Linguistics e1521741580172

Internet content, such as online banking, news, email, chats, music/video streaming or even job search or ticket booking, if provided in Indian languages can bring about 205 million new internet users online, which means that if content is available in Indian languages then this will be key motivation of using internet for people who are not using it, said a report by IAMAI and Kantar IMRB.

The report titled Internet in Indic estimates that urban India has about 193 million users accessing content in Indian languages or Indic content, while rural parts of the country have 141 million users who access Indic content online.

The total base of Internet users in the country is estimated to be about 481 million as of December 2017.


At present, there are about 892 million non-internet users who can potentially be brought online. Of this — there are 160 million potential new users in urban India while a greater amount of 732 million potential new users are in rural part of India. Among the current non internet-users, roughly 23% have indicated that if internet content were available in Indian languages, it would be a key motivator for them to start using Internet in the future.

Thus, in effect, of the total 892 million potential new users, estimated 205 million new internet users would come online if Internet content in Indian languages is promoted in India, said the report.

The report further explaines that given the relatively low penetration of English as a language beyond the metros, especially amongst the economically weaker sections of the society, Internet penetration in India cannot grow without addressing the issue of the language of access for internet services.

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“Considering the fact that overall internet penetration in rural India is as low as 20%, promoting content in Indic is a critical element for better digitalisation of the hinterlands,” the report added.

Music/video streaming emerged as the most popular Indic application, followed by news and email/text chats and social networking sites.

Services like online banking, job search or ticket booking (which is the most popular e-commerce activity in India) still have very low local content usage and there is a critical need to increase delivery of such services in Indic languages to promote usage, the report added.

The news above was from PTI and first reported in India Today.

According to entrepreneurs and investors, about 250 million Indians from smaller towns and cities will come online in the next three to four years to create content and converse in regional languages through apps offering content in Indic languages.

Vernacular content or local language content consumption in India has witnessed a meteoric rise in the past two years growing from 42 million in 2011 to 234 million in 2016.

So, if the content – be it in any form such as an app, an online service or software, is vernacular/Indic then it can also be an extra edge for startups for raising funds as we found that app-based startups which provide its offerings in multiple Indian languages were more successful in raising capital than its competitors of similar model. Sharechat, a social network app available in 10 regional languages, including Hindi, Bhojpuri and Odia, recently raised funding from Xiaomi. Similarly, Dailyhunt, a news aggregation app available in 17 languag, last raised $25 million and now on verge of raising handsome amount from Alibaba.

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Another startup Pratilipi, a self-publishing platform, has over 6,000 authors in eight Indian languages, is increasingly focusing on enabling authors and writers to engage with each other. The startup has raised total of $5 million of capital from investors including Nexus Ventures and Omidyar Network.

In 2014, Google, the search giant, too had recognized the need for Indian language content on the Internet and announced the Indian Language Internet Alliance so as to encourage Indic languages.

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