Remember what happened on November 8, 2016? Of course, you do!
Remember November 9, 2016? You may, or may not, but Vijay Shekhar Sharma surely would. That was the day Paytm took out splashy front page ads thanking the Indian Prime Minister “on taking the boldest decision in the financial history of independent India”.
Whether it was bold or foolhardy continues to be a debate year after year and probably tends to end with the side that thinks it is bold asking the other side to shout ‘Vande Mataram’ or ‘Jai Shri Ram’ to categorically conclude the debate.
But there is very little doubt that demonetization literally created a parallel banking industry. One that was filled with complete non-entities who have now become nationally known and as trusted as banks that had earlier won the trust of millions of people over many decades.
There is no doubt about the convenience of UPI. It feels a lot more seamless and useful than conventional mobile banking from one of the major banks. Now, if I utter the word ‘mobile wallet’, chances are you may not name any major bank… and may remember new brands that have been created in the last 2-3 years.
Take a look at the World Cup 2019 on TV now. One category that is competing heavily for mindshare is the mobile banking segment. The brands competing? Nope, no banks (though RBI has a user education campaign too, on online security), but Google Pay, Amazon Pay and PhonePe!
But this convenience came on the back of a sudden shift in industry dynamics, tilted in favor of the incumbents, and at the cost of legacy players who were testing the waters for a very long time without concrete updates.
An entire industry was dragged into the new age as they were crying and screaming to avoid the change.
Remember another industry that behaved the same way to avoid change?
The broadcasting industry was literally kicking and screaming when TRAI started its task on streamlining the end-user pricing. Star and Vijay TV went to court, the court ordered a stay, gave a split verdict and then, finally, went by TRAI’s new regime. TRAI put the plan in motion and December 28, 2018 was set to be the beginning of the new tariff regime.
Brands like Tata Sky were seen to be completely silent with customer communication even as late as January and February, and then, finally, they all fell in line. Now, TRAI claims 100% change in the tariff policy where the customer gets to choose the channels she wants to watch and pay only for those.
Ironically, while this was supposed to be beneficially cost-wise, it now seems costlier than the earlier tariff regime. I reckon this may have shifted a substantial amount of interested in OTT. The prospects of OTT industry in India seem very bright!
If cable and satellite TV industry’s status-quo was maintained, would this spur in interest in OTT be possible?
Now, a third industry.
As old as banking in India, and more complex, given the presence of physical assets in terms of manufacturing and production – the automobile industry.
Here are 3 pieces of news from The Economic Times and The Times of India from the last 6 days!
Do you hear the existing players kicking and screaming? Why? Because there is a date—a specific date—for them to worry about!
Like digital money and OTT, this is for the overall good too – a lot more good, given the environmental benefits of going electric (provided the new electricity generated is also clean and doesn’t tax the system).
I totally understand the level of complexity in the automobile industry. The amount of capital needed is staggeringly high. But I wonder if we’d see a slew of new brands that are not necessarily from brand names presently associated with automobiles in India, to usurp the market from the legacy players!