Weekly News For You To Stay Updated With The App Industry
Is it a surprise that most of us from around the world spend a lot of time on our phones? What’ll surprise you though is that Indians are one of the highest app consumers in the world. We’re topped by just 2-3 countries.
Surprising, right? You’ll find more such stories in our latest edition of The Weekly News Wr(app).
Read it all here.
1. India one of the 13 markets where users spend > 4 hours per day on apps
There’s a new report out by data.ai that shows us the changing habits of users in this post-pandemic world. According to the report, users are spending more time on apps compared to the days before lockdown.
For example, Singapore users are spending 5.7 hours on apps in Q2 2022 compared to 4.1 hours during the same period in 2020. Australian users are reportedly spending 4.9 hours on apps compared to 3.6 hours in Q2 2022 and Q2 2020 respectively.
Despite things mostly returning to normal this year, app usage habits of users have retained their pandemic-period quality.
Though the Singapore and Australian market marked a 40% rise in app usage, most other markets reported a slower rise. India saw a 5% rise in app usage, while other markets like Indonesia, Canada, and US, saw a 10%, 20%, and 5%, rise respectively.
Though India reported only a 5% rise in Q2 2022, it still was only one of the 13 markets that had users spending more than 4 hours per day on apps.
Some Indian apps performed well in worldwide markets too. Meesho, ranked #8 for worldwide downloads, up 4 places from Q1 2022. Tata Neu and Hostar featured in the Top Breakout Apps list for downloads. Tata Neu ranked 7th and Hotstar came 9th. One Indian game featured in the Top Games list for worldwide downloads (#3) and monthly active users (#5). And this game is none other than the immensely popular Ludo King.
This is probably a time when app developers are racing to grab the attention of users who spend this much time of their waking hours on phones. It’s also an encouraging sign for digital India (and users may want to monitor their screentime!)
2. French developers sue Apple over App Store policies
You may have heard of Dutch dating developers suing Apple over certain App Store policies. Now fellow Europeans are doing the same. Developers in France are now asking questions about the same policies in a lawsuit.
French iOS developers are not okay with Apple’s monopoly over app distribution and the high commissions they charge. On top of these high commissions, developers also have to pay $99 in developer program fees annually.
The lawsuit aims to force Apple to allow competition in iOS app distribution, allow developers to set their own rates for in-app purchases, and to prevent Apple from raising the current 15% commission for at least 3 years for developers in the Small Business Program.
The French developers also want Apple to allow them to communicate with their users about alternative payment methods.
Speaking on this, Hagens Berman, the US law firm representing the developers said, “We’re fresh off the heels of our hard-won settlement with Apple and ready to get back in the ring. Our firm is happy to see iOS developers from other countries seeking the same justice we were able to achieve for U.S. developers. We believe they too have been wrongfully subjected to the stifling policies of Apple’s App Store, and we intend to hold Apple to the law.”
3. The Personal Data Protection Bill withdrawn for now
The Indian government’s attempt at data privacy protection is taking a backseat for now.
The idea behind the much maligned Personal Data Protection Bill was to give Indian citizens greater rights relating to their personal data. And in the world’s second-largest internet market, personal data is a point of importance.
But it was criticized by many groups, including the Internet Freedom Foundation, a Delhi-based privacy advocacy group. They said that the bill “provides large exemptions to government departments, prioritizes the interests of big corporations and does not adequately respect your fundamental right to privacy”.
Even Big Tech firms like Amazon, Meta, and Google were concerned about this bill.
In light of all the criticism, the IT ministry decided to withdraw the bill. A new bill is in the works to replace the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 according to IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. He said in a statement that the new bill will fit into the comprehensive legal framework that exists today.
4. Live Shopping of Facebook to shut down on 1st October 2022
Facebook is shutting down its Live Shopping feature due to a shift in consumer behavior patterns, according to the company.
Live Shopping was used by many popular brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, Dolce Vita, and Sephora to sell their products to an audience who loved online shopping on live video. The feature was also used to host demos, share tips, and answer customer queries.
Now, however, Facebook believes that consumers are inclined to watch more short-form videos and are therefore more likely to skip live shopping events on Facebook.
So what the company is now doing is focusing on its own short-form video feature, which is, Reels. More on that below.
5. Reels can now be turned into ads
Instagram announced that businesses can turn their Reels into ads. The ad turned Reels will appear on the Reels tab, Stories, feeds, etc. to reach newer audiences.
With the help of this feature, brands can expect to increase their engagement and brand awareness
There are some rules to follow though. Reels must be filmed vertically (9:16 ratio) in a full-screen format and should not be more than 60 seconds long. Also, no Reels with copyrighted music, GIFs, camera filters, etc. will be allowed to be turned into an ad.
The feature is now available for about 25% of accounts with a gradual rollout to everyone expected soon.
6. Spotify will allow a separate button for play and shuffle if you pay
You read that right. If you want a separate button for shuffle and play, you need to have a Premium Subscription. Right now, the play and shuffle options come under one button only, which was a frustration to many users.
Users posted their feedback on social forums and received a lot of support for it. But Spotify wants to make it a premium feature because it gives premium users an option to listen to music the way they want.
It doesn’t make sense to us, to be honest. Maybe Spotify sees this as an opportunity to get more people to pay for Spotify Premium.
Bizarre decision, nonetheless.
7. Airtel acquires music streaming platform Gaana
Gaana, one of India’s oldest music platforms, is now a Bharti Airtel brand after the telecom giant’s acquisition from Times Internet.
Gaana came out in 2010 and amassed a library of over 45 million songs with a monthly active user count of 180 million. Since then, Gaana has faced competition from many foreign players like Amazon Music, Spotify, and YouTube Music.
Airtel’s acquisition may have come at a good time for Gaana, although it is unknown how Airtel plans to proceed. Moreover, Airtel already has a music streaming service of its own called Wynk Music.
How Airtel plans to manage the two remains to be seen.