In the last couple of months, TikTok had reached the zenith of its fame with 200 million users bored in their houses during the lockdown.
|| Pratyasha Sharma
The short-video sharing app had users performing complicated dance routines, interactive challenges and lip-sync videos to the entertainment of viewers. Aspiring actors, artists, comedians and dancers in the country had found a stage to showcase their talent and gain fans. However, following privacy and security concerns, India banned 59 Chinese apps- TikTok being one of them.
TikTok celebrities and their followers were left stranded by the ban, but not for long.
Many TikTok stars took to their Instagram and other social media handles to promote their content post-ban. This was made easier by the release of the Reels feature on Instagram. The feature allows users to post short videos of 15 seconds with music, and other adjustments similar to TikTok. Some content creators have shifted to YouTube and its long-video format. Dubsmash had been lying dormant for the last few years, but following the ban, it has resurfaced as the original lip-sync video app. Former Vine founder Dom Hoffman launched an app called Byte in January, and many international TikTok users are shifting to the platform. Snapchat is reportedly testing TikTok-style navigation to focus on sharing of public video content, as well.
Indian app developers have also seized this opportunity fuelled by PM Modi’s “Atmanirbhar Innovation Challenge” to launch their own short-video sharing apps. Prominent amongst these are Mitron, Chingari, Bolo Indya and Roposo. Mitron has the same interface as TikTok and is gaining popularity with 20 million downloads since its release. Chingari’s founder Sumit Ghosh recently conducted a Twitter poll asking TikTok users if they would import their content to the app, and received positive reviews. Meanwhile, Bolo Indya which is a Gurugram-based startup has laid emphasis on the fact that it follows the government guidelines for data security quite seriously. Roposo, another rival of TikTok has come up with a foolproof way to gain followers. It enables users to earn Paytm cash for uploading lip-sync and dance videos. Users can not only show their talent but also earn a decent income through the app, the only requirement being a strict verification process.
Having struck the goldmine, competitors have started offering exclusive contracts to the top TikTok celebrities in order to draw users to their platforms. Campaigns, advertisements and product endorsement offers are slowly filling up the inbox of these former stars. User engagement rates are soaring, renewing hopes of developers. The curated-content industry appears to be thriving again.