TikTok became an instant hit in India following its launch in 2016, as it became the country’s most downloaded app for Android. Everything changed in 2020 when it was banned along with 58 other Chinese apps over national security issues.
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The Indian government claimed that the platforms were using the data illicitly by secretly storing data from users’ phones after the installation of these apps.
The ban left a gaping hole in a huge market following 20 million app downloads for TikTok, and left many creators desperate –people who had built their brand, as well as the foundations of a strong following and an income. Step in Chingari.
Chingari is a short-video blockchain-based platform, which became an instant success in India soon after it was launched in September 2016. It is the world’s fastest growing social token app and the first social network in India to have issued crypto tokens.
It is also the first ever Indian short-video platform that is poised to revolutionize the creator economy in the country –and gradually across the globe. With 30 million active users on a monthly basis, it enables young and aspiring talents to explore their creative potential.
When compared to TikTok, Chingari users can do a lot more on the app: from uploading clips, to watching movies on the Chingari Multiplex and shopping for trendy garments and accessories. Still, Chingari’s biggest proposition is that it rewards viewers with Gari Tokens for simply being on the app and watching videos.
Chingari recently raised $19 million to make a strategic move into crypto and launched its native token, the $GARI, with leading influencer Salman Khan as brand ambassador. Salman has over 40 million followers on social media and a major presence in India.
We spoke to Chingari CEO, Sumit Ghosh, about Chingari’s rise and other trends within the short video creation market.
What Is The Current Outlook Of The Short-Video Platform Business In India?
According to some studies, the short-video business in the country is projected to reach 650 million users by 2025 after growing 24% between 2018 and last year. This is almost two times faster than Indonesia and China.
Not only the number of users is expected to grow but also the time they spend on these platforms. At present, people spend 45 minutes a day and we are bound to reach 55 to 60 minutes in the course of four years.
These numbers must also be seen in the light of smartphone usage in India, as people normally spend 4.8 hours a day on these devices, one of them watching videos entirely. This means we are in a very competitive environment, which is bound to grow at a significant pace.
Following TikTok’s Ban In India, Was Chingari Simply In The Right Place At The Right Time?
Chingari has always held its unique identity, beyond just short-video creation. Tik Tok’s ban came in at a time when the market was beginning to adopt the trend and opportunities created by the social video creation category. Chingari’s innovative offerings, backed by robust tech skills, gave it an edge over other market players.
A Massively Successful Investment Round, Can You Tell Us About It And How You Intend To Use It?
Chingari’s blockchain platform will allow users to obtain tokens for creating or watching content. The idea is to monetise creators’ talent with a decent amount of money and help them uplift themselves by participating in a social platform. Chingari wants to make this vision possible through its token $GARI.
Can You Tell Us About Your Background And What Led You To This Niche Of The Blockchain?
Technology has always been my forte. I have spent over a decade working with many high-tech companies, establishing a track record of helping organizations to expand faster. With a background in management consulting and a founder of a successful start-up, my expertise runs in structuring and building a culture for a distributed agile team.
Being a noted speaker and a leading webinar expert, you may find me advising people on internal strategies, processes and methodologies. With Chingari, I envision to build a work environment that lets people explore their best form, both personally and professionally.
How Are You Incorporating The Use Of Blockchain, And Specifically Solana, Into What Is Fundamentally A Web2 Platform And App?
It is the vision of Chingari that each user –creator and viewer alike– should have their own tokens and direct blockchain interactions, making the platform more resilient and providing the users a gateway into the blockchain world without crippling its natural strong characteristics.
For our blockchain integration, we needed a platform that is affordable, has high throughput and is future-proof for the growth of the user base. The platform also has to be very stable, with a proven track record, and sufficiently decentralized.
Solana is the natural fit for these requirements. It is very fast, showing in practice the ability to sustain a higher peak throughput, even without sharing. It is also continuously working on growing these numbers.”
How Will You Use Your $GARI Token Within Your Community?
$GARI will empower short-form video creators to monetize their content on the blockchain through the GARI Token. The tokens can be used to reward your favourite creators with Gari Tokens, to Watch videos on the platform and earn Gari tokens, and also to create and earn.
Do You Have Plans To Take Chingari Further Afield Than India?
Creators are everywhere. The global market has been positively receptive to entertainment of a different kind. Changing trends and engaging incorporations are at their peak. At Chingari, we have devised strategic plans, backed by industry leaders, to pave our way into global territories soon.
A Recent Economic Times Report Asserts That Short-Video Platforms In India Are “In A Race” To Buy Out Instagram Influencers For Exclusive Content. What Is Your Take On This?
Platforms do this to secure traffic. We tie up with influencers based on their creative talent, engagement, and social media reach, regardless of the platform they belong to. We offer them a spectrum of opportunities, which can boost their potential to create more unique content.
This attracts a wider base of existing and new creators towards Chingari.
Within A Saturated Digital Environment, Can Brands And Businesses Alike Turn To Short-Video Platforms To Boost Their Marketing Efforts?
Short videos are giving companies the chance to cut through saturation in their marketing efforts. It is a fact that people share videos at twice the rate than any other format, and more than 80% buy products or services based on a brand’s video.
Also, digital saturation is affecting people’s attention span by making it increasingly shorter. In this sense, companies need to adapt to this new rule of engagement so short videos are becoming the norm. Short videos are usually funny, so their usage will depend on the voice companies would want to give their brands.
A Dynamic Market
Several social media networks have adapted their platforms in such a way that short videos are part of their offering. Pinterest is adding a new short video feature to its platform, which shows how strongly this function is growing.
The new feature is called Watch, and it allows users to view short videos and photo series.
Also, in one of its most recent updates, Instagram has renamed its vertical video app from IGTV to Instagram Video. Videos posted to the main Instagram feed can now be up to 60 minutes long –previously exclusive to IGTV videos– and it is no longer necessary to leave the main application to view them.
In early July, TikTok extended its short videos from 60 seconds to 3 minutes, while YouTube started introducing 60-second long videos last year. This only goes to show how both YouTube and Instagram are serving and adapting to this trend, with short, engaging videos and an effective algorithm.
It also shows how platforms tended to differentiate from one another by offering unique features, but the success of new formats and consumer preferences has disrupted the social media ecosystem to offer a wider variety of features.