With changing definition, Meta becomes India's largest media company

The Facebook parent company's revenues mostly come from targeted advertising in a booming content creator economy.
Making it big.
Making it big.
Photo: DADO RUVIC (Reuters)
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Meta Platforms is nowhere among the world’s largest media companies.

In India, however, it tops the list, thanks to the large user base of its three brands Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, according to the Business Standard’s annual review published yesterday (Nov. 23). These findings are based on annual reports, company estimates, and research by Media Partners Asia.

Many, including the company itself, argue that Meta is not a media firm.

“But the ubiquity of the internet has changed the definition of a media company. Telecom, technology, media and even retail firms are all searching for audiences,” the Business Standard report said.

The rise in India’s content creator industry 

A decade ago, when content creation was not as popular, this list looked nothing like it is now, according to the newspaper.

Both the size and the character of the industry have changed since then.

India today has about 80 million online content creators. These include video streamers, influencers, bloggers, creators on OTT platforms, physical product creators, and essentially anyone building a community around their niche.

Meta’s 161,400-crore-rupee Indian business has capitalized on this market.

“India is a very critical market for our platforms from multiple dimensions. A lot of new product learning and incubation is done here, and ‘Reels’ is an example of that...this is the market where we have done the most amount of testing of new product features,” Manish Chopra, director and head of partnerships for Meta India, told PTI in October.

What worked particularly well for Meta was a ban on the Chinese short video app TikTok in June 2020 due to national security issues. Creators shifted towards Instagram and YouTube.

This pivotal shift highlights how companies adapted to the evolving digital economy, forcing them to recalibrate their business strategy and build scale.

The key was digital advertising. Most of Meta’s revenues come from advertising that targets Facebook, Instagram or Instagram Reels users. Around 36.9% of consumer brands rely on Instagram for their dedicated influencer marketing efforts, followed by YouTube (20.4%) and Facebook (18.7%).