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Warming the online ad market

It is high time the online giants joined hands to increase the industry pie rather than fight, writes Puneet Mehrotra.

business Updated: Dec 31, 2005 10:46 IST
CYBERDUDE | Puneet Mehrotra
CYBERDUDE | Puneet Mehrotra

Time for shock and awe, more shock and a few statistics.

What do you think is the number of advertisers in the Online Media?
-more than 1000,
-around 10,000,
-around 5000,
-less than 100

Well the answer is the last one. Yes it's true. The Great Indian Online market comprising of the mightiest of mighty players of the virtual world and no. of advertisers is just 80! Wait there is more to come.

3,85,00,000 is the size of online audience in India. In other words, it translates into 5.2 times the readership of the leading English daily. Or 2.8 times the combined readership of leading 3 newspapers in India. Or 3 times the combined readership of India's leading 5 English magazines. Ok now a look at the revenue share.

CategoryRevenues (USD mn)% Shares
Print                     998       46%
Television                     890       41%
Radio                       41         2%
Cinema                       69         3%
Outdoor                      156         7%
Internet                        25         1%
Total                     2,179       100%

Such a mighty audience and such paltry revenue and just 80 advertisers. Laughable but true. Whatever happened to Logic, Value, ROI and Deliverables?

Isn't it high time the online giants joined hands to increase the industry pie rather than fight for what is not even peanuts?

The Microsoft Move

Ah! So finally Microsoft has made its move. No, I am not talking about the triangular Microsoft versus Google versus Yahoo war this time. No new missile has been fired. In fact, this time it isn't about any war at all. This time it's about sharing, about strategic partnerships, about moving ahead and it's about online advertising in India. MSN India has entered into a strategic partnership with NDTV Media.

Joining Forces

Yesterday MSN India and NDTV Media announced a strategic partnership. NDTV Media will now represent MSN India to clients and advertisers across the country. It will offer advertisers an opportunity to advertise on MSN properties. MSN, on the other hand, offers for the first time in India something called Desktop TV. Located onMSN homepage, Desktop TV would stream real-time television on to computer screens. MSN claims Desktop TV would change the way advertising is done on the Internet and it also plans to move to time-slot base advertising away from the traditional cpc, cpm models.

The MSN-NDTV initiative deserves kudos precisely for this reason. The synergy between them will lead to a growth in the Indian Online Advertising Industry.

Desktop TV- a desi super hit

What certainly deserves kudos is that this is by far one of the few initiatives taken by any major online giant. Playing the devils advocate, yes MSN is moving away from deliverables and accountability to a time based model. True. But in such a nascent stage is the Indian online advertising market prepared for measurables? Or even better how many agencies have people capable enough to understand, leave alone promoting, the online media? Desktop TV may not be the right application for a market like US. But for India it a highly localized move and a good innovation.

From 80 to 800 - a graph worth measuring

NDTV Media has 800 advertisers. The total no. of online advertisers is 80. How far will the NDTV-MSN initiative take the no. of online advertisers? Only time will tell. Growing the online advertising is the need of the hour especially with its kind of reach. Growth requires associations and partnerships. Let's hope this association would lead to more partnerships to increase the online advertising pie.

Mehrotra is a web strategist atwww.Cyberzest.comand editswww.MidnightEdition.comyou can email him on

First Published: Dec 28, 2005 17:34 IST