Internet and Mobile Connect

Written by: Neeraj

On Mar 30th, 2007

Got a chance to attend the ‘internet and mobile connect’ in Mumbai — the panel and audience stirred some interesting thoughts and I would like to throw them open to the audience of ileher:

Is the boom in Indian internet space real or just hype?

There was a consensus among the panel that even though internet population in India is rising sharply, the monetization from this traffic has yet to happen to its full potential. So, the boom is growth based but not profitability based.

Why is the reach of main Indian portals – rediff.com, indiatimes.com dropping over last few months? (Reach on Alexa.com)

Alexa’s system of ranking can be debated but given what it does, the reach should not fall.

Rediff Alexa
Will India see new Internet and Mobile services coming from Media houses such as the Times Group / TV18 or standalone players will play a more important role?

The panel’s view was that media houses are in an enviable position to cross sell and up sell their new services to their existing customer base. But at the same time, smaller outfits can be disruptive and a lot faster to hit the market.

Looking at the way some of the successful internet companies such as shaadi.com and naukri.com are setting up offline distribution channels, can we safely say that it is not possible to succeed in Indian internet space by being purely ‘online’?

Will the products and services based on model arbitrage work in India?
Yes and No. To put things in perspective, the panel pointed out that the Match.com model has not quite worked in India. But, matrimonial services such as shaadi.com and Bharatmatrimony are doing well. So, model arbitrage concepts have to be implemented keeping in mind the Indian cultural and demographical nuances.

Overall, a very well conducted session. Kudos to the team at Venture Intelligence for bringing VCs and entrepreneurs together on the same platform.

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Entry Filed under: Venture capital

5 Responses

  1. 1. Javaliram said on April 2nd, 2007 at 7:53 am

    Declining visitors to the major portals like Rediff and Indiatimes!! Does this defy the following fundamentals?
    – Winner takes it all
    – There will be two or three large players in any industry. If not, consolidation will definitely happen?

    If above is correct then it would be counter-intuitive to me. This would imply that top-of-the-mind band recall is really not as important as the value being added by a website. We all have heard that switching-cost is minimal in the online companies. I am happy to see that the portals, which are positioned as one-stop-shop, are facing declining viewer ship, whereas niche portals like Shaadi and Naukri are breaking new records. This is good news for all the budding entrepreneurs!

  2. 2. vijay kurhade said on April 5th, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    On hits to sites like rediff or indiatimes it should be observed for a period as household usage in india of internet goes down in month of jan – mid apr.

    Problem for bad relationship of internet and mobile in india can be attributed to infrastructure and costs.

    But yes Indian consumer still donot trust online modes to fullest and as any marketing research person will tell
    One cannot sell everything on net, many things will still need brick n mortar presence.

  3. 3. Rajesh said on April 11th, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Alexa’s system of generating these graphs appears pretty questionaable. I am not saying so to debunk the central point of this well written post. But I certainly wish to point out that even ‘non-India centric’ portals have adopted Indian content so definitely a reader has more choices. Yahoo is an example and now we have Google news in Hindi too. Likewise in Travel Industry, there exists a variety of choices to consumers in India. Even Travelocity has an Indian portal, which currently does only Hotel bookings though. And of course, the learning from the days of Web 1.0 (if I may use the term to represent the dotcom era) is to have very reliable and robust on the ground operations.In short, businesses must deliver and constantly raise the bar.How much of evolutionary and experiential change do we observe in some of India’s best known portals? My humble views.

  4. 4. Vivek Garg said on April 12th, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    How much of evolutionary and experiential change do we observe in some of India’s best known portals?

    I think this is a great point to ponder. I dont have anything existential to support my answer but I am going to say “not much ” . I will try to dig out more on this.

  5. 5. Pranay Gupta said on June 9th, 2007 at 6:53 am

    I may be repeating what you all already know but never-the-less….

    I don’t think we can say a general statement that offline presence is necessary for an internet business by seeing Shaadi.com. We have to understand that people who still “arrange” marriages do belong to the elder age group which is not very conversant with internet. Hence, a parallel offline model here made much more sense.

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