2010 could be the turning point in the Indian digital history with 3G lead broadband finally looking like a near term possibility in India albeit not on PC screen but on mobile and portable devices. The 3G / 4G essentially is going to finally deliver two thus far elusive consumers propositions – “always connected" and “great experience while viewing videos on the move”. These two aspects would lead to emergence of couple of trends which will become much stronger force in 2012 and different players in digital value chain would necessarily have to start tuning or redefining their business models to make most of the business trends. The dominant trends which would shape the future of digital in India next three years would be:
• Paradox of Device: Device prices will continue to decrease while feature offerings will continue to increase as local OEMs would compete with each other to bring phones with rich media consumption capability at lower costs in Indian market.
• Explosion in video consumption on portable devices: “On demand” nature of delivery will create new players > India with 3G / 4G would see massive shift in consumption pattern and players like “Google TV“ or “Indian Hulu” kind of services would emerge on tablets which have capability to deliver relevant content personalised to each individual as portable devices are personal in nature
• Demise of wall gardens: Millions of Indians would access open web for the first time and will enjoy serendipity associated with open web on mobile beyond what is pushed to them through Telco wall gardens
• Paradox of Video Consumption: Increase in video consumption is given but risk of decrease in consumer ARPU looms large as completion among telcos with “eat as much you can” data plans would drive more consumers watching videos on their phones at much lesser price
• Mobile Internet: Broadband will be finally arriving In india albeit on different screen and 10 years behind the promise. Bonanza time for established internet players to ramp up localised content delivery as well as contextual ad delivery capabilities
• “Location” the next big thing: Location would become bedrock of social community, gaming, digital transactions; classifieds and will be a critical factor in driving monetisation in digital space
• Facebook V/S Google – which would be the main discovery vehicle ? Facebook is threatening Google hegemony as “Friends recommendation” would be the most critical factor influencing individual’s
choice on which movie to watch; what items to buy; which application to download; what places to visit etc….
• Death of stand alone mail & messenger services: The trend of decline in activity on stand alone mail and messenger services would accelerate as maximum amount of communication would take
place on the “walls” of community platforms like Facebook, twitter or Foursquare.
• Freemium + Micro Transaction : Indian consumers either pay for services / products after trial or post recommendation and freemium coupled with contextual micro transaction would be the way to
overcome issue of consumer not willing to pay for content
• E & M Commerce: Transactions on web and mobile would increase with proliferation of payment options, mobile banking with limited risk liability becoming a reality and more localised deals & offers being delivered to consumers on their mobile leading to impulse purchase
• Entrepreneurship driving Innovations: The various ideas which hitherto could not see the light of the day would become reality on account better infrastructure leading to better consumer experience and delivery. Entrepreneurs would find it easy to experiment as there would be lot more investors open to supporting India digital story particularly in the areas of gaming, education, healthcare, location and commerce
It is going to be a very exciting time ahead for the Indian consumers and all associated in the digital value chain as digital interactions would impact every aspect in the day of life of a consumer
and hence giving birth to new revenue streams driven by innovation.