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Indus Appstore launch: Startup leaders vouch for fairer, sustainable future for App Stores

IANS | March 04, 2024 02:22 PM

BENGALURU: At the launch of PhonePe's Indus Appstore, a compelling panel discussion delved into the critical issue of sustainable business models for app stores, the company said on Monday.

The panel deliberated on the sustainable business models for app stores, focusing on the unique challenges and opportunities within the Indian market.

The panel also shed light on the path forward for app stores in India, seeking to foster an ecosystem that supports innovation, inclusivity, and growth, according to the company.

Moderated by Sajith Sivanandan, head of Disney+ Hotstar, the panel brought together insights from prominent Indian startup leaders -- Virendra Gupta, Founder of VerSe Innovation; Neeraj Roy, Founder and CEO of Hungama; Harsh Jain, Co-founder and CEO of Dream11; and Murugavel Janakiraman, CEO of BharatMatrimony.

“We are committed to offering a level playing field for all developers. The Indus Appstore will not mandate the use of any specific payment gateway, allowing developers the freedom to choose any service they prefer, ” said Sameer Nigam, Founder and CEO of PhonePe.

“With this approach, we aim to democratise the app ecosystem by offering an alternative that prioritises the needs of Indian developers and users, ” Nigam added.

Among the key challenges highlighted by the panelists was “limited revenue streams” where the reliance on a small number of dominant app stores often forces startups into accepting unfavorable revenue-sharing models and constrained monetisation options.

Another concern was high commission fees. The excessive fees charged by dominant app stores were identified as a significant barrier, eating into the already slim profit margins of app developers, particularly those in the early stages of their business.

Lack of discoverability was another challenge where apps struggle to compete for visibility and find their audiences within crowded app stores. This hinders growth and innovation, particularly for smaller developers.

Other concerns were opaque policies and practices, cultural and linguistic barriers and data security and user trust.

To address these challenges, the panelists proposed several solutions aimed at creating a more equitable and thriving app store ecosystem.

“App stores should provide flexible monetisation options, including subscriptions, in-app purchases, and tailored advertising solutions to fit various app types. By reducing commission fees and providing alternative monetisation models, app stores can encourage more developers to bring their innovations to the market, ” the panelists argued.

“They should also promote inclusivity by supporting multiple Indian languages and catering to regional preferences, app stores should offer tools and support for developers to easily localise their apps, ensuring they are accessible and relevant to all segments of the Indian population”.

Nigam further elaborated on the platform's revenue model, which will focus on advertising and cataloging services, reinforcing the app store's role as a discovery platform aimed at giving every developer a fair chance to succeed.

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