“Internet is still not open, accessible and user-friendly to a major chunk of our population due to lack of regional language support. Indian entrepreneurs should look at this untapped market as this opportunity might not be available two years from now.”, mentioned Sachin Pilot, , Minister of State for Communications and IT.
As per the minister, Mobile penetration in India is over 800 million with around 53% of it in rural India. This captive consumer, in days to come will be accessing internet from their handhelds. The time has come to create local language content applications so that people in rural India can easily access information and entertainment.
Aside, Indian government is spending INR 20,000 crore to lay optic fibre so that all panchayats across the country are connected.
“Mobile penetration in India is over 800 million but penetration of internet is only 15%. On the other side literacy rate in English is less than 20% whereas literacy rate in Indian languages is around 50%. Hence, the next big thing is the evolution of Mobile Internet in local languages.” [Sachin Pilot at a recently held IAMAI conference].
While regional/local languages have been a favorite topic in media/political circuit, the harsh reality is that regional language content has failed to catch the fancy of the average Indian user, as most of such initiative focus on content consumption – and not content creation. Most importantly, lack of monetization opportunities in local language (which of course is a fallout of digital marketing budget) inhibits publishers to even consider making their content available in local languages.
A good explanation: Why Indian Languages Failed to make a mark Online!
Local language: Recent updates
– Yahoo launched malayalam.yahoo.com, in partnership with Malayalam Manorama.
– Google+ announced support for Indic languages (Hindi/Bengali/Marathi/Tamil etc) and
– Wikipedia has released the offline version of Marathi wikipedia (plans to roll out local language support for 25 languages very soon).