Iit was his daily three-hour commute between Gurgaon and Noida which convinced Rohan Nayak that many Indians like him longed for high quality audio content. Less than four years after the launch of the Pocket FM application, the audio streamer claims more than 15 million active users per month.
Nayak, like others this year Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia: Media, Marketing and Advertising Listseeks to transform the way content is consumed by Gen Z audiences.
Along with co-founders Nishanth KS and Prateek Dixit (both over 30), he has created and distributed over 100,000 hours of long-form content related to entertainment, education and other genres in eight languages : English, Bengali, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil. and Telugu. The typical user spends 100 minutes every day listening to Pocket FM audio content, according to Nayak.
The Bangalore-based company has so far raised $94 million from investors including Goodwater Capital, Tanglin Venture Partners and Lightspeed India Partners. After focusing on content development for the past few years, Nayak says the next goal is to tap into the 10% of listeners who are paid subscribers and monetize more assets.
Rise of influencers
Besides audio, other forms of content are also on the rise, driven primarily by social media influencers who cover everything from entertainment and lifestyle to technology, education and career advice.
In Australia, beauty journalist Jordyn Christensen saw a gap in the market for a Gen Z-focused news site and helped launch Century-old beauty in 2019. In addition to beauty and pop culture, the platform features “viral news” stories shared on social media about Instagram and TikTok and YouTube influencers. There’s also a weekly podcast from Christensen and co-founder Lauren Meisner (30+) on viral stardom, the creator economy, and social media. Along with media campaign partnerships with companies like MAC Cosmetics, Pinterest and others, the duo run a subscription service that gives businesses a glimpse into the next generation.
In India, social media influencer Masoom Minawala leveraged his popularity to create an e-commerce platform, Style Fiesta, and took his career globally, representing Indian designers along the way. She was India’s first fashion blogger at Paris Fashion Week. More recently, Minawala was also the first Indian designer to walk the runway at Milan Fashion Week, modeling for Vaishali S, the first Indian designer to present a collection there. She has 1.2 million Instagram followers and a team of 15 full-time employees working to manage the Masoom Minawala brand online. She also hosts a social media-exclusive reality series, Masoom Takes Fashion Week, sharing the ins and outs of Milan and Paris Fashion Week with her more than 50,000 YouTube subscribers.
Taking on a more comedic tone, LA-based Indian comedian and content creator Niharika Nm has two million Instagram followers and over 700,000 YouTube subscribers. Her recent “Living Alone 101” video went viral on Instagram and reached 14 million views in just under 15 days. Another video, “One Way Street It Is,” hit 10 million views in a week last year. She has partnered with Netflix and Amazon Prime India and worked with brands like BYJUs and OPPO. The 24-year-old has won several awards and accolades, including Best Entertainment Influencer at the Impact Digital Influencers Awards 2021 and Blogger/Creator of the Year 2021 at the Women Disruptors Awards 2021 by Adgully. She was selected by YouTube as one of the Creators for Change Global Ambassadors.
Focusing on career-related content like tips for resume writing and job interviews, Indonesia Vina Muliana has amassed nearly 4.5 million followers on TikTok since posting her first video a year ago. She first started posting to help those struggling to find jobs during the pandemic. Her videos were recognized as the best in learning and education at the TikTok Awards Indonesia 2022. Before launching her TikTok channel, Muliana worked as a journalist and communication specialist for seven years.
Aimed at a younger audience, Japanese American YouTube and TikTok content creator based in Tokyo, Cyber Rabbit produces upbeat segments for adults and children to teach them Japanese language, grammar and culture. From his class songs on YouTube (over 80,000 subscribers, with over two million total views, and his “Hiragana song” has garnered over a million views) to comedy skits about culture, the rules no written and etiquette on TikTok (nearly 440,000 followers) and Instagram, she entertains while delivering informative points on the rapprochement of cultures between Japan and the West.
Inform the public
Elsewhere on the list, journalists and entrepreneurs are raising awareness of marginalized issues through their independent platforms.
28 years Zahra Joya is an Afghan journalist who founded the news agency Rukhshana Media to share untold stories of women and girls in Afghanistan and to support female journalists in the country. Last August, as the Afghan government crumbled and the Taliban regained control of the country, she partnered with The Guardian publish the Women Report Afghanistan plan to relay to the world the realities of what was happening in the country. She named her agency after a 19-year-old woman who was stoned to death by the Taliban in 2015. At the age of 5 and before the US invasion of Iraq, Joya had to dress as a boy and walk for two hours. go to school. She currently runs Rukhshana Media from exile in London and was recently selected as one of 12 women in Weather‘s Women of the Year 2022.
One of India’s first openly transgender doctors, Tinetra Haldar Gummaraju also made the Asia 30 Under 30 list. She uses her social media platforms with an audience of nearly 250,000 to solve social, medical and legal issues on Instagram and YouTube. Gummaraju strives to focus on creating mainstream representation of LGBTQIA+ people and raising awareness about trans rights, challenges, and life in general. Her work has helped shed light on the lack of queer-inclusive information in medical education and transphobia in medical colleges in India. She also lobbied for conversion therapy to be made illegal and to remove queerphobic content from medical textbooks.
Additional reporting by Ramakrishnan Narayanan.
To learn more about these entrepreneurs and influencers, read our full Media, Marketing & Advertising list. here – and be sure to check out our full coverage of Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia here.