India is substantiating a great podcast boom, fuelled by rising smartphone penetration, dipping mobile data prices, and the millennials’ growing affinity towards on-demand content. There is substantial demand for local, Indianised content that has led to podcasts becoming the new battleground in the audio-streaming area. Grasping technology to apprehend this trend is Mumbai-based Kuku FM.
Established in 2018 by Vinod Meena, LalChand Bisu and Vikas Goyal, Kuku FM delivers podcasts in Hindi across genres including devotional, talk-shows, motivational, comedy, and even jingles, and claims to have over a million listeners spending over 50 minutes a day on the platform. Kuku FM gives a platform to some of the best content creators in India to launch and expand their very own podcasts. Kuku FM is a podcast platform trying to reinvent traditional radio by allowing listeners to uncover new, emerging and diverse audio content in various languages, and also engage with creators.
“There was a huge gap in India for audio consumption. The inspiration behind Kuku FM was simple — to offer new, promising, and diverse audio content in Indian regional languages,” Bisu
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It provides audio content in Indian regional languages with an aim to redefine traditional radio by allowing users to discover the new and diverse audio range in their preferred language. The listeners can access Kuku FM’s platform for free. It is an interrelated community for both listeners and creators. KuKu Fm also assists aspiring writers and authors in helping them convert their books and stories into audio and market it to millions of people.
The platform mainly targets aspiring Indian artists and storytellers. As an audio platform, Kuku FM’s obligations go beyond just entertainment. It provides content that has the right combination of education and entertainment. It has more than eight lakh monthly active users. Players like Jio Saavn and Spotify have been betting big on podcasts.
According to the founder, in tenures of business and growth, the coronavirus pandemic has created new opportunities for them. With more people consuming their time on their phones, they noticed a surge in their organic users. It has also been witnessing a shift in people’s listening choices. The users are more interested in content regarding mediation and stress relief. They are trying to cater to these evolving needs by getting more creators on board.
A report published by PwC in 2019 declared that the Indian music, radio, and podcasts market was worth Rs 5,753 crore in 2018 and that the total music revenue was forecasted to hit Rs 10,858 crore in 2023, growing at a CAGR of 13.5 per cent. It further suggests that India was the world’s third-largest podcast-listening market after China and the US.
The startup is backed by investors, including 3one4 Capital, Shunwei Capital, India Quotient, and Vertex Ventures. The podcast startup raised an undisclosed amount in November 2019. In its latest funding round, Kuku FM raised $5.5 million in Series A.
Plans ahead for Kuku FM
Lulu Fm is continuously working towards furnishing meaningful and engaging content in various regional languages. It currently offers a range in Hindi, Marathi, English, Gujarati, and Bengali. They are planning to launch four more languages this year and expand the user base in their respective states. The startup is yet to monetize its platform and is still exploring options to generate revenue via ads and subscriptions. It is vigorously working towards providing meaningful and engaging content favoring regional languages. “We plan to launch the support for more than 15 Indian languages soon,” he adds.