March 4, 2024
It was 2020. Aman Raj, a 26 -year-old from Jehanabad in Bihar, logged into homegrown social media platform ShareChat and began to recite shayaris, sing and do a little bit of comedy to entertain the handful of viewers he had.

Three days later, PM Narendra Modi declared a nation-wide lockdown to fight Covid-19. At the moment, nobody anticipated that the lockdown would prolong for so long as it did, nevertheless it gave creators like Raj a captive viewers — locked up at house and hungry for content material.

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“Initially, my mother and father would say issues like, ‘Din bhar bak bak karte rehte ho [All you do the whole day is talk],” mentioned Raj, who has practically 8,500 followers on ShareChat. “They have been upset that I wasn’t eager to work at our household attire retailer. However as time handed, I proved to them that I used to be incomes cash by all that speaking,” he additional mentioned, including that in a superb month, “I can earn as a lot as Rs 1 lakh and due to my work on ShareChat, I purchased a BMW bike.”

Driving power

Based on a November 2023 Redseer report, the effectiveness of Indian brief type video (SFV) apps may be attributed to 2 key components — they attain customers in Bharat, and are more and more being thought of integral channels inside large-scale branding and attain campaigns.

“The surge in usergenerated content material (UGC), pushed by the SFV panorama, paved the best way for the rising influencer ecosystem,” the report mentioned. “India’s UGC ecosystem contains roughly 3.5 million influencers, segmented into 4 archetypes foundation the variety of followers: micro, macro, mega and elite.”

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With the maturing ecosystem, Redseer mentioned that influencers have been capable of earn a sustainable revenue by way of platform payouts, model offers and digital gifting. Micro-influencers (with follower depend inside the vary of 10,000–100,000) predominantly depend on platform payouts for his or her earnings as their reputation doesn’t elicit model offers or digital presents.

“Typical elite influencers on the platforms earn upwards of Rs 1.5-2 lakh every month,” the report mentioned.

The report by Redseer additionally highlights that Indian SFV platforms are dominated by people positioned in tier-II cities (about 65-70%) and about 64% of the consumer base contains people as much as the age of 25 years.

Of this demographic, round 45% of the customers work together with a various set of web platforms starting from gaming to ecommerce. “About 60% of them are from mid to highincome backgrounds, making monetisation a powerful risk,” it mentioned.

New-age celebrities

This influencer evolution may be attributed to India witnessing an enormous growth in 5G and smartphone penetration — the nation has greater than 900 million smartphone customers and 250 million characteristic cellphone customers.

Take for instance the case of 27-year-old Ajay Sharma, a well-liked motivational speaker and content material creator from Jaipur. He is among the prime creators on Josh with 56.9 million ‘followers’ and has additionally secured the Influencer of the 12 months 2022 award on the Jaipur Well being Pageant.

Sharma went from operating his household’s grocery retailer to content material creation a couple of year-and-a-half in the past. “Since then, I’ve been sharing household motivation and drama movies with the world,” he mentioned. “I’ve had the chance to collaborate with a number of main manufacturers, resembling males’s grooming model Muuchstac, to create participating content material that resonates with my viewers. Collectively from all of the platforms I take advantage of, I earn roughly Rs 1-2 lakh per 30 days,” Sharma shared.

Eighteen-year-old Mona Singh from Delhi can also be an rising content material creator on Josh, primarily focussing on dance and comedy for her 5.8 million followers. “I joined Josh in 2021. I’ve been lucky to grab alternatives to collaborate with manufacturers resembling Fem, Dabur Gulabari, Dawn, and extra, develop my avenues for monetisation and broaden my viewers attain,” mentioned Singh, who’s pursuing a level in mass communications.

For apps like Josh, tier-II cities have change into the ‘major centre’ for rising, relatable creators. Cities that the app sees probably the most traction from embody Chandigarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Asansol, Siliguri, Madurai, Coimbatore, Kota, Jodhpur, Amritsar, Aurangabad, Nashik, Indore, Nagpur, Kochi, Mysore, Mangalore, Ranchi, Surat, Rajkot, Patna, Guwahati, Vizag and Warangal.

“The monetisation panorama for our creators is various, encompassing model offers, sponsored content material collaborations and micropayments by way of digital gifting,” mentioned Sunder Venketraman, head of creator and content material ecosystem at Josh.

“Our creators have been benefitting from the advert revenues we get and so they obtain greater than 50% of the model campaigns’ proceeds. Their earnings from model offers have considerably grown.”

Fringe Advantages

In a earlier Redseer report, Mohit Rana, a accomplice on the agency, mentioned that reside streaming generates 10X extra engagement within the type of reside chats and feedback for creators.

Which means the chance of digital presents and monetisation will increase. Nevertheless, the platforms take about 50% of the earnings.

“Digital gifting on Indian brief type video platforms is anticipated to achieve $1.7 billion by 2030 [from $0.1 billion in 2022],” Rana had instructed ET. “The projected spend on digital gifting in India is anticipated to extend as extra customers declare that they’re prepared to spend sooner or later.”

Vicky Khandelwal, 26, is a software program engineer working at an IT agency in Bengaluru by day, and a poetry and shayari reciting content material creator on ShareChat-owned Moj by evening. He has over 2.7 million followers and connects with them nearly day by day.

“Aside from my wage, my work on Moj has given me satisfaction, contentment and a superb revenue,” he mentioned. “I’m able to earn about Rs 1-2 lakh per 30 days by way of the movies and reside streams.

Throughout a four-day particular reside throughout Shivratri, I earned Rs 2.2 lakh [in a month] as a result of my viewers gifted me generously.”

However there are different fashions too like Roposo’s which is a ‘shoppertainment’ and trends-first platform. It options each purchasing and reside leisure the place customers can choose up on the most recent trend tendencies and luxuriate in reside music performances, digital trend reveals, interactive music festivals, film launches, reside contests and extra.

The codecs differ from particular person creator reveals to multicasts to vox pop codecs, chat reveals, reside challenges, sport reveals and so forth.

For Yashasvi Acharya, a content material creator and reside streamer at Roposo for 2 years, the platform offers her with a possibility to attach with a special and youthful demographic. The TV presenter, sports activities anchor, radio jockey and content material producer from Udaipur at present lives in Mumbai and has managed to create a loyal fan base that predominantly hails from tier-II cities and past.

“I do numerous various things on Roposo like leisure, sports activities, ecommerce, and even way of life and trend reveals the place I give day-to-day trend hacks. Being from a smaller city, I all the time felt like I learnt on-the go and I feel that’s relatable to my viewers who additionally need to be on the opposite aspect of the digital camera,” Acharya mentioned, sharing that she was capable of purchase a home of her personal in Mumbai due to her work on the platform.

Roposo instructed ET that if a content material creator earns a certain amount on their platform per 30 days, 50% is prone to come from reside streaming, 25% from shoppertainment and 25% from model collaborations — this is determined by the character of the reveals and partnerships.

As of 2022, stories point out that 5% of Indian creators generate 90% of the business’s income. Whereas this focus persists, Shrenik Gandhi, cofounder of White Rivers Media, feels the business is witnessing a gradual shift.

“Whereas revenue disparity exists, potential for monetisation is actual and platforms are lastly stepping up, giving creators instruments and expertise to thrive past chasing viral tendencies. The important thing for manufacturers lies in fostering optimistic creator communities and adapting to the evolving nature of audiences,” he mentioned.

Ashwarya Garg, cofounder of HYPD, mentioned that creators at present have three robust buckets of monetisation — branding (within the type of model offers and consciousness collabs), commerce (within the type of associates, reside commerce and cobranded launches) and subscription (information programs, infotainment programs, unique content material, leisure reside periods and many others).

“That is being achieved just by utilizing tech to monetise their hard-earned distribution [followers] into one of many buckets,” she defined. “So, creators having the ability to monetise is a operate of their distribution [followers] and never a operate of dependency on anyone platform alone. Being married to tech apps that helps you obtain these conversions and earnings recognition throughout any platform is a should now.”

The reel problem

Whereas the chance is huge and the house is seeing a number of creators throughout genres and cities break the mould, some specialists ET spoke to mentioned that the excitement across the ecosystem is deceptive and that for each Aman Raj or Vicky Khandelwal, there are numerous others who battle to seek out their toes within the house and don’t crack the creator code.

“Everybody thinks they’ll change into a creator, and lots of assume they’ll change into one in a single day,” mentioned Kalyan Kumar, cofounder of tech platform KlugKlug. “The later you are available in, the tougher it will likely be to rise above the saturation and competitors. It’s going to get tougher and there is a component of luck — what content material did you make that received fortunate? There’s a science to going viral and that’s about making content material till you determine your area of interest. Most will nonetheless not succeed; the ratio is 1,000:1.”

Based on Kumar, even for a platform like Instagram, which has 2.4 billion customers, solely three to 4 per cent can change into influencers, and of that, three-four% would have an end result of some type.

Gautam Madhavan, founding father of Mad Affect, agreed, including that roughly 90% of aspiring creators battle to achieve prominence on account of a saturated market, restricted visibility and evolving algorithmic complexities on social platforms.

“The fierce competitors, coupled with the demanding nature of manufacturing participating content material deters many from reaching breakthroughs,” Mad havan mentioned. “Moreover, the absence of efficient advertising methods, lack of area of interest differentiation and insufficient viewers understanding contribute to the excessive variety of people unable to carve a profitable path in content material creation.”

Huge weapons rule

There are additionally looming issues over the well being of Indian social media platforms. Kumar mentioned that almost all of those homegrown apps that noticed a flurry of downloads after TikTok was banned in India are actually dealing with a hunch.

With Instagram launching Reels and YouTube bringing out Shorts, the Indian apps have taken a giant hit. Advertisers too choose to place their cash on platforms with a worldwide attain.

“The massive boys are nonetheless ruling and rising considerably,” he mentioned. “All of the others are struggling to discover a good mannequin. Now we have not had a single request for a marketing campaign exterior of Instagram and X. A lot of the homegrown apps have degrown.”

Madhavan mentioned it was essential to acknowledge the challenges confronted by some homegrown platforms.

“The dynamics are advanced, and whereas 3.5 million influencers thrive, quite a few platforms grapple with sustainability,” he mentioned. “Our company, which is homegrown, recognises the panorama, understanding that success for influencers doesn’t equate to common platform prosperity.”