India has been one of the fastest growing entertainment and media markets globally and this is expected to gain momentum. Driven by low-cost smartphones, digital consumption - both in rural and urban areas - has significantly increased especially in the last few years. Entertainment for India’s vernacular audience is no longer restricted to radios or television sets; they now consume digital content at unprecedented rates.
New age entertainment is steadily and aggressively booming. Video streaming market in India has exploded. The industry is all set to grow at a CAGR of 21.82 % to reach INR 11,977 Crore by 2012. According to PwC, OTT video segment will record the highest growth in the media and entertainment industry. The Indian hinterland will certainly not be oblivious to this growth. Only recently, Netflix shared their plan to launch 22 original movies and 11 series in Indian languages by 2020. More options for the semi-urban and rural populace? Most definitely! Some reports even suggest that 65 % of video consumption comes from rural and semi-urban India, already.
Another segment seeing a sharp rise is the online gaming segment. We have already been witnessing the growth of the mobile gaming ecosystem in India. Game downloads have increased by 8 to 10 x, with active mobile gaming population expected to touch 310 million by 2021, up from 120 million in 2016. This segment’s penetration in rural areas is inevitable, already making fast in-roads.
What will further drive this growth in gaming and entertainment segment is, connectivity. Wi-Fi access to each and every household will bring a plethora of opportunities to the rural set-ups. Digital content access and online gaming options made easy internet connectivity will mean a lot more than mere entertainment. This will boost innovative awareness/education campaigns and will drive entrepreneurship in the population, which will be better exposed and connected to the outside world.
Take the example of Amjad, who resides in the small town of Gaonghera in Kota district of Rajasthan. Owner of the coolest cyber-café and gaming centre in the town, he offers latest games on the play station that he has invested in. It is surprising, knowing that he had no inclination or knowledge of gaming, whatsoever until a few months ago. This changed with access to internet connectivity with Express Wi-Fi by iConnectWe. This connectivity definitely nudged the inherent entrepreneur in him and he thought of creating a small gaming zone, as quality internet made it easier to stream games on play-station.
Some organizations are taking this a step further and creating inspiring projects that use mobile gaming to enhance literacy among children of school-going age, especially in semi-urban and rural areas.
This scenario also means investment opportunities for market players in rural and semi-urban India. Innovative means of revenue earning such as digital advertisements will also see a rise, which can further reduce the cost burden on the consumer with possibilities of even free internet access. Collaboration between service providers and entertainment players will most definitely drive growth and further opportunities in this segment, taking the rural entertainment boom to the next level.
Written By: Mr. Munish Dhingra - The author is Founder & Director, LMES iConnectWe – an organization committed to bridging the rural-urban divide by bringing a technology revolution via connectivity.