Builders for Bharat

Pratilipi's Quest to Build the Ultimate Online Marketplace for Stories

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Stories transcend languages and geographies, and Pratilipi ensures that India embraces the joy of storytelling. As a self-publishing platform, Pratilipi carved out a unique niche. It allows Indian-language writers to share their stories on the platform and also enables them to monetize their work.

With a mission to democratize storytelling, Pratilipi swiftly evolved into a vibrant ecosystem. Users can publish their stories as text, audio, comics, and physical copies. What began as an online reading and writing hub now boasts over a million writers and attracts more than 1.5 million daily active users of online literature. Pratilipi supports storytelling in 12 languages, including English, Bengali, Kannada, Odia, Punjabi, and Telugu, ensuring that narratives reach a wider audience.

Pratilipi's influence extends beyond the digital realm, branching into television and web series adaptations. With several shows already launched and many more in development, it continues to push for storytelling in India.

As a UGC (user-generated content) marketplace, the company also faced its share of challenges. Like many other UGC platforms, Pratilipi faced the chicken-and-egg problem. To attract a large reader base, it needed to onboard talented writers, and those writers would join if there were a substantial and relevant audience.

Pratilipi addressed this by engaging with hundreds of writers, understanding their challenges, and persuading them to publish through its platform. They also used public domain content and provided excellent customer service to ensure writers felt supported, ultimately attracting more contributors.

Having cracked the code, Pratilipi started monetizing a couple of years ago. Pratilipi's revenue grew by 400% the year before last, followed by a 100% increase last year. This year, the company anticipates another revenue boost of approximately 100%. Additionally, the number of stories read on the platform—a key indicator of engagement and monetization—has historically grown at a robust 40–50% quarter over quarter.

Pratilipi's growth is not limited to urban areas exclusively. Approximately 45% of its story consumption currently comes from Tier 2, Tier 3 cities and beyond. This widespread appeal underscores its resonance with diverse audiences across India.

The company’s core strength lies in this inclusive platform. Democratization ensures that every writer, irrespective of their background or mother tongue, has a space to share their stories. This inclusivity is critical in a country as diverse as India, where each region boasts unique cultural narratives and linguistic heritage.

Pratilipi does not specifically target Tier 2, Tier 3 cities, or rural India, collectively known as Bharat. Instead, it focuses on the individual, aiming to recommend the best content tailored to their preferences. Its mission extends to a broader entertainment landscape.

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