Long Live the Internet!
Hike, a homegrown messenger led by Kavin Bharti Mittal, has clocked well over 30 million downloads and has recently launched a major 10-feature upgrade. The app ecosystem in India is taking off at a fast pace, and is disrupting the business models of not just the telecom companies but a host of other industry segments as well. The transformation is happening in not just communications, travel & transportation, and entertainment, but in healthcare, education and governance too. (See the report on Page 23).
In India, the app ecosystem is now estimated to be in the range of Rs 2,000 crore by 2016 and is set to cross Rs 4,000 crore by 2020. Around nine billion apps will be downloaded in the country by December 2015, more than five times the number of apps downloaded in 2012 (1.56 billion) at a cumulative annual growth rate (CAGR) of 75 per cent. More so, the app economy has created about 75,000 direct jobs in India, and has the potential to reach 600,000 over a period of time.
What’s really pushing and driving this growth is the country’s awesome technology talent pool. Counting over 300,000 app developers, India is already the second largest Android developer community in the world.
With that kind of opportunity, it is but natural that global players have their eyes on the market pie. Biggest, and somewhat low hanging opportunity is the entertainment segment where OTT content streaming directly competes with original content created by television or cinema. It won’t be long before Pay TV gets replaced with OTT - anytime, anywhere, any device streaming.
And it does not require a Netflix entry for the purpose. There are smaller, culture and context focused players already onto it. US-based YuppTV that streams live TV content of relevance to NRIs entered India market in mid-2015. Singapore-based Spuul that offers regional language movies and television content of relevance to Indian audiences already has operations in the country and is serving a significantly-engaged subscriber base.
According to a FICCI-KPMG report, India is expected to have 500 million Internet users by 2017, out of which 382 million would be smartphone users, 70 per cent whom would be 3G/4G customers. Given that millennials stream content 50 percent of the time, according to a global study, telecom companies only need to ride the wave and have network readiness to support the emergent trends. And to do that telcos need to first address the Quality of Service issues plaguing the consumers. See page 14 and make it a point to share your perspective on ‘improving the network’ with the industry.