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If a straitlaced anchor reading headlines off a teleprompter comes to mind when you hear the word "broadcaster", you're woe fully out of touch. Every evening, thousands of smartphones beep with this notification -"Dimple D'Souza is broadcasting on Bigo Live."

10 most-popular Android apps in India

10 most-popular Android apps in India

Mary Meeker's annual Internet Trends report is out. The 2017 edition of the report specially focuses on India's growing internet sector. It also names the 10 most-downloaded Android apps in the country. The India list of the most popular Android apps is primarily dominated by utility and social apps. Here's over to the 10 most-popular Android apps in India, as per Mary Meeker's annual Internet Trends report.


Little guesses here. Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp is the top downloaded app in India, as per the report. The messaging app has managed to retain its last year's numero uno position. WhatsApp has over 200 million active users in India. The company recently announced that India tops the list in terms of countries consuming the maximum amount of video calling minutes. WhatsApp recorded a total of 340 million of video calling minutes per day globally. In addition, users made a total of 55 million video calls per day globally.

Facebook Messenger

At No. 2 position, according to the report, is another Facebook-owned app -- Facebook Messenger. The app has jumped one place in ranking, vis-a-vis its last year's position in Mary Meeker's latest Internet Trends report. Facebook recently made Messenger's game-playing features available to all its users. As announced during its F8 developers’ conference in April, the company is also introducing turn-based play with the ability for game makers to integrate leaderboards and tournaments.


Next on the list is a Chinese utility app SHAREit. The free file-sharing app was ranked at No. 5 position last year. SHAREit claims to be one of the fastest-growing mobile web companies globally, with 1 billion-plus registered users worldwide. The number of monthly active users stands at 400 million.


Next on the list is Sweden-based dialer app TrueCaller. The app, which ranked at No. 11 in last year's report, is at No. 4 position this year. The company recently added SMS and flash messaging to Truecaller. The update allows users to share pictures and loop in the same text, while chatting with friends. There's also speed flash messaging capability for distress situations, or during times when one needs to communicate quickly.


Next on the list is the world's No. 1 social network - Facebook. Its official app has tumbled down to No. 5 in 2017's report, three places down from its second spot in 2016. According to Statista website, Facebook has 213 million users in India, as of April 2017. India ranks behind United States, which has 219 million users. Facebook is the most popular social network worldwide, with a global usage penetration of 22.9%, as per the website.

UC Browser

At No. 6th on Mary Meeker's 2017 Internet Trends report is another Chinese app UC Browser. The app, which comes from Chinese behemoth Alibaba, ranked at No. 4 last year. The app is available across platforms such as Android, iOS and Windows Phone. It had first toppled Opera in India in the year 2013.

MX Player

Next on the list is MX Player, a video player app from Korea. The app ranked at No. 13 in last year's ranking.


Internet-streaming platform Hotstar is next on the list. The streaming platform offers 50,000-plus hours of TV content and movies spread across eight languages. It is owned by Novi Digital Entertainment Private Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Star India Private Limited.


Next on the list is Reliance Jio's JioTV. The app reportedly supports 454 channels, with the company adding 22 new channels recently. It has channels across multiple categories - business, devotional, entertainment, infotainment, kids, lifestyle, movies, music, news and sports.

Facebook Lite

At No. 10 on the list of most-downloadable apps is Facebook Lite, a stripped-down version of its main mobile app that's aimed at countries with poor internet connectivity. Earlier this year, the social networking giant rolled out Reactions to Facebook Lite app. Facebook also announced some India-specific camera effects for the app.

Immediately, the owners of these smartphones swipe right to enter a live chat where a Chennai-based broadcaster is showing off her makeup skills in a lace black off-the-shoulder dress. As she talks, Dimple's screen is flooded with instant messages from followers, who ply her with virtual gifts like roses and tiaras.

Dimple is a star on Bigo Live, a Singapore-based app, which is a cross between Snapchat (a messaging app that allows you to post short videos which disappear after 24 hours) and Periscope (Twitter's live streaming video app where videos can be saved) for its live-streaming and multimedia messaging features. It's just one of many live-streaming platforms that allow users to showcase their skills and make a quick buck from their fan base.

Dimple, for instance, earns a six-figure salary from live streaming alone. A makeup artist cum love guru, she broadcasts on a range of topics from health to relationships to paranormal activity .

The app claims to have over 20 million registered users in India. Unlike YouTube, every user is both a broadcaster and follower. The more people you follow, the more followers you earn, who in turn gift you virtual stuff like a picture of a sports car, which can be exchanged for money . Other apps simply pay you based on the number of followers. Users range from college students to 20-something millennials who sing, bake cakes, stream video game sessions and jabber about mundane stuff.

To gain more followers and subsequently more cash, a lot of broadcasts get a little raunchy. A quick glance through various streams reveals teenaged girls lying on the bed in provocative positions reading out onscreen messages and answering questions about their personal life with eager fans. Across the screen `call me' and `sexy' mushrooms over the comments section along with bubbling heart emojis. Earlier this year, Vice wrote about how sugar daddies in Indonesia were spending a big slice of their incomes on sending virtual gifts to women starring in such X-rated streams.

There are other ways to make streaming money. Ishan Agarwal, a Gurgaon-based photographer, who sings for his followers on a range of popular apps like BeLive, BigoLive and Live.me, recently pocketed Rs 16,000 from his 5 lakh followers.

"I spend 2-3 hours every day on these apps," says Ishan, who stopped considering it "timepass" ever since money began streaming in. "Last month I earned Rs 16,000 by completing Bigo Live target of gaining 5 lakh followers. As your followers grow, you get new targets. Users can earn up to $1000 a month by completing targets on time. Another way of earning money is through encashing the virtual gifts. If you are a popular streamer, the followers send you virtual gifts.The streamers, in turn, can stock up these gifts that can be transformed into `beans'. The more popular the streamer, the more beans they earn. These beans can be encashed for real money which the app deposits in your account. The current `bean' exchange rate is 210 beans for US $1," he adds.

The apps portray themselves as more accessible versions of television's `Indian Idol' or `America's Got Talent'. "Our target audience is anyone with a smartphone and talent," says a senior director from Bigo Live.

Live streaming apps have also become a great marketing tool for automobiles and media brands. Last year, Jaguar Land Rover India launched the Discovery Sport, a luxury SUV , live on Periscope. Abroad, these apps are also a hit with property agents who conduct house viewings for their real estate clients.

For 25-year-old stand-up comedian Duksh, live streaming helps promote his upcoming gigs without having to hire PR people. "The more people you follow, the more followers you have!" Live streaming apps have also becoming a platform to let professional gamers broadcast themselves playing video games live on their PC. Their spectators are usually other gamers who wish to learn the modus operandi of the games like Clash of Clans, League of Legends, DOTA II, FIFA online among others.

They can also learn about the latest games or just make friends with those who share the same passion for the game.

Of course, in this age of online trolls and stalkers, live streaming has its dark side. Dimple, who has over 80,000 followers, has dealt with obsessive fans. She recounts an incident where one follower went a bit overboard -inces santly messaging and showering her with gifts.

"Every time I would mute him, he would change his name and appear on the next broadcast with the same request to call him," she recalls. "So, at last, I called him during the broadcast and asked him to reveal his real name. He was reluctant because he said his wife uses the app too."


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