Audio streaming is growing in India like never before. In a country where majority of video apps and OTT platforms are fighting for screen time, audio content like podcasts, audiobooks, audio series, talk shows, and more are gaining steam.
According to a PwC report, India is the world’s third-largest podcast market, just behind the US and China. It has about 40 million monthly podcast listeners, growing at 58 percent annually.
One of the defining trends in the audio-streaming sector has been the growing demand for local, vernacular, and Indianised content. The demand for this has grown further due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced us to stay indoors.
Riding on this trend is Khabri, a podcast app, which is providing content in regional languages. It is a pure play audio platform to discover, listen, and create podcasts in regional languages.
Khabri, a Hindi term for informant or news, is one of the top trending apps on the Google Play Store, and has crossed more than one million downloads, with a rating of 4.4 stars.
Launched in October 2017, Khabri was founded by Sandeep Singh, Pulkit Sharma, and Aankit Roy. Taking inspiration from Prime Minister’s ‘Startup India’ campaign, the concept of Khabri arrived when the founders realised there was lack of legal permit for news broadcasters in India to air content on private radio channels.
The platform is designed to cover local as well as national and international content for the Indian masses in their own regional language.
The ‘Made in India’ app aggregates Hindi audio content across categories like news, current affairs, knowledge, government jobs, devotions, books, movies, Bollywood, and motivation.
Gurugram-based Khabri is backed by Silicon Valley seed accelerator Y Combinator, GSF Accelerator’s Rajesh Sawhney, Titan Capital’s Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal (Snapdeal co-founders), ex-Twitter VP Shailesh Rao, ex-Google India MD Rajan Anandan, Z Nation Labs, and other angel investors.
We explored the app in this week’s app review segment and here are our impressions.
On the welcome screen, the app boasts of having audio content from more than one lakh channels across 20 categories such as entertainment, spirituality, news, etc. The same page has a smart toggle to select whether you want to go ahead in Hindi or English, and we chose the latter.
When you select ‘get started’, the next page takes you to the category section where you can tap your preference such as news, government jobs, motivation, etc. Users also have the option to skip this step.
The most unique feature of the app is that one can start using it without creating an account.
At first glance, Khabri’s home page is impressive and is aligned with its name ‘Khabri’. The main page has a daily corona India tracker with latest data on the number of deaths, infected people, etc, which can be shared on WhatsApp.
There is also a separate section for each category such as news, motivation, government, etc., on the top of the home page, and the main page is a curated feed with trending audios across categories. The app is well-designed and is easy to use.
Khabri has channels like BBC Hindi, Aaj Tak, Khan Motivation, Sandeep Maheshwari, etc. Some of its top channels are GK-Trending Now, Crack Exam, Amazing Random Fact, etc.
We listened to some of these channels over a week’s time, and our favourite was Yukti Verma’s GK-Trending Now, which throws light upon the latest developments in a multiple choice questions format, along with necessary information in just 5-10 minutes. The channel mostly targets aspirants preparing for competitive exams like civil service exams.
There is also a section on the app called ‘VoiceOfBlinds’, which lets people with vision impairment become podcasters.
Besides this, the app has a separate section for books where one can listen to books like Chanakya Neeti, Rich Dad Poor Dad, The Power of Habit, Chetan Bhagat’s books, etc, in Hindi. These books are not just translated to Hindi, but also has a soothing music in the background, just like an ideal audio book. The app even has many Bollywood films in audio format.
Overall, the app features rich audio content on a vast variety of topics. The app also allows users to download the podcasts and listen to them later in offline mode.
However, the best part of Khabri is that it is an ad-free app, and the audios do not get interrupted with small ads.
On the Play Store, people have reviewed the app and commented that it is highly informative and keeps them up-to-date about latest news, and that it is the best audio listening app, which does not have ads in between the podcasts.
Become a podcaster
The app is also interactive and gives users the option to create their own audio channel. All you have to do is go to the settings in the app, and click on ‘create your channel on Khabri Studio App’, and a popup will enable you to download a creator app, which will let you create your channel.
This Made in India app is on par with global apps like Spotify, Audible, and others. Khabri is a must-have app for those who love to stay in touch with their vernacular language and are looking for alternative forms of entertainment other than OTT platforms.
While the app offers engaging podcasts in the language of your choice, the only downside to the app is that the app should have a auto-pause timer like Audible, where you can stop the app after 30 minutes or so . Besides this, similar to other social media platforms, the information on the Khabri app is not verified as it is by the people.
All in all, the app is useful in many ways, and we would recommend you download and give it a try. On the podcaster front, the app is again great to turn your idle time into ‘found time’ and earn money by becoming podcasters.
Edited by Megha Reddy
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