The rise of Indian Americans on the internet

Sanjay Sehgal, Chairman & CEO at MSys Technologies, talks about the untapped potential for the media and entertainment industry, which is increasingly being captured by NRI digital content creators

BuzzInContent Bureau
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Sanjay Sehgal

The unstoppable phenomenon of NRI content started when Netflix released Indian matchmaking in 2020, creating a whole new genre of what we now fondly call cringe content.

The inexplicable gap of culture between Indians and NRIs and the latter trying their best to hold on to their roots became a comedy of errors that had everyone on the hook. This also opened a new realm of possibilities for a very overlooked audience with high spending capacity - Indian-origin NRIs that mainly reside in North America, Canada and Australia.

Roughly 25 lakh (2.5 Million) people migrate from India every year and since 2010 Indian diaspora has been the largest diaspora from any country in the world. The total Indian diaspora stands roughly at 32 Million people spread globally, the US, Canada and the UK represent 25% of the diaspora population. The average Indian household income in the US of $123k is double of every national average. This shows the untapped potential for the media and entertainment industry in this market, where there is a dire need to create characters, stories and even thought leaders.

Innovation’s breeding ground, social media, has already started tapping into this target audience with videos of wellness, beauty and all things Indian, but from the lens of an NRI. You have Ruhee Dosani who creates dance videos targeted at her Canadian audience, similarly sketch comedy videos by Niharika NM who targets US-based NRIs. Then there are Arshia Moorajani and Ami Desai who rule the beauty videos with their recommendations of brown girl-friendly products.

“Namaste, mera naam Priya hai aur mai van mei rehti hun” is something half of the social media recognises because Priya Sharma, a South Asian Australian uses her platform as a video diary in Hindi. Her Indian audience has grown to like her broken Hindi and her NRI audience engages because of the reliability & similarity of lifestyle.

Social media is probably the most rapidly evolving landscape where all it takes is one story/ idea/ video/ dialogue/ song/ jingle that clicks with the audience. This level playing field demands for originality to be catapulted through any medium, and winners of this game become the trend. In the real world, a trend usually evolves and shapes over months and with careful deliberation by the participants.

If we closely examine the NRI movement, these content creators gain momentum at an astonishing rate because of two aspects - the strength of this trend and more importantly the dearth of representation for this audience. There are stories to be explored here, niches to be discovered and problems to be solved - a new league of creators know that and have already created a strong database just by interacting with this audience.

So call it cringe, cool, or shocking but in the video roulette of social media, if you have engagement, you call the shots. Judgements can be left in the comment section while true creators establish their relevance and monetise their narrative.

content creators Indian American influencers Media and Entertainment industry Indian diaspora