The Innovation Issue – SINHALA CONTENT RISING

ZMESSENGER

JAYOMI LOKULIYANA
ZMESSENGER
EMPLOYEES: 85
REVENUE: RS450 MILLION

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SINHALA CONTENT RISING

The number of Sri Lankans preferring to consume digital content in Sinhala has reached an inflection point, with demand boosted by millions of new smartphone users across the island accessing content on their mobile devices, according to the country’s largest digital agency and mobile marketing firm zMessenger.

The rural mass migration to mobile-enabled services has accelerated over the past couple of years. Sri Lanka now has more mobile phone connections than it has people, and many users are switching to or upgrading their smartphones, resulting in more data usage as they consume more content. The most popular Sinhala content accessed online are learning platforms, lottery purchases, astrology services and market information services.

zMessenger Chief Executive Jayomi Lokuliyana says the average rural consumer now spends close to Rs100 monthly for services and approximately 10 minutes a day consuming paid-for content. She points out that 70% of mobile users now use paid-for entertainment content on their mobile device, and consumption in the age segment of 25-34 years is the highest. In parallel, over 1,000 young entrepreneurs have set up ventures online, marketing goods and services though social media. There is also a growing blogging and vlogging community.

The Sinhala language market is around five times larger than the English readership, and there is growing interest to read content on health, finance and beauty. In response to this rise in local online content consumption, brands are establishing their own digital publishing platforms and allocating significant investments. Certain brands create over 5,000 content pieces annually.