The sheer size of the young population, the increasing availability of smart phones and tablets, a long-term, stable, business model and steady growth in the face of challenge: these are all factors giving rise to predictions that India’s media and telecoms industries are about to go into overdrive in response to an insatiable demand for media and a burgeoning desire for mobile data.
And it’s startups which are best placed to take advantage of the coming boom, according to Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. Mr Schmidt was in Delhi earlier this year to launch a new project for NASSCOM, the Indian software industry's lobby. The 10,000 Startups Program will sees Nasscomn partner with angel investor groups and startup accelerators to mentor startups and provide seed funding in a bid to propel India to the top 10 entrepreneurial and innovation economies of the world.
It’s an ambition which will certainly be aided by the fact that 40% of Silicon Valley startups are headed by India-based entrepreneurs, as Mr Schmidt pointed out.
Poised to lead?
Research consultancy Gartner also believes that India has the potential to lead the world in the adoption of social, mobile and cloud information, but its study points out that a number of technological and socioeconomic shifts are required before this becomes possible.
“New infrastructure will have to replace the old,” said Rakesh Kumar, research vice-president, Gartner, “new types of servers, networks and even datacentres will have to be rolled out. A cash rich consumer base is required that is able to demand and take advantage of social, mobile and context-aware applications. Furthermore, established ways of behaving in education, shopping, banking, will have to morph to take advantage of new technologies.”
Transformation of this nature is expensive and time-consuming. The economic, demographic and social outlook for western economies suggests that, for the next few years, such changes will be difficult to achieve. At first glance, India seems to be well-placed to embrace these changes—it has virtually no legacy systems, billions of dollars are being spent on developing new infrastructure, a wealthy, a well-educated middle class hungry for change, and the country is pivotal in the digital supply chain. Gartner analysts pointed out that the question of whether India will be the first place to see the emergence of a new computing scenario, which they call the Nexus of converging forces - social, mobile, cloud and information, is important.
“Based on current forecasts, India will become one of the world’s biggest consumer economies during the next five years. By 2014, India will have more than 1 billion mobile subscribers. India will see a significant rollout of new IT infrastructure during the next five years in both the public and private sectors,” said Mr Kumar.
India’s media and entertainment industry is expected to double in size by 2017
However, mobile data is not the only area of India’s digital economy where growth is forecast, India’s media and entertainment industry is expected to double in size by 2017 and has an annual growth rate of 15.2%, according to the Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2013.
While traditional media such as television, print and radio continue to be dominant segments, animation, visual effects, films and music are also posting strong growth on the back of content and the benefits of digitization. The later is expected to make a huge difference to TV and internet penetration within the 1.2 billion Indian population, and is forecast to grow to 873 million and 496 million viewers/users respectively by 2017, with paid TV services growing from 76% to 91% of TV households
According to AcceleratorIndia, whose mission is to helping UK technology companies enter and develop business in the Indian market, there are a number of particularly important target areas for the Indian market including: Data, metrics & analytics; content and data security; monetisation of content; scaling up content aggregation and distribution and implementing online and mobile solutions
However despite the wealth of opportunity, caution is necessary. According to Rakesh Kumar, “while there are significant opportunities in India to lead in the Nexus of Forces, contrary forces are also at play. The uptake of social media remains quite low. There is a degree of ambivalence toward the use of social media for marketing by Indian retailers.”
These attitudes require not just new infrastructure but also social change, with privacy concerns tantamount. “Indians,” points out Mr Kumar, “are, by nature, private people, focusing more family than on other, large social groups”.
For more information about AcceleratorIndia, visit their website at http://www.acceleratorindia.com
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