Some things we know about short-video apps in India. When TikTok was banned there in the summer of 2020, it sparked rapid growth for a group of locally-developed rivals: Moj, MX TakaTak, Josh, Chingari and Roposo for example.
These apps raced to tens (and even hundreds) of millions of users; several secured huge funding rounds; but also started to come under pressure from the twin forces of music rightsholders seeking licensing deals, and competition from global platforms YouTube (with Shorts) and Instagram (with Reels).
Recent speculation has suggested that the Indian apps may be losing momentum in the latter battle, so is now a good time to launch another one? Telco Jio’s parent company thinks so. Jio Platfoms has teamed up with Rolling Stone’s Indian edition and creative services company Creativeland Asia to launch a new app called Platform.
It’s being pitched as “the ultimate destination for star entertainers, with an ecosystem built for organic growth and steady monetisation”, with a focus on musicians, actors, comedians, dancers, fashion designers and influencers. Its first 100 invited stars will get “golden tick verification” and the ability to invite other people to sign up.
Gold is just the start of it: Platform will operate a silver, blue and red-tick tiered system as people build their audiences, with the proviso that this will be based on “fanbase growth and content engagement – not paid promotions”. There will also be ‘book now’ buttons to drum up paid work for Platform’s creators.
Although it’s available now in beta, the full launch will come early in 2023. It seems likely to continue the intense battle for creators between the key Indian and global short-video apps. We’ll be very interested to see what its specific plans are for music: both for the artists it attracts to Platform, and any plans (and thus licensing arrangements) for fan-created content.
Consultancy firm Redseer recently predicted that India’s short-video market will be worth $19bn by 2030, and while that’s very bullish, it’s no surprise to see telcos like Jio moving to take a slice of whatever this market does become. Success is from from guaranteed, however. Jio knows well the challenges of facing powerful global rivals from its ownership of music service JioSaavn.
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