Rajiv Dingra, head of a web advertising consultancy, warns that web advertisers had better not underestimate the web consumer who can react unlike a TV viewer
The web has emerged as a strong media platform. Today, it is even developing into a major e-commerce channel. In an interview with Moneylife, Rajiv Dingra, CEO and chief blogger of WATBlog, discussed the prospects of the web medium, the advertising opportunities for small companies, and the important aspects of censorship and piracy that the business must be careful about.
Moneylife (ML): There are many who argue that India’s internet penetration is low and that the scope for web advertising is limited.
Rajiv Dingra (RD): This is a wrong perception. In sheer numbers, India boasts of the fourth largest population of internet users in the world. Of course, anything in relation to our huge population will look small, but the size of spectators we are talking about is substantial. We are looking at the age group of 25-40 years, most of whom spend an average eight hours online in the office and at least two hours at home. This is a big group to address.
ML: What kind of opportunity do you see in web advertising? Would you give a projection in terms of revenues?
RD: The scope is huge. India is not lagging much behind the West in this aspect, especially the US. E-commerce and e-banking have been successfully adapted in India. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has reported that India is doing extremely well on the online front, and I would say that the web advertising sector will grow by at least four to five times in the next three to five years. It will be unfair to compare the figures to print or television advertising though, because they have been here for years.
ML: How do you see the mobile boom contributing to this?
RD: Internet penetration is leveraging the mobile boom in a major way. Almost everyone now has a mobile phone and most of these phones are used for internet surfing, bill payment and banking. Opera Mobile browser reports a 300% y-o-y growth. That should say something.
ML: Do you spot any emerging trends? And which industries do you see contributing the most to this growth?
RD: Well, India has a strong vernacular audience and we are seeing many local/regional companies using the web as their preferred medium. And this is becoming more prominent in rural areas, which is a promising thing. With respect to the industry type, media & entertainment, FMCG, finance and consumer electronics will contribute to the rush. Manufacturing industries and sectors like pharmaceuticals, however, will have limited scope in this regard.
ML: For whom, do you think, will web advertising be the most-preferred medium?
RD: If you are a small company that has a turnover of around Rs100 crore, web is the best medium for you. The reason is affordability. Television advertising rates have shot through the roof; none of the small companies can pay that kind of money. Television advertising suffers because the platform is highly fragmented, and the attention of the viewer is a minimum. However, web advertising is much cheaper than placing an ad in a newspaper or on television. And if the visitor is a regular to a website, or a particular page where you place your ad, you get enough publicity. Social media, in this aspect, has proved to be very beneficial for these companies.
ML: Let’s talk about web content in the context of the media sector’s contribution to web advertising. How can you convince people to pay for web content, when they consider anything available on the internet to be free?
RD: One has to admit that internet is, by and large, a free medium. That is why it is growing by leaps and bounds. Why do people prefer to download songs and movies instead of paying? Because they will go for what is cheap. If you have some attractive, exclusive content which requires subscription, go for it, but your viewership will come down. You can only hope that people will be willing to pay to support you.
ML: What becomes of piracy then?
RD: The media industry has to accept the fact that piracy will continue, no matter what. And it has always happened. There is simply no way to stop it. The industry must embrace the new medium, sensitise its consumers and think of alternative strategies.
ML: Are there regulations on web advertising content?
RD: Of course, the norms against offensive content do apply to the internet. However, internet being a very open medium, there are many chances of circumventing the law.
ML: What about the new web censorship law that is being discussed in New Delhi?
RD: I have heard of it. But like all other laws it will not be implemented. Censorship is something which cannot work for the net, it is impossible. And when people flout rules en-masse, who would you arrest? Who will keep a watch? The idea is a joke.
ML: So basically, a web advertiser can afford to go overboard?
RD: Not exactly. Web being an interactive, youth-oriented medium, you cannot be too pushy, like in television. If some company goes salesman-style with its product on the web and nags visitors, he is bound to take a hit. The scope for feedback is enormous, and he will be criticised severely in public forums and via word-to-mouth channels. A web advertiser must not underestimate the consumer.
Aviation ministry officials are also optimistic that the deadlock would end soon. After parleys with joint secretary Prashant Shukul, the pilots also met aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi for the first time since the talks began on Wednesday
Mumbai: With two rounds of talks between the striking pilots and the government failing to end the deadlock, both sides have agreed to meet again today, even as the domestic operations of the national carrier Air India (AI) remained crippled for the tenth consecutive day, reports PTI.
With the strike still on, the airline has grounded up to 90% of its operations and has been operating around 30 flights a day besides some charter flights from Kingfisher and Air Arabia.
Yesterday, the airline operated 18 charter flights, 16 domestic and two international using aircraft borrowed from Kingfisher and Air Arabia, a company spokesperson, adding it may continue to do so today as well.
The civil aviation ministry yesterday held talks with the agitating pilots to find a way to break the ice following the strike, for the second time. The talks, however, were inconclusive.
Aviation ministry officials are also optimistic that the deadlock would end soon. After parleys with joint secretary Prashant Shukul, the pilots also met aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi for the first time since the talks began on Wednesday.
The striking pilots are demanding that all sackings, suspensions and transfers effected during the strike period be revoked, ICPA’s recognition be restored, contempt of court petition filed by AI management be withdrawn, a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the alleged corruption and mismanagement be ordered and all other issues be tackled in a time-bound manner.
Air India has sacked seven pilots and suspended six and the management has decided not to process the April salaries of the agitators “till further instructions”.
The Delhi High Court had on Tuesday slapped contempt notices on nine office bearers of the de-recognised ICPA for disobeying its order to call off the strike.
Shares of Muthoot Finance debuted at Rs196.60 a piece, up 12.34% from their issue price on the NSE
Muthoot Finance, a non-banking financial company, engaged in the gold loan business, made a strong debut on the National Stock Exchange on Friday, opening with a premium of over 12% vis-a-vis its issue price of Rs175.
Shares of the company debuted at Rs196.60 a piece, up 12.34% from their issue price on the NSE. Within minutes of the trade, the scrip saw some profit booking and was trading at Rs177.15.
On the Bombay Stock Exchange, the scrip debuted at Rs180 a piece over the issue price, reflecting a jump of 2.85%.
In terms of volume, over two crore shares of the company changed hands on the bourses within the first hour of trade. Muthoot Finance had entered the capital market with a price band of Rs160-Rs175 a share under its initial public offer (IPO) of 5.15 crore equity shares.
The company raised Rs901.25 crore through the issue of 5.15-crore equity shares, which will be mainly used to augment its capital base for meeting future capital needs, funding of loans and for general corporate purposes.