India’s economy is expanding rapidly. Digitization is gradually reshaping every aspect of the of the country including multifold rise in content consumption. The proliferation of smartphones and data in the country has seen meteoric growth and potential for digital content. This has provided consumers with an option to access the content of their choice anytime, anywhere.

The Indian mobile gaming market is growing in sync with the global trend and is expected to reach USD 7 billion by 2025, due to a rapid increase in consumption. The online music industry, too, is predicted to reach USD 330 million by 2023, from USD 210 million in 2020[1]. According to a report by RBSA Advisors, India’s OTT market will reach USD 12.5 billion by 2030 from about USD 1.5 billion in 2021 on the back of access to better networks, digital connectivity and smartphones [2]. The report also highlighted that it is the tier II, tier III cities and beyond, along with the vernacular-speaking population that will propel the OTT landscape ahead.

While there is a massive demand for newer products from Tier II, III cities and beyond, there is also a gap in accessing these markets. Although the industry has seen quick adoption amongst digital natives, there is work remaining to reach larger masses. Here, it is interesting to note that India is still largely cash-driven. Recent data points indicate that cash still rules the roost, especially in Tier III geographies. Even in metros, there are many like housewives, senior citizens, daily wagers, temp workers etc., who still find cash as a convenient mode to pay. This creates a white space to acquire the next 500 million customers with access to smartphones and data. Also, Recent regulatory changes which prohibit “Card on File” would cause friction for many digital savvy users in urban centres as well. This has further established the need to provide convenient payment options to the existing customers – like cash [3]. In such a scenario, it becomes imperative to tap the cash market that has smartphones and aspirations to consume digital content but lacks the means to convert cash into an online payment mode. The next level of growth is likely to come from this segment. The road ahead is to make digital content democratized through easy availability, visibility and assisted purchase funnel, which can accept all forms of payments, including digitization of physical cash.

Also, the larger market is price sensitive. Micro-sachets at easy price points may augment adoptions. Selling digital content – apps, OTT, gaming, or digital music – has to be as simple as a mobile recharge, in a sachetized format, at a store nearby. The future is near when a local retailer will start offering a one day/one movie/one song/one game platform subscription that gets recharged in less than 60 seconds. PayNearby, with its robust Distribution-as-a-Service (DaaS) network, is already filling this gap. The network reaches out to the deep pockets of the country and effectively bridges the gap between digital conglomerates and rural audiences. The tech-backed network enables big enterprises to access the currently inaccessible audience in the shortest possible time. PayNearby is already serving few leading players like Zee5, Hoichoi, Eros Now, among others and are making digital content available to all through PayNearby retail outlets.

PayNearby is on the mission to simplify high-end technology for consumption so that there is a democratization of services and the advantages of the modern world are accessible to the masses. The simple plug and play technology framework ensure that partners today can make their services available to 90% of Bharat through a large able network of more than 41 lakh micro-entrepreneurs. The simplified technology that forms the backbone of the DaaS platform enables fast, reliable and scalable solutions for the service provider at one end and easy and stable consumption at local stores at the other. It also ensures a quick go-to-market that is error-free and dependable, which is one of the key success parameters for any distribution led strategy.

A lot of e-commerce companies are already toying to tap the wide hyper-local network as one viable option to reach and serve their customers anytime, anywhere. These trusted retailer partners have a captive customer base and can support assisted onboarding on digital platforms. In future, these neighborhood stores can double up as local engagement /entertainment managers to drive customer retention and avoid drop-offs, and also allowing customers to digitize their cash. Additionally, it can create strong point-of-sale communication and visibility on ground. Offering bundled options at the Kirana shop where people can ask for “2-kilo aaloo, 1-kilo pyaaz, aur 1 hafte ka OTT subscription dena bhaiya”, will help proliferate digital content to the audiences across the country. This provides an opportunity for digital content companies to drive the ‘content revolution’ through such channels in areas they want, and in a language that Bharat wants.