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Astrology, Bollywood, Cricket: Tim Cook's calculated move to understand net consumption in India

According to experts, religion, films and cricket is the holy trinity — which make India’s heart beat and what drives consumption on the Internet.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: May 24, 2016, 02.58 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: If you thought, Apple CEO Tim Cook’s last week’s visit to the Siddhivinayak Temple, tete-a-tete with Bollywood stars and a surprise appearance at an IPL match were random unconnected events, think again. According to experts, religion, films and cricket is the holy trinity — which make India’s heart beat and what drives consumption on the Internet.

Content around ABC as it is called — Astrology, Bollywood, Cricket — drives most of the consumption of Internet and applications in the country with only Social networking for competition. “At the end of the day two things drive Apple, one is the brand that people want to possess and the second is the number of apps that drives a lot of consumer behaviour,” said Romal Shetty, partner at audit and consultancy firm KPMG. So far, the Apple ecosystem was more or less designed keeping in mind the Western world, but now Apple has started making that overture towards India. “You have to be specific to India, this country has not succeeded for anybody otherwise,” he added.

Cook, 55, who landed in Mumbai late on Tuesday night, started his multi-city India tour with an early morning visit to the Shree Siddhivinayak Temple at Prabhadevi. Later in the day, Cook visited Mehboob Studio in Bandra West and witnessed shooting of a film. He wrapped up the day with dinner at Shah Rukh Khan’s house Mannat where the guest list included the who’s who of Bollywood.

On Thursday, Cook made a surprise visit to Kanpur to watch an IPL match between Gujarat Lions and Kolkata Knight Riders. Cook’s unusual itinerary was not just to provide the “glamour” quotient, said Sangeeta Gupta, senior VP of Nasscom. “There is a business sense attached. These things are what drive Internet in India and it may be way of understanding it first hand,” added Gupta. The inputs may come in handy while designing the India roadmap. According to an iCube report by IMRB, the biggest avenue for online access is social network with 85% of Indians accessing it, followed by 84% of entertainment that includes music, videos and of that music videos and movies constitutes almost 67%.

This is both content that is downloaded through the Internet or streaming. Biswapriya Bhattacharjee, Group Business Director at IMRB said that while there is no exact statistic for Sports, since there are multiple avenues for it now including updates on WhatsApp, news around sports constitutes 23% of the total online news consumption which stands at 66%.

“If people texted on short codes to get score updates earlier, they are now watching live matches on apps such as Hotstar and Youtube,” added Shetty.

According to another report by Indian council for research on international economic relations (ICRIER) after Facebook and Truecaller, music application Gaana, YouTube and Astrology are the top among the top five more popular Facebook linked application in the country. While meeting PM Modi, Cook spoke about his visit to different parts of the country, and his meetings with people including youth, business leaders, and film actors. In particular, he mentioned his visit to the Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai, and watching a cricket match. Modi, appreciating Cook, said that in India, ‘seeing is believing’ and added that these experiences would definitely steer Cook’s business decisions.

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