Vernacular content sites still need to take off: Juxt survey

By , agencyfaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | July 10, 2007
Vernacular content is growing, but few Indians are getting hooked to it, says JuxtConsult

A lot of online & #BANNER1 & # companies are adopting the 'Think global, act local' principle to increase reach among the web masses. But is this effort to develop local language content giving returns? According to the JuxtConsult India Online 2007 report, only a small chunk of netizens are active on local language sites.

The report points out that against 60 per cent of all active online Indians (25 million) preferring to read in local Indian languages, only 12 per cent actually check the content. Active users are defined as urban users who log on to the Internet at least once a month. That means that out of the potential base of almost 15 million, only three million online Indians check local language content on the Net.

Although various players are trying to pull traffic by coming up with local language sites - including Yahoo!, Google News, Blogger and Webduniya - it is Google that has captured the throne when it comes to vernacular content. Out of the three million local language content users, 12 per cent prefer Google for searching local language content and 8 per cent local language users log on to Yahoo! for local language content.

South Indians constitute 52 per cent of the entire vernacular user base. Some 19 per cent of the three million vernacular content users prefer Tamil and 19 per cent prefer Hindi. Malayalam is preferred by 15 per cent of the users.

The report also states that the absence of 'language' equivalents of popular online content areas like job search, email and instant messaging, info search, online travel booking, shopping, music, e-greetings, social networking and dating seems to be the reason behind the gap in preference for local content to actually reading the local content.

The users who read local language content are eager to access e-mail and want to chat online in local languages. The report says that out of 3 million users, 71 per cent want to use e-mail and 58 per cent want entertainment-based content in local languages.

The report also tries to dispel the perception that vernacular content users are only based in small towns. It adds that metros and 'urban uptowns' (such as Faridabad, Jaipur and Kanpur) are where the maximum users for local language are based. About 52 per cent of the vernacular content user base is in these categories, while emerging and smaller towns account for the balance 48 per cent.

The JuxtConsult India Online 2007 report is based on a survey undertaken in April 2007, which sampled 10,000 households in 31 cities (of population sizes 20,000 plus) and a large-scale online survey that sampled over 14,200 complete responses, capturing net usage behaviour and website preferences.