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Indian Languages in the Digital World

Indian Languages in the Digital World

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Published by Indicus Analytics
INDIAN LANGUAGES IN THE DIGITAL WORLD
Language No Barrier

The presence of local Indian languages in the digital world is very low. This is strange, because local languages dominate in both the print media and the audio-visual media (TV, movies, radio). There are nearly 800 movies produced every year in India and their box office collection completely dwarfs the earnings of English films. In fact, Hollywood has found it lucrative to dub movies in local languages to grow their market share. However, the digital world so far has resisted this phenomenon. We believe the trend in the digital world of content is set to change direction sharply and we are about to witness an explosion in local language content. There are several reasons for this and we will look at some of the key drivers in turn.
The key driver of digital content in India was the Internet (accessed through a PC). The PC in India has always been expensive when compared to the income levels. The price point of the PC itself was a barrier to access and India is abysmally low in terms of PC penetration. PC penetration is estimated to be of the order of 38% across SEC A, B and C segments, which, in turn, together account for less than 50% of urban Indian households (urban India itself is just about 30% of Indian households). Just three years back this figure was just 19%, which implies that penetration is exploding at a fast pace from a very low base. In total, about 25-26 million urban households have access to a PC (a figure that was just about 15 million three years ago). The Internet population in India is estimated to be of the order of 80 million people.

The drivers of this surge in PC penetration are the falling prices of PCs and laptops, combined with growing income levels. We expect the Internet population to grow five-fold in the next 10 years and PCs and laptops as access devices will also grow at a frenetic pace during this period. We expect the PC and Internet penetration to follow the path of other comparable economies, albeit with a gap of about 10-12 years.

However, the more exciting story is in other devices that are increasingly being accessed for content·the mobile phone with 3G and subsequently 4G capabilities. The significantly lower access cost of mobile phones has already resulted in a teledensity of over 60% (on population) and a penetration into nearly 150 million of the households. Mobile penetration today has already caught up with TV penetration and is set to scale past effortlessly. Users around the globe have shown quick adaptability to the mobile interface for accessing the Internet, and there is no evidence to show that India will be any different.

A study commissioned by dotMobi has found that the mobile web is continuing its explosive global growth. An earlier 2008 study showed 1,50,000 mobile-ready websites, while the 2010 study showed approximately 3.01 million sites, representing an incredible two-year growth of more than 2,000%.

In the Indian context, this is bound to happen as fast as in the rest of the world, if not faster. The clear driver is the low access cost of mobile devices.

What does all this mean for content? We know already that the bulk of consumers prefer local language content. This is clearly illustrated by the consumption of other mass media—print, TV, films—where English accounts for less than 10% of the consumption. In the early days of digital media, the upper income segments, who mainly prefer the English language, dominated the digital consumption space, and the market economics, therefore, played out in a way that English language content dominated content generation in India. However, as the present decade plays out, the demand for local language content is bound to play out exactly as it has in other media and content creation is bound to explode.

The national readership survey clearly demonstrates the preference for local language, which one intuitively knows just looking at the print
INDIAN LANGUAGES IN THE DIGITAL WORLD
Language No Barrier

The presence of local Indian languages in the digital world is very low. This is strange, because local languages dominate in both the print media and the audio-visual media (TV, movies, radio). There are nearly 800 movies produced every year in India and their box office collection completely dwarfs the earnings of English films. In fact, Hollywood has found it lucrative to dub movies in local languages to grow their market share. However, the digital world so far has resisted this phenomenon. We believe the trend in the digital world of content is set to change direction sharply and we are about to witness an explosion in local language content. There are several reasons for this and we will look at some of the key drivers in turn.
The key driver of digital content in India was the Internet (accessed through a PC). The PC in India has always been expensive when compared to the income levels. The price point of the PC itself was a barrier to access and India is abysmally low in terms of PC penetration. PC penetration is estimated to be of the order of 38% across SEC A, B and C segments, which, in turn, together account for less than 50% of urban Indian households (urban India itself is just about 30% of Indian households). Just three years back this figure was just 19%, which implies that penetration is exploding at a fast pace from a very low base. In total, about 25-26 million urban households have access to a PC (a figure that was just about 15 million three years ago). The Internet population in India is estimated to be of the order of 80 million people.

The drivers of this surge in PC penetration are the falling prices of PCs and laptops, combined with growing income levels. We expect the Internet population to grow five-fold in the next 10 years and PCs and laptops as access devices will also grow at a frenetic pace during this period. We expect the PC and Internet penetration to follow the path of other comparable economies, albeit with a gap of about 10-12 years.

However, the more exciting story is in other devices that are increasingly being accessed for content·the mobile phone with 3G and subsequently 4G capabilities. The significantly lower access cost of mobile phones has already resulted in a teledensity of over 60% (on population) and a penetration into nearly 150 million of the households. Mobile penetration today has already caught up with TV penetration and is set to scale past effortlessly. Users around the globe have shown quick adaptability to the mobile interface for accessing the Internet, and there is no evidence to show that India will be any different.

A study commissioned by dotMobi has found that the mobile web is continuing its explosive global growth. An earlier 2008 study showed 1,50,000 mobile-ready websites, while the 2010 study showed approximately 3.01 million sites, representing an incredible two-year growth of more than 2,000%.

In the Indian context, this is bound to happen as fast as in the rest of the world, if not faster. The clear driver is the low access cost of mobile devices.

What does all this mean for content? We know already that the bulk of consumers prefer local language content. This is clearly illustrated by the consumption of other mass media—print, TV, films—where English accounts for less than 10% of the consumption. In the early days of digital media, the upper income segments, who mainly prefer the English language, dominated the digital consumption space, and the market economics, therefore, played out in a way that English language content dominated content generation in India. However, as the present decade plays out, the demand for local language content is bound to play out exactly as it has in other media and content creation is bound to explode.

The national readership survey clearly demonstrates the preference for local language, which one intuitively knows just looking at the print

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Indicus Analytics on Jan 28, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/31/2011

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The presence of local Indian languages in the digital world is very low. This is strange, because local languagesdominate in both the print media and the audio-visual media (TV, movies, radio). There are nearly 800 moviesproduced every year in India and their box office collection completely dwarfs the earnings of English films. Infact, Hollywood has found it lucrative to dub movies in local languages to grow their market share. However, thedigital world so far has resisted this phenomenon. We believe the trend in the digital world of content is set tochange direction sharply and we are about to witness an explosion in local language content. There are severalreasons for this and we will look at some of the key drivers in turn.The key driver of digital content in India was the Internet (accessed through a PC). The PC in India has alwaysbeen expensive when compared to the income levels. The price point of the PC itself was a barrier to accessand India is abysmally low in terms of PC penetration. PC penetration is estimated to be of the order of 38%across SEC A, B and C segments, which, in turn, together account for less than 50% of urban Indianhouseholds (urban India itself is just about 30% of Indian households). Just three years back this figure was just 19%, which implies that penetration is exploding at a fast pace from a very low base. In total, about 25-26million urban households have access to a PC (a figure that was just about 15 million three years ago). TheInternet population in India is estimated to be of the order of 80 million people.

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