Local world — content for the next wave of growth
As mobile expands into new regions and new population segments in emerging markets, digital inclusion — the adoption of the mobile internet by the underserved and the wider socio-economic benefits associated with this — will grow. However, the pace at which this happens will be dependent on, amongst other factors, the availability of locally relevant content, a key driver that we focus on in this report.
Many individuals in emerging markets are yet to fully embrace the mobile and digital revolution because they lack sufficient local content that is accessible, useful and relevant to their livelihoods, wants and needs, criteria that are essential in bringing the full benefits of the mobile internet to the next billion users. In this report, we analyse the current digital content landscape in emerging markets, and assess the challenges to growing the relevance of this to consumers. These include infrastructure challenges such as network coverage, content hosting availability and device compatibility, as well as more nuanced elements around payment limitations, language, cultural factors and government or third party support. Addressing these barriers will necessitate a collection of efforts from key players across the mobile ecosystem, from operators to handset manufacturers, and content developers to internet players – Google’s recent launch of Android One and its support for multiple languages and addition of local publications to the Play Newsstand is testament to this. There is also a role for governments and NGOs, particularly in funding or incentivising content services with clear socio-economic benefits, but where the market has not (yet) acted.
Ultimately, relevant local content gives people added impetus for mobile internet and value added services use, increasing digital empowerment of users on all rungs of the socio-economic ladder. For operators in particular, this would lead to an increase in subscriptions, customer loyalty, and revenue through data and value added services. Additionally, we believe an increase in the amount of relevant local content would unfurl a virtuous circle of raised awareness, attracting developers, stimulating innovation, and increasing interest in generating more relevant content, benefitting stakeholders across the entire mobile ecosystem.