Weekly News For You To Stay Updated With The App Industry
This week’s edition of our Weekly New’s Wr(app) covers stories of Twitter’s potential opening of a new feature and Instagram’s closure of one of their apps. And no week can go by without some news from Apple and Google.
Check out all these stories and more below.
[Also, a Happy Women’s Day to all our women readers. Read our story about 4 women app makers here]
1. Google launches Play Pass in India
Google is finally introducing its Play Pass feature in India, after 3 years since it was officially launched. The service works just like it sounds, it gives you a free pass to several apps, reportedly around a thousand, with no ads or in-app purchases.
The Play Pass has 3 pricing options, Rs.99 per month, Rs.889 per year, and a prepaid option of Rs.109 per month (for those without any recurring payment instruments).
It’s definitely an interesting feature just like any subscription-based service like a Netflix or an Amazon Prime, but in this case, it’s apps. If you’re someone who likes trying new apps on the regular, this may be for you. It also comes with a free trial period of one month, so you’ve got nothing to lose.
2. Apple says Sideloading Apps is a threat. US lawmakers Disagree
US Congress is considering a bill that will allow sideloading of apps (which means apps can be downloaded without an app store). Of course, Google and Apple are threatened by this proposed bill because it would mean that they lose control over the app market.
This is why Apple has written to US lawmakers regarding the sideloading of apps saying that their concerns are not “overblown” and “unfounded”. Apple says that allowing sideloading of apps poses a huge security threat and therefore must not be allowed.
Last month, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that orders app stores like Apple’s and Google’s to allow third-party payment options. This bill comes as a relief to developers who pay high commissions to Apple and Google which are collected through the Big Tech duo's own payment gateways.
Apple’s concern of malware present in sideloaded apps may have some credibility. But no one is exempt from cyber attacks. Not even Google’s Play Store can escape, which reported the presence of a data-stealing app that was downloaded several times.
The outcome of this bill can have a ripple effect around the globe and for alternative app stores too.
3. 2021 saw a 200% increase in Indian mobile game App Users
According to a senior Google spokesperson, the active monthly users of Indian game app users jumped by 200% in 2021 compared to 2019. Purnima Kochikar, VP of Google Play Partnerships said that Indian made Ludo King became one of the most played games worldwide.
She also said that innovations are no longer limited to traditional pockets of the country, but are now spread across Tier-II and Tier-III cities.
Google is also collaborating with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to provide training for around 100 startups through webinars, mentorship sessions, and self-learning material.
Good job Google, even you can see the value of innovation even though your policies are largely against it.
4. 91% of Consumers prefer buying beauty products via Social Media
Bazaarvoice released new research which showed a rising divide between consumers who buy online and those who buy from a physical store. 91% of respondents said they like buying beauty products through social media and only 44% said they prefer in-store purchases.
76% of respondents said they were “very influenced” to shop via social media, and 73% said they actively shop through Facebook and Pinterest.
This rise is credited to online micro-influencers. SVP EMEA of Bazaarvoice, Ed Hill says that “there is a notable cross-over between the demographic of shoppers looking to purchase beauty products and those who use social media, and so it’s almost inevitable that this consumer group will want to share their experiences with others on social media,”.
He also said that their research revealed that a third of consumers shop from social video content.
Brands that can connect with consumers on a personal level through said micro-influencers are making great gains. After all, we humans cannot do without that personal touch and connection.
5. More Consumers used their Mobile Devices to contact Retailers in 2021
In 2021, retailers received more calls and texts from consumers than any previous year with numbers showing a 290% increase.
This new research from CSG said that customer service interactions are what’s driving this trend. Mark Smith, CSG’s VP of digital engagement solutions says that each brand should have a presence across six communication channels.
He says “The goal, especially after the hardships of the pandemic, is to uplift your customer and elevate the experience they have with your brand in the most proactive, predictive and personalized way possible.”
6. Instagram shutting down its IGTV App
After ditching its IGTV branding last October, Instagram is finally bidding adieu to IGTV. There are two apparent reasons for this closure. One is the fact that few people were actually using the app. Of the 1 billion-plus users that Instagram has, only 7 million downloaded and installed the app.
Another reason is Instagram’s focus on Reels. They believe that Reels is needed to take on TikTok, and Instagram claims that the short-form video feature was the largest contributor to engagement growth.
With IGTV gone, Instagram is combining its long-form and Instagram feed videos under one banner dubbed “Instagram Videos”.
7. Disney Plus is planning to release a Cheaper Subscription Plan that has Ads
Something that is cheap and provides good value for money is going to attract most of us. And that’s what Disney Plus is doing with their latest subscription plan that is significantly cheaper but comes with ads.
The price is set at $7.99 per month (just over Rs.600). This is probably going to be revised for Indian consumers. We’ll just have to wait and see.
With this cheaper plan, Disney Plus can expect to add to their existing 129.8 million subscribers. In India, the subscriber count is 45.9 million, more than America’s and Canada’s 42.9 million and 41.1 million users respectively.
If Disney+ Hotsar releases this cheaper plan by the time IPL starts, then they can expect a boom in the user count.
8. Twitter may release a Podcast feature Soon
Last week we shared a story of LinkedIn’s podcast plans. Now Twitter is joining the bandwagon with their plans of a “podcast tab”. But there’s no fixed release date for this feature according to a Twitter spokesperson.
Right now the Spaces feature on Twitter is filling in for podcasts. Well not exactly filling in, but it’s the closest thing they have to a podcast. Spaces allow users to have live audio sessions on Twitter and also give them the choice to listen to recordings after a Spaces session…just like a podcast.
But of course, podcasts are better edited and have a superior audio quality which is what maybe Twitter is trying to explore.