Digital Media: Racing to the future

In the 21st century not just India but the entire world has been seeing a digital boom vis a vis the media. The fourth estate has been hungry to do something unique. As a consequence there has been a mushrooming of digital media houses in the country. Organizations today are now gradually turning towards a mobile first concept that tries to encash the already existing smartphone generation for monetary gains and grabbing maximum eyeballs.

With better networks, greater penetration and access to the internet and mobile devices attuned to multimedia services combined with an application development ecosystem there is a slow but sure push towards the digital age.

While data consumption has seen a steady rise, the speed of internet connection in the Indian context is rather low as compared to other countries. A recent research by Deloitte further corroborates the point adding that such hiccups often prove to be a major roadblock for the digital content industry.

In an age where not just the young but even the middle aged are adapting to smartphones, the media too is taking to what is popular as Mobile Journalism in short MOJO. As a result a population of 356 million youngsters between an age group of 10-24 year-olds have become the world’s largest population consuming content on the go.
The smartphone market has seen an unprecedented growth in the last 5 years.

Reportedly smartphones crossed 2 billion mark in 2014 and are expected to reach 4.6 billion by 2019.

Not so long back India was ranked at 30th position by World Economic Forum on a global manufacturing index – below China’s 5th place but above other BRICS countries.

Given that the manufacturing sector accounts for 16-20 per cent of India’s GDP, there is a dire need for India to raise capabilities of its young and rapidly growing labour force. In this perspective one of the key areas being looked into is improving digital skills as per latest data available.

With new digital players entering the scene in India in rapid progression, it is not surprising that the boom is already visible in the entertainment landscape that has taken shape with media digitalisation.
Amazon Prime, YouTube , Hotstar, Netflix have been able to emerge and bring in varied ways of designing, distributing and consuming content.

Over the years there has also been a gradual shift from professionally generated content to user-generated content.

With advertising being one of the key drivers in the mediaspace, Google and Facebook are already occupying about two-thirds of that global digital advertising market.

A fresh study shows Twitter reached 50 million all over the world in a span of three years; Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, did the same in a remarkable 14 months. Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook’s first four years in India netted 50 million users.

International research further drives home the point that marketers are slowly but surely shifting gear vis a vis advertising spends towards digital media.

Mediawatchers and industry captains are largely of the view that the next revolution is in the digital landscape in contrast to TV, print and radio. As per a Kings College study total advertising spend on digital media is expected to reach 36% by 2020.

Over-the-top service providers primarily like YouTube and digital content providers like Spotify that are based on subscription have acted as a catalyst in audio/video data streaming growth.

With a talent pool of 300,000 app developers in India it has already won the distinction of being the second largest Android developer community globally after US. Half of the app users in India are between the age group of 18 and 24. 29% are between 25 and 35. 45% of these users reside in the top 4 metros.

Fresh data shows spending per month by users on digital media are expected to grow by 2.5 times by 2020.

In a generation of consumers where serials are now being overtaken by original series on varied platforms like Netflix and Amazon, the competition on OTT is tuned to exploit them as a weapon.

There is a buzz that pay TV providers like Comcast; Disney’s own version of Netflix and Apple all are trying to up their digital game.
Among the others inching to eat the digital pie are Comics-driven motion book company, Madefire; mobile-first horror company Crypt TV; and mobile text storytelling company Yarn.

( The piece was first published in the Amity Media and Journalism Review )

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