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“YouTube videos are being created in languages like Santhali and Chokri (Nagaland)… Everybody has a story to tell, a voice to share and if that can actually happen in a meaningful manner, with scale, it will travel well,” says Vidyasagar. In the beginning of 2019, YouTube had over 1,000 creators in India with a subscriber base of 1 million. Today, the platform has 4,000, and the number is growing by 50% year on year, adds Vidyasagar.

“There are people from small towns and cities who have developed a national following because of Reels,” adds Paras Sharma, director, media partnerships at Facebook India (Meta). There are around 90,000 Indian creators on Instagram with more than 10,000 followers, around 40,000 with over 100,000 followers and around 10,000 creators with more than 1 million followers, according to Kalaari Capital.

Homegrown apps Josh and Moj launched operations post the TikTok ban, and have already scaled up significantly. Josh, for instance, has over 15 million active content creators, including popular names such as Adnaan Shaikh, Sameeksha Sud, Faisal Shaikh, and Faiz Baloch. Bedi claims Josh has 153 million monthly active users (MAUs) and 74 million daily active users (DAUs). “Short videos are a very expensive business. A lot of investments go into AI, ML, understanding content and personalising it for users to keep them engaged,” he says.

Mohalla Tech-owned Moj has a daily active creator base of around 3 million, covering almost all Indian languages, says Shekhar. “We are seeing more and more niche categories coming up: Sports content; new-age short gaming videos; rappers and singers coming from different parts of India who create vernacular content,” he adds. A user spends 34 minutes on an average per day on Moj, and post the acquisition of social network MX Taka Tak, the platform’s MAUs have increased to around 300 million from 160 million.

“I am getting to witness humour and comedy in such a way that it’s not just restricted to Bollywood or one particular region like Mumbai. There is diversification of content,” says Ashish Chanchlani. “You will see billionaires coming out of it (creator economy), businesses emerging from it, going forward,” he adds.

The creator ecosystem runs on FOMO (fear of missing out), adds Sheth of Monk Entertainment. With competition heating up, young creators lured by algorithms who push their video views to millions need to be mindful. “They need to put in efforts to stay relevant,” he adds.

“We live at a time where reinvention is essential, and you may need to reinvent as frequently as every three months,” says Ranveer Allahbadia. “The future will be regional. It’s a tough market, so you need to bring something very original, very fresh to the table.”



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