a result, the match between Sports and Digital Media seems to be made in heaven.
Imagine this – It’s your beloved Manchester United’s match that you cannot watch because you are stuck in an unknown relative’s function. Instead of speculating whether Lukaku would have scored a goal or not, you simply pull out your phone and tune in to Hotstar.
As a result, you are able to follow your favourite team live (Ardent sports fans know the importance of watching a match LIVE) without having to pay a bomb for the data. Convenient and efficient.
The level of consumption of online cricket content is among the highest in the sports category, with cricket being India’s most popular sport. Amongst the county’s Tier-I sports applications, 6 of them are related to cricket. Of the lot, the Cricket live streaming and news app CricBuzz is the most favourite.
However, non-cricketing sports are also making waves in terms of digital consumption in the country. Football comes in next after Cricket in terms of online viewership. This is especially true in the metro cities where more youngsters are taking to playing football and following EPL and ISL.
In fact, Sony Pictures registered more viewers for this year’s FIFA World Cup than India England’s One Day international.
The Rise of the Entertainment Industry
The steep rise in the entertainment industry may be mirrored in the eminence of such US companies like Amazon and Netflix, who have focused on production and dissemination of long videos, unlike other markets.
According to reports of Cheetah Lab and UC Media Lab, at the moment, entertainment is the largest category in mobile content consumption for Indian users on UC’s news feed platform. It accounts for nearly 27.4% for its consumption, followed closely by Sports and Lifestyle. It also adds that India’s smartphone users spend, on an average, over 1 hour on content related that is related to entertainment every day.
Statistics too support the claims that more average Indians are turning their backs against televisions for smartphones. Take this stat for example – In 2017 alone, 250 million Indians watched online videos, a direct jump of 64%. Forecasts estimate that by 2020, this over 72% of the traffic consumption by India’s smartphone users will be through online videos.
Why is the digital media more valuable than the traditional media?
It’s all Branding and Advertising. Brands are willing to pay more for marketing their products on digital platforms than on the traditional media. A rise in the consumption of digital media is not the only reason for this particular preference. Digital marketing ensures that one is showing only those advertorials that are relevant to the user.
Another important factor of going the digital marketing route is that the investor actually knows how much of an impact the advertisement has had on the consumer, a facility not available on the conventional media.
Also, selling a product directly helps brands to create a sustainable brand loyalty, provide valuable information to interested customers, and artificially raise their purchase intention in a very soft or a “word-of-mouth” way making it a great plus in today’s high-competition-era.
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