“With the rise in number of short video users, the challenge is to retain them”

Adgully is back with a new edition of its annual feature – TRENDING NOW – where we present the strategies and views of a cross-section of industry leaders as they go about reclaiming lost time and market opportunities and build for a stronger future, armed with the lessons of the pandemic period.

Over the last few weeks, Trending Now has been bringing insights from industry leaders on how their organisations are geared up to seize the opportunities in 2022, break through the Covid disruptions and find growth and remain resilient.

In conversation with Adgully, Vidya Narayanan, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Rizzle, speaks about the emerging trends in the content creation space, especially growth of short video format and more

What are the trends that you expect to dominate in your sector this year?

Content is constantly evolving, and platforms that are unable to catch up with or define emerging trends are unlikely to capture the attention and creativity of users at scale. More than any other factor, constant product innovation will determine which platforms will be able to achieve massive success and remain relevant in the long run. Technology, content, creator development, and creator monetisation will all be critical components for a platform to emerge as one of the winners. Also, each platform must identify and stay true to its DNA.

  • Original short video formats like dance and lip-sync videos are always going to stay relevant, although the bar for great content is now much higher in these areas due to saturation of creators and content. Rizzle partners with Sony Music Entertainment, Aditya Music, Benchmark Entertainment, and Aatma Music to enable making these videos. These partnerships between music and video platforms will grow.
  • A lot of people are using their time to experiment and explore their creativity with videos. So, we’re also expecting more creator support programs to rise in the near future, ones similar to our Rizzle Studios.
  • Video creation will be simplified beyond belief with one-touch creation experiences and templates. These templates will make it possible for creators with no editing experience to create unique and visually appealing videos with ease. This will exponentially reduce the time required to create a video and allow creators to focus solely on the concept of the video rather than post-production editing.
  • People will use short videos to share ideas, opinions, thoughts, reviews, and recommendations. Platforms that remain relevant will serve as a medium for social commerce, with creators using them to promote products and brands. Thus, platforms that remain relevant will serve as a medium for social commerce, with creators using them to promote products and brands. This broadens the opportunities for video monetisation for creators across the country.
  • Many brands are jumping on the short video bandwagon as they realise the true power of short-form videos. Short-form videos could account for up to 20% of the digital ad pie in the near future, says a report by RedSeer. Given short attention spans of people, it is no surprise that brands prefer snackable, engaging videos to communicate their brand messaging.
  • In 2022 and beyond, nearly everything will shift to video, and short video platforms will be at the forefront of this revolution.

What are the challenges and new opportunities that you see emerging in the year ahead?

Like users of any social media platform, short video app users are also ruthless. They have several options. They will not stay on a platform for even a minute if they do not believe it is worthwhile. Undeniably, with the increase in the number of short video users, the challenge is to retain them.

Although Indian short video apps have come a long way since the Tik-Tok ban, they continue to bring traditional formats and existing celebrities, making it impossible to develop a distinct identity. The key to long-term sustainability is product differentiation and innovation, going beyond the state of 2020 and TikTok-style content alone. Each platform must identify its DNA and stick with it.

Moreover, for a platform to succeed, it has to create its own class of stars. And, as the creation process shifts to smartphones, the need of the hour is to offer amazing creation experiences through unique features and templates. This will allow creators to focus more on the content of their video rather than the editing and creation process.

As we move forward, one thing is certain: there will be multiple winners, not just one. Technology, content, creator development, and creator monetisation will all be critical components for a platform to win a piece of this pie.

How do you think this year will fare in comparison to the Covid and pre-Covid periods?

The pre-Covid era saw Chinese apps such as Kuaishou and Bytedance take centerstage and establish the short video format as we know today. They spent years perfecting their formula for success, and by 2020, when the rest of the world became aware of the content revolution, these Chinese apps had raced far ahead.

Today, 100M+ Indians actively use short video apps. With increased Internet and smartphone penetration in India, it goes without saying that this figure will only rise further. In fact, by 2025, 600 million to 650 million Indians will consume short-form videos, with active users spending up to 55-60 minutes per day, according to a report by Bain and Company.

The pandemic, more than anything else, had compelled filmmakers and storytellers to reinvent themselves. While we return to normalcy, the world of storytelling will continue to evolve and embrace short video platforms for creating, distributing, and monetising all types of stories.

What was the thought behind Rizzle?

Rizzle was founded in 2019 to revolutionise the short-video app segment, breaking the monotony of video-sharing apps and developing a video-creation platform, across categories, such as comedy, drama, mystery and crime, action, romance, fantasy, science fiction and more.

Our vision is to build a world-class short video platform that is inclusive, interactive, positive, fun, entertaining and creator-centric. Unlike others in the market, our focus is on original, user-generated content with new media formats. At Rizzle, the approach is rooted in the product, design thinking, and reimagining the future of video, adding value for everyday creators and developing the next generation of stars. Rizzle is currently the only organically viral platform in India. It has consistently been one of the Top 5 apps on Google Play Social for several months. We have developed a distinct identity and brand for ourselves, and more importantly, for our creators. 

What is the current market opportunity for a platform like yours? How has Rizzle’s growth journey been?

Short video is not only the media format of the future, but it is also the media format of today. They are here to stay – thanks to our shrinking attention spans and a universally consumable media that transcends literacy barriers.

The Indian short video market has witnessed massive growth in the last two to three years. According to a report by RedSeer, India’s short-form space is expected to be the second largest in terms of time spent this year, after Facebook and Google. It is believed that short-form space will overtake streaming long form video content in the next few years.

Rizzle is already the best short video product and has the most cutting-edge technologies in this space. We have seen a 300 per cent increase in our user base in the last six months, and we expect to become the leading short-form entertainment choice for India with short series and top desi trends in the next three years. In fact, recently three of Rizzle’s Trends went viral on Reels and YouTube with over 500k videos shared organically and hundreds of millions of views. These trends – Rizzle Original Music Aaradukayanu, Rizzle Photo Painting Template, and Rizzle Tutorials, for example – continue to gain traction across content creators and users of all ages.

Please give a snapshot of the features you have introduced recently. Also, what kind of features can we expect going forward?

With its engaging user interface, 1,000+ templates, and AI-based cutting-edge features such as Rimix, Filmi, and Titan, Rizzle has made significant strides in the vertical short video and web-series market.

In the first quarter of this year, we launched two new features – Filmi On Camera and Transition. Filmi On Camera is an exciting and intuitive new feature that provides creators with real-time rendering of visual effects on camera synchronised to the music track. All that users have to do is select a Filmi template from the many innovative templates available at Rizzle and watch the real-time effects come to life. Transition feature, on the other hand, aims to eliminate the complexities that creators face by providing an interface that simplifies transition video creation. Rizzle allows users to create videos using the built-in transition effects, with all of the features conveniently located in one place.

Transition videos are extremely popular on social media. However, unlike on Rizzle, people have to manually edit to achieve seamless transitions on all other apps. With its Transition feature, Rizzle provides AI-based assistance in frame alignment and music transition point selection, allowing anyone to create a transition video in minutes with no editing.

In addition to these, we’ve also launched Loops – a feature that allows creation of video loops without editing. Video loops were an Internet sensation when Vine first inspired them – and have continued to be a coveted video format for many advanced creators. Rizzle now allows a creator to record a video, have the recorded video play from the looping point, and then continuously loop, eliminating the need for the user to rearrange segments.

At Rizzle, we are continuously working on improving our tech capabilities, adding new features, and enhancing user experience.


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