The internet’s second revolution | The Economist


Written by:

L. O. Two simple letters that marked one of the biggest changes… …in human history In 1969 programmers were trying to type “login” Charlie typed the L. He typed the O He typed the G. You get to G—whacko The system crashed So the very first message on the internet ever… …was lo, as in lo and behold 50 years later and half the world is now online But that half is primarily from the rich world Which means that the other half quite obviously… …will have to come from the poor world How will the second half of humanity coming online change the internet… …and how will the internet change them? The really interesting place to look at is India India’s internet penetration was pretty low… …until very recently with the launch of a new mobile network… …called Reliance Jio… …with incredibly cheap phones and incredibly cheap data prices Reliance Jio launched aggressively in 2016… …offering subsidised handsets and free data to hook people in India went from being a relatively expensive place to consume data… …to being the cheapest in the world. Prices crashed by 94% Newer users in the developing world are browsing the internet… …in much the same way as people in the developed world When people get online the first thing they do… …is they chat with their friends… …they watch sports, they watch movies, they watch music videos They watch an extremely large amount of pornography But this is where the similarities end The internet was built on the assumptions… …that many users speak English… …are literate and are media-savvy None of those things remain true… …for the second half of the internet You have a whole bunch of languages… …that don’t enjoy very good support… …in terms of web browsers or input And you have a whole bunch of people who can’t actually read or write There’s practically no usage… …of desktop computers, laptop computers It’s almost entirely on mobile phones… …and these mobile phones tend not to be… …the expensive, very powerful ones They have limited amounts of storage This is prompting big tech companies… …to change the way their products work They’re having to understand these new behaviours They’re having to fundamentally rethink… …how they supply their services For much of the world that is now coming online… …text is not the natural way to interact It’s smaller apps that can do more… …and that can be used with voice or video rather than text Many tech giants have already begun… …to establish themselves in emerging markets Facebook has over 1.5bn users in developing countries… …and the YouTube channel with the most subscribers… …is a Bollywood studio and record label Creating large user bases is one thing… …making money from them is another The prevailing assumption around making money on the internet… …until this point has been a largely… …American assumption of advertising 99% of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising… …as does 85% of Google’s But many people in the developing world are poor So users don’t have the same value to advertisers Take Facebook’s last quarter of 2018 They make 12 times as much money per user… …in North America than they do in Asia And overall annual revenue from the developing world is much lower too Google for instance, about 46%… …of their revenues comes from the US alone… …and only about 15% from Asia That 15% includes rich countries like Australia and Japan Take those away and the revenue from Asia would be even lower If the traditional advertising model isn’t going to work… …tech companies will have to think outside the box What people will pay for is the opportunity to express themselves Until the advent of smartphones really, a big money-spinner… …for Indian mobile networks was something called… …a caller-ringback tone I would pick a song that I like very much… …and if you were calling me you would hear it… …and I pay a monthly fee for that to happen Now think about exactly what this is I am paying money… …for a song I will never listen to, only so that… …my friends who are calling me can hear it… …because I want to express myself So it’ll be lots of novel ideas like that… …for very, very small amounts of money but we’re talking about… …lots and lots of people doing these things One thing is for sure… …the internet’s second revolution will change people’s lives for the better The ability of people around the world to… …have a good time is becoming a little bit more equal And that, while hard to pin down in economic data… …is a net benefit to just the general well-being of humankind… …which can be very easy to understate or to ignore… …especially if you’re used to those things but has a really meaningful impact

100 Replies to “The internet’s second revolution | The Economist”

  1. The Universe of Tranquility says:

    There is far more harm caused by duffers living in the 'rich' world through the internet, than people whose lives have been radically changed by the internet who use it far more responsibly.

  2. Anurag Sharma says:

    The world is changing its shape around/according to India.

  3. Te Taonga Kororā says:

    So this entire video was made without discussing Myanmar and how internet expansion sparked a genocide?

  4. sai742 says:

    Did that stupid bitch just said that Australia is in Asia ?

  5. sai742 says:

    At least the could have googled Asia before making this video

  6. Tre C says:

    They’re still using shitty phones and just got the internet while here in America we fight over apple or android being better. We also consider people with a 650 dollar iPhone 6 to be poor just because it’s older.

  7. M A says:

    T-series ain't nothin' but a B lasagna

  8. beyondtheclouds95 says:

    jeez whats up with all these pessimistic people.. get off the internet if you think it's so evil

  9. Blop741 says:

    How to economicli justyfy giving this people phones to track them colect theyr data to know them and control them.

  10. Ana Romano says:

    This music playing when someone calls you is a VERY OLD thing. I had it in my giant cellphone like 10 years ago.

  11. Katarína Deáková says:

    What about China? They have their own social media platforms…

  12. Nametayi谨言慎行 says:

    I am so fasinated by India. I want to visit this country

  13. Abhishek says:

    2:44 : This sleazy item number is the best representation you could find of Bollywood music studio channel, T-Series … right ?
    Bravo blatanty-biased British 'The Economist' ….. Bravo 👏👏👏
    BBC showed its true colors abundantly… looks like you're no different 👎

  14. Carlos Rafael says:

    caller ring back tone is a new phenomenon in India? in here, (Malaysia), this called 'caller ringtones' has been introduced since 13-15y ago..

  15. Krishnan Unni Madathil says:

    It's a brave new world. And what is becoming clear, is that there's money to be made by making people feel happy and valued, rather than making them burn with envy. The difference from the past is when the focus then was on hoarding wealth, the new understanding is that wealth increases when happiness is shared and increased. It has changed the way people look at opportunity. Greater opportunities for information propagation and learning, all feeding off of an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and curiosity.

  16. Anupam Shah says:

    Blockchain everything

  17. Madison C. Flores says:

    "…turns for the better."

    That's where you're wrong, buddy.

  18. pepsi light says:

    Poison if not used properly

  19. 2000000 33 says:

    So, how to steal from the poor using the internet…

  20. The Church History Channel says:

    Only half? Where's this other half? I might move there.

  21. mrigendra kumar prajapati says:

    Caller tune is nowhere related to internet btw… Useless example to explain internet revolution in developing countries… Specially like India.

  22. Aung Thu Hein says:

    I realize that there was no bad intentions whatsoever here but I'm sure those business dudes getting snacks on the road at 3:16 will have something to say about this LOL

  23. billy joe ness says:

    Dont ever bother me again neither come close, unless you want me to use the bullets there is is with your name on it Rothchild

  24. abhinandan sharma says:

    I mean there British Propaganda and imperialism are rubbish and garbage. For them everything(except themselves) is cheap and low class

  25. Shreyank Patel says:

    Are people still playing Pokemon Go?

  26. Giant Asparagus says:



  27. sivan ferna says:

    imagine if america kept the internet for itself lol

  28. sivan ferna says:

    Bollywood ew

  29. Dylan A. Kent says:

    Interesting info but you would think that the Economist could afford to give this guy a microphone. I'm sure you paid a tech to produce this video and they should be able to equalize the volume especially when you have a guy with a low range voice, speaking quickly with an accent. I want the information without having to strain to get every word.

  30. ChindiChitranna says:

    how to make large amount of views. – Talk about just 1 country- INDIA . "lol THE ECONOMIST" trying to get 90% views from India most of the time

  31. Jose Kerala says:

    The Economist… their only intention is to create content to show the developing world in a negative way. Fuk the Economist! Fuk them all.

  32. Az4212 knowledge thirsty says:

    The language barrier is no problem, because large languages are very popular online like hindi or arabic

    Also the other differences will vanish as the population enriches

  33. Adam Rizky says:

    Most of those things happening on India also happens in Indonesia.

  34. Rohith AP says:

    India is going through a structural economic slowdown and recession in near future. One reason that noone talks is the influence of so called cheap data hookers like jio causing massive slump in productivity.

  35. Randy Sidhu says:

    Liked the video until they stated that "it will be a good thing and make people's lives better"; that's a bold claim. We know that more information can result in anxiety disorders and depression.

    I would suspect that mental health issues will become much more prevalent in the undereducated when they are presented with a flood of information, status symbols and good looking people.

    Such issues might result in the rise of more authoritarian figures or tech companies imposing their will on unsuspecting populations. Rich industrialized countries are seeing increasing sucide rates, drug addiction and demagoguery; the video completely misses the downside and that's poor journalism.

  36. jojoinhere says:

    funny how you include China when it comes to the low revenue of facebook and youtube.
    but always exclude China when talking about the "benefit" of facebook and youtube

  37. keecefly says:

    Thank you much Al Gore for inventing the internet! 😶

  38. Nipun says:

    This should have been longer

  39. jazzywuzzy doubunhgu says:

    The unqualified and uniformed appear to be on the verge of taking over public discourse in this country.

    In most places, passion and conviction have supplanted expertise and thoughtfulness.

    By giving everyone the opportunity to huddle together with a seemingly innumerable number of like-minded confidantes, the internet has given each one of us an undeserved confidence to publicly express ourselves in an easily accessible forum perfectly suited for the immediate expression of nearly every pulse of electrical energy which happens to pass across our brains no matter how poorly disguised as a coherent thought.

    Shallow, if not patently irrational, opinions based on bad reasoning and sometimes no reasoning at all appear to be more prevalent than ever.

    Confidence can be a very good thing when born from success but can also be dangerous when born from a confirmation bias which emboldens everyone including, and perhaps especially, the confused, the ill-informed, and the deceitful.

    In years past, people knew when they were unqualified to speak their minds in public. Lack of confidence was a good thing, it told them something, it created humility, and it prevented a lot of nonsensical ideas from escaping the darkness of a confused mind.

    I think we all need to be more intellectually inhibited. We need to be more suspicious of some, maybe most, of our own opinions, and nearly all of the opinions expressed by everyone else, especially anyone described as a news commentator. The world is a much more complicated place than we have allowed ourselves to be lead to believe.

    And none of us are as smart as we think we are, despite the many ways that the internet goes about falsely certifying all of us as experts authorized to confidently espouse ideas and fearlessly debate issues with various stangers we have never met in connection with numerous topics most of us know absolutely nothing about.

  40. mtruo001 says:

    Audio is unprofessionally post productoned

  41. billy joe ness says:


  42. billy joe ness says:

    Better not be you

  43. Nishith Joshi says:

    I swear, western media is obsessed with old stock photos and videos of India, they don't even update their knowledge about our country.

  44. Anand Johnson K says:

    That caller ringtone thing was a predatory scheme that the telecoms use on the users by sending flash notifications that users didn't understand and if the user clicked okay it would subscribe them to that crap. I had to explain this to so many relatives and colleagues. They didn't know they were being scammed.

  45. Raj kumar Surana says:

    disappointing, content not enough

  46. FleetingClouds says:

    So … I should start learning hindi ?

  47. TheAwillz says:

    They will all get bad posture

  48. OT A says:

    This is just a Data race btw!

  49. Hoe ForSeok says:

    "An extremely large amount of pornography" I feel attacked

  50. Hoe ForSeok says:

    I feel like there should be some sort of course to complete before being allowed on the internet.
    There's so much misinformation on the net and people need to learn to navigate that. Yes, to some it comes automatically but to most, not really

  51. Nric Hter says:

    20 sec advertisement? Seriously???!

  52. Scrambled Greg says:

    Fakes news in developing countries is going to cripple them. Right now in South Africa for instance videos of violence from years ago is being circulated as current events. The result is rising tensions, rioting and violence. With deepfakes its only going to get worse.

  53. MrJfunk187 says:

    The real question is how the economist… A once respected, well researched and objective publication, turned into a lefty, piss weak globalist pig , similar to a roll of toilet paper… Having said that I have no problem with this segment…. Just what the economist has recently become

  54. CHEEJOEKAY says:

    It will definitely change things for the better, but what about the spread of fake news?

  55. Socratease 1 says:

    Good stuff. The 2nd half of the internet is under estimated and under valued.


  56. CleverCat says:

    Was in India a few weeks ago. Even people relatively poor by Indian standards had phones.

  57. fruitsnveggies says:

    A good point in the example of caller tunes, that solutions unique to the market based on actual behaviour of people need to be explored. Another thing that people are willing to pay for in India is educational content, which helps them improve their income/job prospects. Also, the editor of the video seems to be in love with Saki Saki remix 🤐

  58. Christian Houston-Floyd says:

    Wow great video – until they stated it will have an unquestionably positive impact.

    Uh, lots of questions about that

  59. Mizuki Hagimoto says:

    Aside from the content of the video, the thumbnail is so adorable.

  60. Man Bear Pig says:

    Typo: Not University Central Los Angeles – it's University of California Los Angeles

  61. Charles Yeo says:

    Once, I told an Indian; that the growing population of first time internet users in Indians are using their smartphone as the primary means to access the internet. The guy got offended. Ultranationalist much? This shows how much the income gap is, to him, even as an local indian, he can't imagine that other indians don't know how to read english or have access to desktops and laptops. He took it negatively that they are using smartphones to get online

  62. Charles Yeo says:

    In Myanmar, the popular perception is that facebook is the internet. That's how much the smartphone is the only access to their world. facebook is the internet, messenger is a function of the internet. Google search and other google services like gmail and such are unpopular and practically non existent to them. This is a huge problem for fake news and misinformation because they are essentially stuck in their own echo chamber and no one, not even facebook is monitoring them.

  63. Charles Yeo says:

    This is why Asia is the main market for f2p and microtransaction business model. People can't afford fancy shit so they spend all their money on mobile games where they charge less than a dollar per transaction.

  64. Anushikha Mehta says:

    Very informative. Can you make a vid on the slowdown of the Indian economy? Its causes and possible ways to improve the growth rate.

  65. Nintendo j says:

    Biggest joke
    India is poor

    If that's true

    USA is secular

  66. Dr Sayyid says:

    So now more Indians will be able to express themselves and their desires on the internet? Sounds scary 😉

  67. Ower_patterns James says:

    The internet change my life so I can scam men online

  68. Aurobindo Ghosh says:

    this is why ai is not ai you think it can be

  69. Tristan Möller says:

    I’d like more precision in your statistics please. The ideas these videos convey are great and novel, at least to me. But the statistics need to be more precise to prove your point. None of this “Australia and Japan in this graphic, it would be even lower” – Well, give me the graphic without Australia and Japan then

    Great work overall, thanks

  70. S Srinath says:

    This organization only cares about monetary value that internet generates, for large corporations. JIO alone is a massive contributor to so much misinformation.

  71. Jasc Random says:

    There are so many ways that Caller-ringback tone can go wrong. I know many people who would use it to mess with other people.

  72. Hans Kloss says:

    Interesting podcast from TE this time not even controversial or misleading.

    I find it interesting that PRBT is so popular in some markets – never heard that used anyway in the broadly considered West.

  73. Onepiece barca says:

    So we should adapt internet for people who can not read and write and Not attack illiteracy…?

  74. Joyce Fan says:

    The reason the revenue in Asia is very low is that both Facebook and Google are blocked in China, leaving American tech giants only Japan, Australia and a handful of developed countries/regions to collect revenue from.

  75. Climate Satyagraha : The Power of Truth says:

    Why aren't you talking about the dark side?
    mob justice and mob lynchings, political propaganda, rise of nationalism and religious political parties?

  76. ray kha says:

    As far as I’m concern the first message reaLly set the tone
    Lo in my language (MYANMAR) means want, need, sex, or FUCK!
    Depending on how u say it

  77. Aleena Prasannan says:

    Facebook & YouTube and their fucked up programming is the single biggest threat to humanity. The most scariest danger is the polarization and subsequent reinforcement of narrow point of views. The programing is so hell bent on making you click, that it will actively keep you away from counter arguments. Hence, the rise so many anti- vaxxers and flat Earth believers. The increasing Polarization in every part of the world is the dirt result of this dumbing down

  78. Australian Mate says:

    Internet's second revolution : TIKTOK shit, appears

  79. nags online says:

    The fun has not yet begun. Wait until India gets it own global porn production company 😛

  80. Übermensch says:

    An unprecedented surge of bobs and vaganas.

  81. Sheru Khan says:

    In india it only gave rise to fake news and feeling of entitled even among illiterate and they rule now.

  82. cian keane says:

    a lot more emails from Nigerian princes

  83. BlacKNyT says:

    I now feel so poor and unworthy to use internet. But at the same time less productive and more useless by its use. So may be all the so called poor countries should quit internet and the tech giants should make their entire revenu from the so called rich countries. We may then spend rest of our life productively and use it for the betterment of environment.

  84. Francois Fourie says:

    An unprecedented surge in toxic individuals.

  85. R M says:

    Have a good time? Lol, think bigger

  86. Rahul R says:

    How can Australia Be In Asia??

  87. tedy_bu kawaii says:

    Indians——>Bob and vagana

  88. one two says:

    In Indonesia the telecoms company have been sending me non-stop promotions since I bought a Sim card. My data also stopped working after a week. Not sure if it was the shopkeeper or the telecoms company who scammed me there.

  89. Hasan islam says:

    Thanks to jio we have cringe Indian tiktok

  90. Jae Oppa says:

    Happy for India

  91. john barron says:

    You know India people care more the money then their health and the environment

  92. Shrikantiah TDR says:

    Well it makes it easier for political parties such as the BJP to spread their fucking propoganda.

  93. Ariadlus Daedaladne Enigmus Proximo says:

    *Plans to make money from caller tones…

    JioSaavn : Not anymore, you won't!

  94. hard rock says:

    India's broadband rates were lower from start. It's just that their reach wasn't as far spread as telecom companies.
    After internet came to India, rise of pseudo science increased, people were blaming everything on a guy who lived 60 years ago and thus started polarization.

  95. Matthias R says:

    are you seriously stating that the ability to send a little ringtone to a friend is going to improve peoples lives?…. and you call this a "revolution"

  96. Manideep Reddy says:

    Internet is really boon for someone who wants to learn things.

  97. 12345 678910 says:

    well i passed two papers certifications from the Indian institute of banking and finance in 2013 at the age of 51.I had been a cashier at a bank and was told by the assistant gen manager that i was unfit to studyseven tears after leaving the bank I was so angry that I answered two papers getting 77 % (distinction) and 60%(first class) i used you tube to help me research the topic .i latersent one of the instructor videos to the manager with the message"this gut is not a Brahman".it s an american jew who taught me online for free.I still sit on the net to learn.However the problem in India is that I have been blocked on Facebook for my views on.internet censorship is fast becoming a reality in India

  98. Saima Baig says:

    BJP IT CELL can be considered as a mamoth employer for professional trolls

  99. Nerdygal5000 says:

    Yo he sound like stewie from family guy😂😂😂😂😂😂

  100. Randhir Borkar रणधिर बोरकर says:


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