Platforms began experimenting with regional audio content about two to three years ago. Kuku FM, a platform that hosts audio books, podcasts and fictional content in Marathi, Bangla, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati and Malayalam, was launched in 2018. Aawaz.com hit the market in 2019 with 100 hours of original programming in Hindi.
In late 2019, Audible, the podcast and audiobook arm of Amazon, debuted with Audible Suno to cater specifically to the Indian audiences. Swedish audio streaming platform Spotify has been working on developing regional language content. In June this year, it added a Tamil podcast Nallanna Murukku hosted by RJ Balaji.
Lal Chand Bisu, co-founder and CEO, Kuku FM, says most of the 1.5 million users on the platform are students and young professionals. The platform is now actively promoting itself through digital influencers.
Sreeraman Thiagarajan, co-founder, Agrahyah Technologies, which runs Aawaz.com, says the platform now hosts content in Marathi and Urdu, in addition to Hindi. He says listeners of podcasts in English prefer to use the medium to learn new things and upskill; listeners of content in regional languages, however, seek out fictional content that is entertaining in nature.
Dasubhashitam, which began as a platform for audiobooks in Telugu, is now planning to add short-format audio content. “We are introducing podcasts and audio content to attract listeners who may not necessarily be book lovers,” says Kiran Kumar, CEO, Dasubhashitam.