The market for audio streaming platforms is catching up fast in India. Conventionally, the audio content landscape has always been imposing standard content offerings on the listeners for consumption. This often resulted in irrelevance, annoyance, and irritation for the listeners. With digital interference, this has changed slightly, but storytelling and personalisation of content remained the core challenge even then.
Founded in 2018, Pocket FM was seeded when audio was a non-existent category in India. It has made noticeable efforts by building a community for audio content and, presently, dominates the non-music entertainment audio space in the country.
Over the years, the product has evolved into a leading audio streaming service on the back of its personalised content recommendation engine. Today, Pocket FM witnesses over 15 million monthly active listeners (MAL) on the app, spending an average of over 100 minutes daily. The total monthly audio streaming on the app counts to over 3 billion minutes.
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Before Pocket FM, the founding team had the experience of building and scaling mobile-based content products during their past stints with Paytm, JioSaavn, Flipkart, and Grofers. More importantly, they had consumer insights and clarity on the content gaps in the digital space. “We have made immense contributions to the creator economy, from identifying potential creative minds to nurturing them for the next level with Pocket Creator Studio and keeping them motivated financially by compensating for their creative pieces. We were among the few who had insights about audio entertainment beyond music, and we dared to go against the tide,” says Rohan Nayak, CEO & co-founder, Pocket FM.
The audio streaming app has created over 100,000 hours of audio content, and has been expanding content diversity; it has added new series and content focusing on building a universe of entertainment (including romance, horror, thriller, emotional drama, etc.) which is largely driven by its creator community of professional user-generated content (PUGC) writers, voice artists, and other creative minds.
Pocket FM launched the first audiobooks in March 2022 and claims to have the highest traction of audiobooks in India today, selling over 120,000 audiobooks every month. “We are also betting aggressively on podcasts and getting future-ready as we believe the podcast ecosystem will attain its maturity stage in 2-3 years,” Nayak adds.
The company operates on a freemium model and has seen a spike in its paying listeners base since implementing its sachet pricing and guiding its community towards piecemeal content consumption. Currently, over 80% of its revenue comes from content monetisation, led by micropayment. It expects to surpass the $25 million annual revenue run-rate within this year only. In the process, it established a newer category in the form of audio series.
“In the last three years, we have built a 200,000-strong creator community with voice artists and writers,” he says.