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EY report predicts 8 key trends for digital content consumption in India

MUMBAI: In its report titled ‘Future of Digital Content Consumption in India’, Ernst & Young identifies key trends that will shape the future of content consumption in the country.

Spread across eight key areas, the report predicts an increasing proliferation of digital media consumption into rural markets driven by smartphone adoption.

The eight key trends highlighted by the report are as follows:

1. Increase in content for the individual: Smartphone penetration in India is expected to grow to 520 million by 2020. This use of smaller screens on personal devices will fuel ‘personal escapism’ or watching content individually, with 45% of all content consumed expected to be on the small screen by 2020.

2. Content breaks out of the 30-/60-min programming pattern: Short-form and snackable content is primarily driving the growth in consumption of digital media, and is very popular with a younger audience. The average length of video viewed in India is less than 20 minutes, with short-form content constituting 62% of all content consumed on YouTube.

3. Omniplatform content consumption: While television serves as the primary screen currently, we are entering an era where all screens will work seamlessly together—they will just come in a wide range of sizes.

4. The changing face of rural consumers: The next wave of growth in India’s internet penetration is expected to come from Tier II and III cities, enabled by wireless mobile internet. The preference of the Indian consumers for vernacular and regional-language content is constantly on the upswing, with 93% of the time spent on videos in Hindi and other regional languages. By 2020, of the 650 million internet users, 50–55% are expected to be rural users, up from 33% off 351 million in 2013.

5. Growth in earning population: India’s earning population (above 25 years of age) is expected to grow from 40% of the total population to 54% by 2018. In addition, mobile wallets are increasing in popularity, and would see a 60x growth in the number of transactions till 2020. This increase in the earning population and ease in the ability to pay will lead to a growth in spending on media and entertainment.

6. Community enablement: Mass content will evolve to suit the new market needs, aided by the increase in individual content consumption, and the ability to unicast content. Expect to see increased niches being created and the focus move from only mass products to mass and niche communities.

7. Regional e-celebrities: The proliferation of digital platforms have also given rise to the phenomena of ‘e-celebs’. With the growing influence of similar home-grown celebrities in India, it is expected that such talent would be partnered extensively by content and brand players to build offerings for consumers on different digital platforms. Successful e-celebs can then be ported across media and given shows online, on TV and other media.

8. Increase in digital gaming: Due to an increase in the number of mobile internet users, smartphones and tablets in India, expect mobiles to be one of the most important platforms in gaming, garnering a 54% share of the total Indian gaming market by 2020.

EY digital media head, media and entertainment Raghav Anand said, “A combination of high-speed wireless broadband and cheaper smart devices, combined with increased digital advertising spends, will propel digital media sector beyond Rs 200 billion by 2020. Further, easier digital payments mechanisms like wallets and telecom APIs, together with sharp analytics, will enable an on-impulse transaction ecosystem for entertainment content consumption.”

At a foundational level, the eight highlighted key trends will require M&E companies and content providers to develop much richer relationships with audiences. Players will also need to invest in the technologies that will enable them to analyse audience data, deliver deeper engagement with advertising and prove incremental value to brands.