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For Twitter, India is the best bet for innovation

During the April-June quarter, Twitter reported revenues of $602 million, but a net loss of $107 million. The 36% revenue rise was its worst ever increase in a quarter, and the eighth straight quarterly decline.

tech Updated: Aug 25, 2016 08:05 IST
Anirban Ghoshal
Twitter

From left: Arvinder Gujral, senior director of business development for APAC and Michael Fisher, global head of business development of Twitter, holds a meeting in a posh hotel in New Delhi’s Aerocity complex.(Twitter)

Micro-blogging site Twitter considers India to be the “best bet for innovation”, and expects experiments in the country to drive growth in other emerging markets.

“India represents itself as a tremendous market for learning as it can help in making Twitter better for consumers and drive growth for the company globally, since India is the fastest-growing smartphone market in the world,” said Michael Fisher, global business development head at Twitter.

And sure enough, the company badly needs a boost.

During the April-June quarter, Twitter reported revenues of $602 million, but a net loss of $107 million. The 36% revenue rise was its worst ever increase in a quarter, and the eighth straight quarterly decline. Demand from advertisers declined, with preferences shifting to other social media companies mainly due to Twitter’s premium pricing, as well as soft demand from big brands that promote products in tweets. What’s more, since July 2015, Twitter added 9 million monthly users, while Facebook’s user-base grew by 164 million.

Read more: Twitter blocks additional 235,000 accounts linked to promoting terrorism

“India has unique opportunities, including slower, unstable cellular networks and under penetrated Internet population. If we can learn how to drive growth in terms of users and business here, then we can use the same in markets in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and South East Asia,” added Arvinder Gujral, business development head, Asia-Pacific, Twitter.

“Videos, especially live videos, are the next generation of content for Twitter,” said Fisher, adding, the site recently came up with a new feature of saving live videos.

Meanwhile, Facebook has already started rolling out live videos in India for iOS and Android users. Apart from saving the video, it allows people to go live for four hours.

Read more: New Twitter feature to filter ‘bad’ tweets

Twitter has a multi-pronged strategy for India — partnerships with mobile carriers, raising ad rates by drawing more users, partnerships with brands for customer service and satisfaction, app development and changing content to video. It has already tied up with RComm, Jet Airways, Kotak Mahindra Bank, ICICI, Practo, ESPN Crick Info and Crick buzz for different customer service initiatives.

“We have started giving out our crashanalytics platform Fabric for free to developers. Nearly 70 out of 100 apps in the Google Play Store use this platform,” added Gujral. “Crashlytics can project a snapshot of the app’s health in real-time, understand what’s important and fix the most prevalent crashes.”