ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Typography of precarious regional Indian online creators


Mehta Smith - Center for Advanced Internet Studies (Alumni), Bochum, Germany


51- The Digital Turn in South Asian Television Studies


 The last census conducted by the Indian Government in 2011 states that India is home to 121 languages. However, most digital content creation practices on social media platforms such as Youtube, Facebook, and ShareChat still privilege Hindi and English content over other languages due to their local and global mass appeal. The preference for the English language also has a class context whereby those speaking in English are perceived as more educated and cultured than others. Such a perception has social, economic, political and cultural implications for Indian online ‘regional’ creators who create content in languages other than Hindi or English. This is besides the fact that they are already competing for attention with traditional media, as well as English and Hindi-language creators on the internet. The algorithmic uncertainty of social media platforms also contributes to their anxieties. Based on the interviews with creators and streaming service executives conducted between 2017-2022 and trade press literature, this project proposes to provide a typology for the different kinds of precarious labour that online regional creators must undergo in their conquest to develop a sustainable career in the screen industries.