TikTok's made-in-India rivals Mitron, Bolo Indya gaining steam as Indians get 'vocal for local'

By Maryam Farooqui

Many TikTok users are switching to other short video sharing platforms, especially those made in India

After a drop in its app ratings, TikTok is likely to see a dent in its user base as well.

Wondering why? Many TikTok users are switching to other short video sharing platforms, especially those made in India.

This is why apps like Mitron and Bolo Indya are seeing a significant surge in app downloads, userbase, time spent on the app, content creation as well as content consumption.

In just a few days, the month-old Mitron app has gained huge popularity — so much so that it has clocked five million installs.

Similarly, Bolo Indya has also seen more people coming on to its platform. Creators say discoverability has gone up.

“Before lockdown, we were having 5,000 to 7,000 new users coming on to the platform every day. During lockdown or mid-April onwards, the number went up to around 10,000 to 15,000. Now, over the last 10 days, we have seen over 1,25,000 users. Users who have come on to the platform in the last 10 days, almost 90 percent of them have switched from TikTok to us. The common sentiment is that they want to try an Indian app,” Varun Saxena, founder of Bolo Indya, told Moneycontrol.

He added, “Usually what happens is when users are unhappy with an app, they will uninstall. But currently in our case, what we are seeing is that people are giving us suggestions and are saying they are ready to wait for two to three weeks to see that we develop those features because they want an Indian app to succeed. So, people are not uninstalling and giving us time.”

As people are switching to desi platforms, Bolo Indya’s daily active users (DAUs) saw a 5x jump in the last 10 days.

“We are getting 2.75 lakh DAUs in the last 10-15 days and before that it was around 1.5 lakh,” he said.

Plus, people are creating and consuming more content on the platform.

“Before lockdown, time spent on the platform was 16 minutes on a daily basis by a user. After that, it increased to 27 minutes per day/per user. In terms of content creation, it was four to five lakh videos created in a month before lockdown. In April, we saw 27 lakh videos being created and in just 20 days of May, we have crossed 35 lakh videos,” Saxena added.

Users are creating and consuming more content around fitness, which now is the top category. Motivational content and storytelling are other trending categories.

“The exception is Tamil and Telugu content, that continue to prefer beauty and fashion videos,” he said.

What Bolo Indya has on offer

Bolo Indya, which was created in May 2019, is not only for entertainment or information, it is for both.

The knowledge-sharing short video platform lets users create two-minute videos in 11 Indian languages.

“Introduction of language means that we have introduced discoverability for that language, a person can directly land up to the preferred language content,” Saxena explained.

Create, consume and earn

Along with the type of content shared on the platform, Bolo Indya has another interesting aspect. It lets its users earn money through the platform.

The platform gives users certain incentives based on the engagement for the content they have created. Plus, users can connect with influencers for one-on-one interaction by paying Bolo Indya. Saxena explained this with an example. “There is an astrologer who posts generic videos. Now, if a user wants to ask something personal and, for that wants to interact with the astrologer personally, then the user will have to pay the platform a small amount of money.”

Bolo Indya's focus — smaller regional markets 

Coming to markets, Saxena said most of the traction for Bolo Indya is from tier II and III markets.

He added that the loyalty preference for language content is much more in Tamil, Telugu and Bengali. “On the platform, 35 percent user base is from Hindi speaking markets, another 30 percent from Tamil, Telugu and Bengali. This is why non-Hindi is our focus area,” he said.

Betting on brands

Bolo Indya is also actively looking at brand engagement.

“We are talking to brands. We are running pilots with hyperlocal offline brands,” said Saxena.

He added that when it comes to TikTok, brands prefer the volume and not necessarily content.

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