Most of our community prefers watching short videos that are less than 30 seconds: Shashank Shekhar

Saloni Surti
Jun 30, 2022 09:03 IST
Shashank Shekhar

Shashank Shekhar, ShareChat &Moj speaks about the INR 900-crore content creators’ economy, content consumption trends beyond the metros, and more. 

In the backdrop of World Social Media Day, Shashank Shekhar, Senior Director, Content Strategy & Operations, ShareChat and Moj, gets in conversation with Social Samosa. Shekhar shares how the Indian creator economy has expanded to an INR 900-crore business, how short-form videos are performing well, and the increase in content consumption in Indic languages. 

Edited Excerpts: 

As World Social Media Day approaches, how do you think the role of social media has changed in the Indian users' lives? Especially in the Tier II & III cities? 

There has been a fundamental shift in the media consumption habits of Indian consumers as they are looking for variety, contextual relevance, and quick delivery of content. The pandemic has acted as a further catalyst in this shift. Social media has become a critical platform for consuming content for users across various geographies and demographics in our country. With the increasing internet penetration and access to language-enabled devices and platforms, more Indians are online, and content creation has become more democratic. 

The Indian creator economy has expanded to an INR 900-crore business. By 2025, it is expected to grow to INR 2,200 crore – a whopping CAGR of 25%, according to GroupM INCA’s India Influencer Marketing Report.

Content creation is no longer just a hobby, it's a sustainable career option for the talented youth of our country.  Gen Z is internet savvy, active on social media platforms, and a key participant in the creator ecosystem. With a pivotal shift in consumer behaviour, brands are also rapidly adapting to this change. When brands face the uphill task of forging a loyal bond with their customers, creators manage effortlessly through their content's authenticity and relatability. Social media influencers and creators are increasingly being factored into the marketing mix and sometimes taking the lead in brand campaigns.

How have homegrown short-form video apps democratized content creation? Any tips on how creators can make their content more discoverable?

Homegrown apps like ShareChat, Moj, and TakaTak are empowering Indian creators across India to creatively express themselves in the comfort of their preferred language. The creator community has the opportunity to express themselves and let their talent shine while also monetizing their content from any part of the country. Creators can now pursue content creation as a sustainable career.

Apart from creatively channelising their talents, creators need to keep a bunch of things in mind to make their content more discoverable. This includes participating in the latest trends and challenges, using viral music and audio tracks, using the right hashtags and quirky captions, and posting regularly, at least five times a week. The crisper the videos, the more chances they have of going viral, so creators must keep their video duration less than 20 seconds. Collaborating with other creators and engaging with fans and community members (via DMs and Live sessions) is also a great way of being more discoverable and pertinent on social media.

Also Read: Real-time takeaways from #SMLive 2022

In the backdrop of social media day, would you like to share any stories of how creators managed to break the boundaries?

Sajith Sivan, a 23-year-old from Kunissery, Kerala, always had a keen eye for acting and expressing himself creatively on social media platforms. Sajith began driving a rickshaw around town and playing the percussion instrument, Chenda, to support his family. Despite the struggle, Sajith focussed his energy on the one task he enjoyed most - creating videos and uploading them on Moj. One day, a friend of Sajith posted his short video as his status, this caught the eye of an Assistant Director (AD) in a Malayalam movie. On meeting

Sajith, the AD immediately recognized him as the boy in the video. He asked to see more of his videos, this is when Sajith showed him his content on Moj.  Sajith managed to impress not just the AD but also the film director, Jibu Jacob, and was instantly offered a role in his upcoming movie Ellam Sheriyaakum which stars Asif Ali, Rajisha Vijayan in the lead roles.

Saroj Rajput, a 29-year-old BA graduate with roots in Bikaner, has strived to be a self-sufficient woman since childhood. Covid – 19 prompted Saroj to think out of the box when she started her own reselling business on different platforms. While she did not find much success during the initial months, her foray into ShareChat enabled her to establish her business more productively. Six months later, Saroj now has a steady business with a loyal customer base of over 1000 people, credible inquiries, and a regular income of Rs. 20,000 a month. The platform she claims has ‘transformed her life’ also provided her with enough flexibility to successfully fulfill the different roles of a woman in a household to take care of a large family of 12, including her 5-month-old son.

Austin Stanley is a 24-year-old Moj Creator. He belongs to Kerala originally but has been brought up in Navi Mumbai. Austin used to work as a delivery guy for HUL distributors and was delivering consumer goods in the local shops of his area. While growing up, Austin always loved creating videos and over a period of time started creating content around it as well. He started making videos when he did not have a phone with good camera quality, so he struggled and used his friend’s phone depending on them to shoot his videos. He used to shoot 5-6 videos at once on Sundays and then post regularly for a week. One day, one of his videos went viral and came on a famous meme page. After that, he took up the content creation seriously and started putting his 100% on this. Austin creates outstanding, witty and emotional content with a strong storyline on the MOJ. He has gained 2.1 million followers on the platform through his entertaining content and it is growing each day.

What are some of the content consumption trends seen? Can you give us an understanding of which language content is being consumed the most on the platform?

Across all our social media platforms, we have witnessed a growing preference for shorter video content from both the creator and viewer perspectives. 

Most of our user community prefer watching short videos that are less than 30 seconds and are also inclining towards long-format videos that are less than 3 mins long.

Users these days are looking for quick doses of entertainment and infotainment. While comedy and challenges are the most popular content categories, infotainment content, where information is presented innovatively has a higher chance of getting more engagement.

We have seen an increase in interest in lifestyle content categories like food, fashion, beauty, and grooming, and e-gaming content is also getting popular amongst teenagers.

While obviously Hindi content is consumed the most across our platforms by virtue of a large number of creators and users of that language in our country. In southern regions of India, regional languages like Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada take precedence.

Other Indic languages are also gaining high traction among our users. We recently had our first Odia creator reach 1M followers on Moj.

Social media has played an integral role in revolutionizing the content creators' ecosystem. Where do you think the creator economy is headed?

The creator mindset is shifting from platform-centric to business-centric. As more and more users become creators, content creation will eventually become a full-time job. We will soon witness niche content categories pop up and increase in usage and creativity on new formats, beyond short videos, like Live streaming both audio and video. This evolution will eventually lead to creators increasing monetizing of their content through Live and Video commerce and virtual gifting and being a content creator will become a sustainable full-time profession. ShareChat and Moj will help boost the creator ecosystem by supporting them in building an audience, helping them to create creative content, and earning through brand partnerships, video commerce, and virtual gifting.