Boom, Boom! India’s Short Form Video (SFV) market explodes. And how!

24 Jan,2022



By Indrani Sen


Indrani SenThe Indian government’s ban on TikTok in June 2020 along with 50+ other Chinese apps was a blessing in disguise for the homegrown user generated short video apps. TikTok, introduced in India in September 2016, opened up a new category of users in digital media consumption and had almost 90% share of the total time spent by Indian netizens on creation and consumption of short video contents.


In fact, as I wrote here on May 4, 2020, ( during the first two weeks of the lockdown in 2020, TikTok along with Aarogya Setu were the two most favourite apps downloaded by the Indians.


Six months after the ban on TikTok, we saw many homegrown apps like Times Internet’s MX TakaTak, ShareChat’s Moj, InMobi’s Roposo, Dailyhunt’s Josh, Tech4Billion Media’s Chingari, etc. trying hard to fill in the void left by the sudden disappearance of Tik Tok. In June 2021m the combined efforts of all the homegrown apps got back nearly 97% of daily active users compared to June 2020. Aggressive influencer marketing and content creation in local languages on these platforms were the two main factors which helped in getting back lapsed users as well as create new users. Many of these platforms initially used Tik Tok’s name for promoting their apps on digital media.




A year after, in October 2021, a report by Redseer Consulting revealed that homegrown Indian short video apps have nearly 250 million monthly active users (MAU) compared to Tik Tok’s monthly active users (MAU) of 170 million users at the time of its closure in September 2020. These platforms’ offer of creating short videos in local languages as well as simple interfaces accessible by cheaper smartphones helped to make inroads to small towns and rural areas. The Redseer report estimated that active users spend up to 45 minutes daily on these platforms.


The combined monthly active userbase (MAU) of the homegrown short video apps stood at 170-190 million beyond India’s 50 cities, as per the Redseer report titled ‘Short-form video – The Rise of Made in India Digital Content.’ The report stated that 60-62% of the short-form video users are from Tier 2+ cities, a proof of the fact that India’s short-form video (SFV) market has spread to “Bharat”. There is a huge scope of growth as compared to more than 90% of internet users in China using online videos, in India the penetration of online video users is below 60% of Internet users.


India’s short-form video (SFV) market is set for an exponential growth over the next few years to 500-600 million by 2025. RedSeer has further predicted that short-form content would be overtaking the over-the-top (OTT) or streaming video content users by middle of this decade. The entertaining content supported by influencers has made short-form video the fastest-growing content category in Indian digital space. The marketing and advertising strategies of the major platforms have also changed as shown in the more recent advertisements of MX TakaTak featuring Virat Kohli and Chingari featuring Salman Khan.


Last month, an article in www.exchange4media discussed how “after successfully filling in the void created by the ban of TikTok, the desi short-video platforms are now looking beyond advertising revenue”. Many of the platforms are now exploring revenue streams like live and social commerce and are actively driving the growth of live creator driven social commerce in India and the SFV market.


Let me share a few examples of this changing scenario here. Trell, an early adopter, entered the social commerce space in 2020 by setting up Trell Shop marketplace which today offers 500+ brands. Moj has entered into a deal on video commerce partnership with Flipkart. Bolo Indya renamed itself Bolo LIVE in order to emerge as a leading social live-streaming platform in India. Roposo has fully transformed from a short video platform to a creator-led live entertainment commerce platform. Woovly has targeted youth in T2, T3 cities with short videos on lifestyle products through by short videos created by micro/ nano influencers in regional languages. Chingari has recently launched its own crypto token $Gari and NFT marketplace. $Gari token will become the default currency for transactions made on Chingari platform. All these moves have been possible due to various high profile investment deals made by these platforms.


Our local short video apps also have a scope to go global. Dailyhunt launched their short video app Josh about a year back. Recently Josh featured in the Top 10 of App Store and Play Store downloads in May 2021. As per Sensor Tower, Josh ranked as the world’s 10th most downloaded app overall, and as eighth most downloaded on Play Store. Chingari’s crypto token is listed in top 13 exchanges across the world. There is no doubt that India’s SFV market is all set for an explosive growth in the coming years which will create a disruption in the current digital media consumption pattern of Indians.


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