Amit Gupta, at Global Voices, writes about the monetization difficulties faced by those blogging in local languages – in this case, in Hindi. Gupta says “Ad revenue from programs like Google (NSDQ: GOOG) AdSense is just about nil when it comes to Hindi blogging,” and only larger local language media sites are benefiting from advertising from direct sources. He points to an interview with Jitendra Chaudhary, administrator of Hindi aggregator Narad, who believes that monetization will come from big media sites, who will look to Hindi bloggers for content. He suggests that they specialize in niche segments – like technology and management tips.
There are a few local language media portals: MSN, Yahoo, AOL, OneIndia and Webdunia have content in many languages; BBC and Josh18 (Web18), have Hindi news content. Then there are sites like Tarkash, Nirantar, Lokmanch, and a hindi podcasting site called PodBharti (some info on them here). Blogvani is another Hindi blog aggregator. What Chaudhary doesn’t say in the interview is that advertising will not be a viable option for Hindi blogs and some sites, because the volume of traffic is likely to remain low; which is probably why he recommends that bloggers gear up for content deals.
Update: Something of a debate in the comments to this post. Also, via Alootechie, I came across this government release, which suggests that the dearth of local language content could limit the number of Internet users in India: growth is saturating among English speaking users (around 5-10 percent of the population). More local language content will mean more local interest in the Internet. Hindi isn’t even in the top 10 languages on the Internet (source: InternetWorldStats.com). There are some challenges, in terms of standardization of fonts and Internationalized domain names.