The Weekly News Wr(app) – Rural India Leads Internet Growth, Flipkart Goes Audiobooks, BGMI Banned

Weekly News For You To Stay Updated With The App Industry

Last week, the government of India banned a popular game called Battlegrounds Mobile India. It’s related to PUBG because it was a replacement for PUBG which was also banned.

Why was it banned?

You can find out in our latest edition of The Weekly News Wr(app):

Internet tower

1. Rural India leading internet growth in the nation

The rural parts of India prove to be an intriguing part of digital India’s makeup. 

According to a study titled “Internet in India” by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), rural India is driving the growth of active internet users. At the same time, it has a higher number of people who are yet to use the internet.

Urban areas have 341 million internet users while rural parts have 351 million. The IAMAI suggests that urban India has reached a saturation point, according to its data, while there’s a huge scope of growth with rural users.

In total, India has 692 million active internet users, according to the report.

When it comes to non-users, 762 million are yet to onboard on to digital India, and most of those users (63%) are from rural India. The study reveals several reasons for this lack of internet adoption. Some examples are “difficulty to understand the internet” and “lack of awareness” with the former being the primary reason.

When it comes to app usage, Entertainment, Communications, and Social Media are the top three categories that internet users engage in. OTT app users in both rural and urban India are almost the same, showing how far the category has reached its users. But online gaming, digital commerce, and digital payments are still dominated by urban users.

Digital transactions have also seen a boost since the pandemic.

There are a total of 346 million users engaged in digital commerce and payments (that’s more than the US population!). And this is a 51% increase from 230 million users in 2019.

Overall, the IAMAI has a sunny prediction for internet adoption in India.

They project the total number of users to hit 900 million by 2025. That’s a humongous number in such a short time! This is a huge opportunity for various digital service providers like internet companies, smartphone brands, app developers, and even app distributors.

The race for digital India is on.


BGMI logo

2. Battleground Mobile India bites the dust

You wake up with a start. Something’s not right. You can feel it in your bones and it weighs on your heart. You grab your phone and open your social media. There it is:

“Mobile game BGMI banned by the Indian government”.

No warning, and no reason. At least, there’s no official reason yet. Latest reports indicate that the game was banned due to some connections with China servers. This was similar to when Garena Free Fire was banned and PUBG before that. Ironically, BGMI was released for Indian users in place of PUBG.

Following this announcement, the game was removed from the Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

Users who already have the game can continue playing although it’s yet to be seen what the future holds for the game.


Rural India leads Internet growth, Flipkart goes Audiobook, BGMI banned

3. India’s short-video apps have a $19 billion potential

Short video content has seen a boom around the world with the likes of TikTok and Instagram. India’s own version of short video apps is doing pretty well too.

And it looks like it’s going to get better.

According to Redseer Strategy Consultants, Indian short video apps have a monetization opportunity of $19 billion by 2030. By 2025, its userbase is expected to rise to 600 million, double what it is now.

Mohit Rana, partner at Redseer commented on this projection saying, “Indian Short Form apps are witnessing phenomenal growth as compared to other established platforms, this can be attributed to their low decision fatigue, language localization, recommendations, genre variety, and local creator influence. In fact, on average, an Indian user consumes close to 38 minutes of Short Form content each day”.

With India’s growing userbase outside of Tier-1 cities coupled with language localization, Indian short-video apps can expect more growth from Tier-2 cities and below.

Therefore with all these key growth points in place, Redseer believes that short video apps can start monetizing through advertising, video commerce, and gifting.


4. Flipkart wants in on audiobooks with Pocket FM partnership

Audiobooks are seeing a boom and are predicted to keep booming in the near future. It’s no wonder that many want to expand into audiobooks. Recently, Spotify made an audiobook acquisition that would launch them in the market.

Now Flipkart is also trying its hand with this new partnership with Pocket FM.

Pocket FM started its audiobook streaming service in March and recorded sales of 1.2 lakh per month. Now Pocket FM can leverage Flipkart’s massive userbase of 400 million to distribute its services.

Flipkart, seeing that India is the third-largest audiobook market at 25 million users, can tap into this burgeoning market with this partnership.

Furthermore, Flipkart sees this as an opportunity to serve more localized content for its regional users.


5. YouTube is trying to make creating Shorts easier

A new tool for creators on YouTube just came out. This snappy new feature allows a creator to publish any part of one of their existing videos in Shorts.

Creators will be using the existing editing tools within the app to create such 60-second Shorts.

This move, however, is Google’s way of taking on TikTok. The Chinese short-video app is the market leader for short-form content. And that does not sit well with those in Silicon Valley. Hence, they’re trying to ramp up their efforts to catch up with the competition.

YouTube was already adding vertically-shot videos under the Shorts banner (but without the uploader’s permission). Now they want to do it to happen organically but with pre-existing content.


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