American multimedia messaging app is ramping up its investments in India as it plays catchup with a slew of short video apps that are fast cornering the market left vacant by the ban on TikTok in June.
India has emerged as one of the fastest-growing markets for the nine-year-old company. Evan Spiegel, chief executive, Snap, during a virtual event for the India market on Wednesday, said the messaging app has seen its daily active user base grow 150% year-on-year in the September quarter.
However, after TikTok was banned by the Indian government three months back, short video apps like Instagram’s Reel, Sharechat’s Moj, Chingari, Roposo, Mitron, Trell, and Triller, among dozen others, have gained traction, on the back of 200 million TikTok users which were looking for an alternate platform.
Snap, that lost out on the opportunity then, is trying to change that. The Santa Monica, California-headquartered company is deploying a three-pronged approach of localized content, games, and augmented reality experiences to expand its Indian user base.
To ramp up localized content, the company is forging partnerships with local media companies and content creators.
“As we look to build the best possible mobile-first local content experience in India, we are doubling down on committed investment,” said Vanessa Guthrie, director, content, and head of Originals, during the event.
The company has tied up with local news media group NDTV, entertainment and artist management firm Only Much Louder, comedy venture Weirdass Comedy, and digital media firm Qyuki to bring their content on Snapchat.
Currently, Snapchat offers curated content through over 60 channels from 32 publishers across various genres including news, Bollywood culture, beauty, comedy, cooking, and sports. It claims that over 40 million unique viewers in India have watched at least one show on Snapchat over the past year.
Furthermore, Snapchat is bringing original content under Snap Originals to India, which it launched in its home country in 2018. Since its roll out, Snap has come out with over 60 series across genres like drama, documentary, romance, and comedy. For the Indian market, the company plans to offer a Hindi version of its popular original show Phone Swap.
Meanwhile, the company has brought on board its first Indian gaming partner, Moonfrog Labs. The Bengaluru-based gaming startup will offer customized versions of its popular games such as Ludo Club on the messaging platform.
The third focus area for the company is to enable users and content creators to leverage augmented reality technology for building content.
“Augmented Reality is a very unique opportunity and differentiation for us and we are very focused on, not just the fun parts but more importantly the creative digital skills, learning skills that we believe are vital. We are focused on building a creative community around it,” Nana Murugesan, managing director of International Markets at Snap said in an interview with local media Economic Times (ET).
Snap said it has trained thousands of students in building augmented reality-based experiences through offline and online workshops at several high schools and colleges over the last one year.
“We are also building a community of professional lens creators in India, whom we call OLCs (official lens creators). There are about seven such creators in India right now,” Murugesan said. The company offers an application called Lens Studio, which lets artists and developers globally build augmented reality lenses and filters for hundreds of millions of Snapchat users.
For the quarter ended September, Snapchat’s global daily active users (DAUs) stood at 249 million. North America contributed to 90 million DAUs, while in Europe, DAUs reached 72 million. The rest of the world saw DAUs touching 87 million. While Snapchat doesn’t provide a country-wise breakdown of its userbase, according to market research firm Statista, India is Snapchat’s largest market outside the US, with about 33.8 million users.