Gaana, the audio streaming service owned by the Times network, has launched a social media video platform HotShots that it says will allow Indian content enthusiasts intuitive, seamless, and snappy tools to create and share short viral videos and stories.

The move comes days after the Indian government’s decision to ban 59 Chinese apps in India, including TikTok, Helo, Vigo Video, Bigo Live, and Likee. Between them, these platforms command a total user base of about 400 million users.

Gaana HotShots will offer emerging and established influencers an opportunity to migrate to a robust Indian platform and build their own success stories, the company said in a statement. The product experience will comprise a host of ‘HotShot Challenges’ in the performing arts like music, comedy, and dance by HotShot influencers, celebrities, and international artists.

How Gaana HotShots works

Click on the feature and you will come across a familiar-looking interface. You will notice short videos of creators playing with music in the background. Unlike TikTok, Gaana has a library of music tracks on the platform. Creators can use music from its catalog to make their content. 

The profile of the creators follows a TikTok-like design, and people can like or share the videos they want to with a single tap. Brands have realized the potential of the short video market, opened up to them by TikTok. And with the China-based app now being scrutinized for various reasons, there are quite a few local apps looking to take advantage of its absence.

The influencer economy is up for huge challenges with TikTok gone. Some are moving to Instagram, YouTube and other places but it will be tough to replicate the success of the Chinese app that had turned many small-town Indians into overnight sensations, earning them anywhere between a few thousand rupees to more than 50 lakh per month, as per industry estimates.

Being a new platform, TikTok’s ad rates, ranging from 5 lakh to 50 lakh, were more economical than mature platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, offering smaller brands and boutique ad agencies high engagement through user-generated content and deep reach, especially in small towns and rural areas.

“At Gaana, we have always emphasized on placing the power of digital content creation into the hands of emerging talent. We had launched Gaana vertical video platform last year to allow our celebrities and singers to connect with our audience through short videos. We are building upon that expertise by unveiling a short video creation and consumption platform Gaana Hotshots,” Prashan Agarwal – CEO, Gaana said in a statement.

The home-grown entertainment app will offer aspiring Indians the power to become influencers in their own right across verticals like music, podcasts, and short videos, he added.

Earlier today, Facebook announced the launch of its Instagram’s Reels feature, the company’s version of TikTok that will run within the Instagram app.

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