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Clubhouse ropes in former TikTok executive Parijat Kaushik as its first India hire

This is the first country-specific appointment by the social audio startup outside the US and Parijat Kaushik will be responsible for scaling Clubhouse's operations in India

November 22, 2021 / 04:10 PM IST

Social audio platform Clubhouse has announced its first-ever hire in India by appointing Parijat Kaushik as head of partnerships for the country. This is also the first country-specific appointment by the startup outside the United States.

Kaushik will be responsible for scaling Clubhouse's operations in India.

"The community in India has grown really fast and there is so much incredible activity there. It is such a diverse place with so many different sub-communities and it has become really important within the broader Clubhouse community," Clubhouse CEO Paul Davison said during the company's weekly Townhall event on November 21.

Prior to joining Clubhouse, Kaushik led marketing efforts for Bytedance-owned short video app TikTok and music streaming service Resso for the South Asia region. He was with the firm for about 26 months.

Kaushik has also had stints at Hungama, TinyOwl and Sony Music Entertainment among others.

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This move comes as the Andreessen Horowitz-backed startup aims to make a big international push, especially in markets such as India, even as it looks to compete with a growing number of rivals such as Twitter, Facebook, Spotify, Discord and Telegram among others.

On November 3, Clubhouse had rolled out support for 13 new languages, including five Indian languages (Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam) on its Android app with iOS rollout expected soon. As part of this experience, the social audio app will now show in-app prompts, descriptions, topics, notifications and community guidelines in these languages.

The firm had also announced that Indian musician Anirudh Deshmukh will be the app icon for this month.

On November 21, Davison also said the company will be adding support for 14 more languages on Android across the world in the coming week, but didn't disclose any specific names.

In September, the firm had announced its first cohort of six creators from India that will be part of its accelerator programme 'Creator First'. Through this programme, Clubhouse had announced plans to help these creators with production and creative development, help them promote their show, and provide financial support either through a monthly stipend or matching creators with brands.

In recent months, the company has also announced several new features such as Replays, Backchannel, Universal Search, Clips, Pinned Links, Music Mode, and support for spatial audio among others.

Of this, Replays is particularly noteworthy since it allows creators to record their audio room and save it on their profiles and club pages for later listening. Last week, Clubhouse also made it easier for users to find these replay rooms by surfacing them through dedicated carousels on the app's home screen (or hallway as the company calls it) and on the app's search results.

Room creators will also have the ability to download the audio and share it as a podcast or a clip on their own website or social platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter among others.

These features could provide a much-needed user boost for the app that has been witnessing slowing user growth across the world.

In India, Clubhouse had witnessed a major spike in its app install base in the months of May and June, after the launch of its Android app and the company dropping the invite-only tag. However, the growth has tapered down significantly in the subsequent months.

Clubhouse had clocked 250,000 downloads on Android in India in October, a 35.6 percent decline from 388,000 downloads in October and from a peak of 5.6 million downloads in June, according to app intelligence firm Sensor Tower. Overall, the app witnessed 262,000 downloads in October, from 411,000 downloads in September and a peak of 5.9 million downloads in June.

Globally, Clubhouse saw 0.93 million downloads across Android and iOS in October, down from 1.2 million downloads in September and a peak of 7.7 million downloads in June.

While the app installs have seen a noticeable fall, Aarthi Ramamurthy, head of International at Clubhouse had recently said that the number of rooms being hosted on the platform on a daily basis has risen to about 700,000 rooms per day, from 300,000 rooms per day earlier this year and an average user currently spends about 70 minutes per day on the platform.

"For us, that's the kind of metric that we want to track where we want to make sure that both creators and listeners are finding value or building communities on the platform," she said.

ReadLive audio brings new challenges in terms of content moderation: Clubhouse CEO Paul Davison
Vikas SN
first published: Nov 22, 2021 09:02 am

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