One’s life almost seems mundane if entertainment is not part of it. The cinema screen entertained us in the 70’s, the TV screen did the job in the 80’s but since the turn of the millennium our go to avenue for Infotainment has been the mobile phone which incidentally is the first screen most of us check in the morning. And as a large populace of our country still remains uneducated and certainly not well versed with the internet, finding the entertainment source that fits in right with them was a gap that content companies began to look into keenly.
The companies realised that with internet connectivity not being as strong throughout the country, it is difficult for people to log on to the World Wide Web and enjoy the entertainment online. Taking all these into consideration the market of “Audio Content” began to take the initiative in providing superior quality audio content that requires no internet and is easy to use, making infotainment accessible to people who were not literate or did not have internet access.
Audio content is the most easy content to consume. You didn’t need to be a literate to simply tune in and listen to whatever was being played on radio. But yes the audio content had to be of a great quality as the listeners attention span was lower than the ones who consumed content through a more visual medium. So if the audio content had to move From the radio to the mobile handset, it had to be different From what the customer would get while being on conventional radio or From online portals like YouTube. Clearly one had to create good quality content that was entertaining and accessible. The content offered by these audio companies at any given point did not just have to be of superior quality but also had to be very ‘relevant’. It could range from movie reviews to current affairs to sports update. All in tune with what the listener would want to listen. It also had to offer the listener the choice to listen to the content in his preferred language from anywhere.
All this gave rise to the ‘Mobile Radio’ which could be accessed by simply dialing into a short code that gets you onto an IVR that offers a vast selection of choices as per your mood and requirement. Though currently this form of audio content is largely provided by all leading telcos, the market for such a unique and easily accessible content is growing. This form on audio content can be used anywhere that the listener is on the go or in an environment where he needs access to entertainment sans major technology involvement. Car services like Uber, Ola and others can offer this to their customers as an ‘in-cab’ service offering, whereas ‘in-flight’ entertainment where WiFi is a concern, is another area. This for the customers is entertainment of choice with no ad breaks!
However one does acknowledges the data penetration in urban centre and content companies are looking at making original video productions for this market. The growing ‘gaming segment’ is also being looked at with a clear focus on providing content of the highest quality to the discerning customers. Content companies are now offering their customers non- music original content created by them which are new to them, very novel and which one gets hooked on to and listens. They create a different kind of programming which is relevant and at all times – entertaining.
Currently audio content focused companies are catering to all of India, the primary market for them is anything which is a non-metro town. However they have witnessed that even in metros there is a lot of migratory population, the workers, the people who primarily do blue collar jobs and who consume audio content the most. Second to them is the white collared in transit work force which is looking at entertainment on the go. Besides India there are other markets like the African and other Asian countries for audio content and Eurasian countries for video content and gaming. Both these markets beyond India function in a manner specific to them and even within India one needs to deliver as per what the market wants.
Clearly anything which is original, anything which is different, which can get the customer hooked, people will be open to listening to it. If you have good comedy people will listen to that, if you have good music people will listen to that. People who listen to audio are very keen listeners, because they really love the audio medium. Audio is such a non-intrusive medium, it does not force or get into your space unlike video where you have to sit and watch with your eyes glued on. I have personally seen in areas like Dharavi where the whole factory unit, keeps on working and the radio is playing in the background. The genre for the audio listener can be anything but it has to be original content; it has to be good content.
I clearly see consolidation now in Audio, because it is generally the first form of communication a person learns to do, people are now moving on to video consumption and so are audio content companies who have now extended their portfolio to include original video production and gaming . However, I don’t see the average Indian wanting to let go of radio as it is going to stay in India for a while because clearly Indian demographics won’t change overnight. Everyone will not suddenly get educated to discover entertainment options on the internet or for that matter, get superb Internet penetration. I feel that the audio content market will grow as people have now become more discerning, the metro consumer wants audio which is more engaging which could range From plays, skits to horror stories which one can listen on the go.
Audio companies’ role will also gradually evolve – From a disruptor to more of a creator. Right now they are in the audio field because a large volume of customers are those who understand audio, appreciate audio and buy audio. They will keep doing the good work that they have been doing in the audio field and find new ways to engage the video customers by creating new original content for them and ensuring that they always make something different for all our customers. There are lot of people out there who create content; but only those who tend to be different in this milieu in their own unique way will makes their customers come back to them for more engaging content.
The author of this article is Rahoul Bhaargava, Founder – Creative Antenna
(This is an authored article and views expressed do not in any way represent the views of tvnews4u.com)