Nojoto: Igniting Content, Commerce, Community & Creators
India's Digital Heartlands & the Rangbhoomi
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Disney+ Hotstar records 5.9 crore OR 59 million peak concurrent viewers during the India - Australia Cricket World Cup final breaking it’s own record of 53 million set during the semi-final!
Exploring the Digital Heartlands of India through the Journeys of Small Town Creators from the Consumer Culture Report, an IIM Udaipur Initiative. Download full report here.
Nojoto - Igniting Content, Commerce, Community & Creators
Exploring the Digital Heartlands of India
The “Streaming in India” newsletter so far has focused on the mainstream streaming platforms which are better known to a certain class of society. As we dig deeper and surface stories of streaming across the various demographics of the country, the “Digital Heartlands of India” report is a gem that is worth quoting from - this also sets the tone for the introduction of Nojoto - which aims to be India’s largest “storytelling” platform.
As the Internet penetrates India's hinterlands, the creator economy is
booming. Local language content creators are flourishing on global and local social media platforms, such as YouTube, Meta (Instagram) etc, however there is a “Indian content creator paradise” emerging outside of the US tech giants which include short form video heroes such as Sharechat (acquired MX Takatak), Josh and Nojoto. This space received a massive boost when the Indian Government banned all Chinese apps, including TikTok in June 2020.
The report finds that Indian small towns are in a state of flux between aspiration
and rootedness. Using a map of three ideological "lands" (“Bhoomi” in Hindi) that small town consumers inhabit, the report showcases:
(1) Karmabhoomi: the elusive land of social mobility that shapes one's aspirations, but also evokes fears of alienation,
(2) Janmabhoomi: the grounded land of birth that inhibits one's aspirations but provides fertile soil to take root, and
(3) Rangbhoomi: the creative canvas that spans the continuum between Karmabhoomi and Janmabhoomi, where creators seek to resolve the tensions between their aspirations and their roots by creatively merging the two worlds.
The role of social media and the Indian short form video apps in small towns focuses on Rangbhoomi, the distinctive "desi" space of content creation.
The third, and the most powerful category of content the report finds in the Rangbhoomi is rooted heterotopia where creators merge both mobility and rootedness. This category of content pushes the boundaries of local narratives with progressive values. The creators are unapologetically vernacular, relatable and rooted in their regional histories —re-creating the social fabric of the small town in the digital world.
The picture that emerges in India's digital heartlands makes it clear that companies should not view India as a single entity, but as an amalgamation of multiple regional entities with their own local, vernacular cultures. Digital media not only opens up new mobility opportunities for consumers in small towns, but is also an important means of strengthening and reshaping their relationship with their regional roots. Social media and technology platforms must recognise that they live in worlds of rootedness and aspiration, of emerging as well as more stable values and ideals.
Nojoto - Igniting Content, Commerce, Community & Creators.
At Nojoto, the company’s vision is to create the "Largest Platform for any Expression" for the world where language & technology isn't a barrier for anyone to create and consume content of their choice. They want to re-define the relationship between the content creator and their fan by offering quick / easy accessibility, micro transactions and a variety of content formats including 1-1 consultations, ticketed live shows and more.
As per recent data they are at 8 million monthly active users with creators across genres of Horror, Shayari & Ghazal, Suspense & Thriller, Sports, Memes, News, Opinions, Films, Nojoto Originals, Romance, Comedy, Poetry, Knowledge & Learning, Motivation, Life Experiences and Society & Culture.
The business model is that Nojoto takes a 40% revenue share from the “earnings” of the content creators who can earn Rupees by receiving virtual gifts from their fans, ticketed live shows, and live 1-1 video consultations (astrologers, educators, fashion experts, health professionals etc).
An advertising model using video and display ads is in the works as the audience size is significant with several repeat users.
The Android app of Nojoto is easy to use and offers quick access to live shows and 1-1 live consultations.
In addition, the content recording function on the app is easier to understand than some of the other more “sophisticated” short form apps out there - this is done to make sure that the target audience adopts the technology faster and is not lost trying to figure out fancy features and add ons that might have been possible.
Taking their “creator” game a step further, Nojoto offers a free “Creator Academy” for any content creator to understand the nuances / how to videos of creating engaging content - explaining concepts / tips & tricks related to creating content on Nojoto, how they can earn money on the platform, growing followers, wallets / KYC / Withdrawal of earnings and more.
The rise of "desi" (indigenous) content creators on global and local social media & technology platforms is due to the widespread adoption of the Internet, which makes technology more accessible in India's heartlands.
Direct to Consumer “content creator” platforms & short form user generated content apps such as Nojoto are well positioned to leverage the a) quick adoption of the internet across India’s heartlands, b) earning opportunities for millions of “aspirational” users, c) micro transaction focused business models and d) fast maturing streaming technologies to establish a sustainable business built entirely on a burgeoning population of “desi” users seeking an audience to listen to & watch their talent on their preferred mobile device.
Eventually though, Nojoto will have to transform into a content studio where they have more control on the quality of the content that is being broadcast on it’s platform. The team says that the content that goes live on their platform is “curated” and “green lit” basis an internal quality check process, however similar to their “aspirational” audience, Nojoto will also have to continuously improve and enhance their content quality.
Some of the learnings for “streamers” / content rights holders / tech platforms trying to succeed in India from a platform such as Nojoto:
Look beyond the big cities: the pace of economic growth outside of the
metro cities requires ambitious businesses to look beyond the metros and focus on understanding the emerging India.
Localisation is vital: Very few streamers / businesses have succeeded in India
without thoughtfully, and consistently, localising their products or marketing. Simple localisation is not enough: India is not a homogenous market. Its cultural, religious and linguistic diversity demand a more segmented and nuanced approach to localisation.
Think about creators not just consumers: India is an economy with a
strong legacy of creativity with a legion of creators drawing on national,
regional and local traditions and using Western and Indian tools to
actively create, not just consume.
Focus on young India: with over half its population under the age of 30,
businesses that want to succeed in India need to tap into diverse demographies, desires and dreams of India’s youth.
Cater to a world between aspiration and rootedness: adopting a simplistic narrative of (Western) consumer aspiration is unlikely to work in India. Most Indian consumers exhibit values and aspirations that sit between modernity and tradition, between their local, regional roots and more rootless identities. Product, marketing and commercial strategies that recognise, and play to that space in their industry vertical, will have a great chance of success.
Micro-transactions: Do not underestimate the power of micro transactions - increasingly streaming and successful digital players in the “media & entertainment” space in India are realizing that business success lies in offering a variety of business models, maybe all at once - ad supported, transactions, subscriptions, tipping / gifting & more.
The power is in AND, not OR.
With several quotes and images from Exploring the Digital Heartlands of India through the Journeys of Small Town Creators from the Consumer Culture Report, an IIM Udaipur Initiative.
That’s all for today folks. If you enjoyed this breakdown, please share it with your friends and colleagues!
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