It will be a distant memory now if we ask the last time you read a Premchand or narrated a story from the pages of Sukumar Roy or wrote a short story in your mother tongue. As globalisation and MNCs mushroomed in India it made the English language a bare essential to climb the corporate ladder. The foreign language has engulfed us to the extent that now it is enjoying mainstream status while leaving our vernacular languages neglected or forgotten. By saying, vernacular is neglected, we are not blaming English for it, but somehow, the sheer beauty of vernacular literature that it has been treasuring for years is gradually erasing from our minds in this fast-paced digital lifestyle.
However, with deeper internet penetration and accessibility, Indians today prefer to consume content in the language of their choice. A large fraction of semi-urban and rural India are strangers to English and are comfortable consuming content in vernacular languages. A recent report from Google titled ‘India for determined progress 2020’ stated that 50% of Google Discover users consumed content in Indian languages. The growing affection for vernacular is further confirmed by a joint report from Google and KPMG that found Indian language internet users to grow at a rate of 18 percent to reach 536 million by 2021.
Blog platforms like Medium, WordPress or Blogspot lack the feature to write in Indian vernacular languages which prevents a large section of Indians to fully showcase their literature prowess in vernacular. There is no such platform to cater to the vernacular segment and has remained untapped for years. Here, an opportunity was realised by Ranjeet Pratap Singh, the founder hailing from Rae Bareli that envisioned him to build Pratilipi. He wanted to revive and build the vernacular literature culture on an online platform. Millions in India find comfort in reading and writing in their mother tongue.
What is Pratilipi?
Pratilipi, meaning copy in Sanskrit, is a self-publishing online storytelling platform founded in 2015 that caters to literature in regional languages. On this platform, the writers can upload their writings, which readers can enjoy. Pratilipi supports 12 languages: Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, English, Urdu, Punjabi and Odia.
A recent report from Google titled ‘India for determined progress 2020’ stated that 50% of Google Discover users consumed content in Indian languages.
Products and Services of Pratilipi
Pratilipi has not only stories and written content but has a host of products and services catering to the vernacular podcasts, audio storytelling and comics:
It is an audio storytelling and podcasting platform.
It is an online comics platform where writers can upload their comics of any genre right from comedy to detective to horror.
It is India’s full-stack podcasting company. The podcast features a variety of shows on the everyday hustles of life right from being caught in traffic jams to sports to fashion and public policy to pop culture.
How Pratilipi Earns Revenues?
Pratilipi uses proprietary algorithms to identify stories that it believes have the potential to become a book or web series and buys the IP (intellectual property) from the writers. Its partnership with several OTT platforms and entertainment industry players allows it to sell content to showcase it on the platforms. MX Player recently carried Pratilipi’s show ‘Midnight Lily’ in 2021.
Pratilipi’s Growth over the years
Pratilipi has emerged to become a market leader in the online storytelling space. It has a strong base of 3,70,000 writers on the platform who share their work in a dozen languages and enjoys a 30 million reader base who monthly browse its platforms to read stories.
What is acting as a differentiator in Pratilipi?
The main differentiator for Pratilipi is that it has developed to be a multilingual platform for online literature. The platform through its vernacular audio storytelling, podcasts, and comics is catering to a wide audience and is instilling the older forms of entertainment in people stimulating nostalgia.
Takeaways for businesses foraying into online storytelling platforms
- As per the Google KPMG report, the Indian internet user base will increase to 735 million by 2021, these numbers are an indication that more internet users will come from smaller towns and cities that will build the demand for vernacular content.
- People in fast-paced life are not getting sufficient time to pursue their reading and writing hobbies, the online story platforms will generate interest in the individuals, and who knows might give birth to a writer of an award-winning web series from the platform.
- The OTT platforms are thirsty for quality content, such online storytelling platforms with their interesting content pieces can partner with OTT platforms or with audio streaming to develop podcasts or produce web series to showcase folk culture and generate revenues.