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Mobile ads to overtake internet advertising

Rajesh S Kurup  |  Mumbai 

Though in its infancy in India, mobile advertising is emerging as the biggest competitor to internet advertising. It might even cannibalise mobile advertising, states a new study by global analysis firm Thomas Weisel International.
India's online advertising is expected to reach an inflection point by 2009-end "" a time when mobile advertising is predicted to grow at a scorching pace.
The convenience and ubiquitous nature of a mobile phone "" known as the third screen after the TV and computer "" is driving its growth in the country. Customised advertisement will drive growth of this segment.
The personalisation of an advertisement (eg. a mobile user can be accessed depending on his monthly bills) will enable advertisers to send him the right content.
Internet advertising, which contributes 1.8 per cent of the country's total advertising spend, stands at $75 million (around Rs 30 crore). It is slated to rise by 3.1 per cent in the financial year 2008-09 and by 7.1 per cent in the financial year 2010-11.
The current online mobile advertising market in India, on the other hand, is estimated to be just $1.5 million (around Rs 0.6 crore). It includes broadcast SMS, brand jingles as caller ringback tones (CRBT), product placements in mobile phone games and banner advertisements on Internet-accessed through mobile phones.
However, while the country is adding around 7.5 million (both CDMA and GSM) mobiles per month, taking the total number to 208 million, Internet users in India stand at just around 35-40 million. Since the industry is in its infancy, growth numbers are hard to come by.
BPL Mobile CEO S Subramanian says: "Mobile advertising , with its reach and relevance is attracting advertisements. It will become the best option in the next six months. A mobile advertiser will offer freebies such as free airtime or discounts on shopping - to the user for viewing, say four minutes of, an advertisement clip. This will also help a provider tide over the don't call regime, he said.
Meridian Mobile (a part of the UK-based Meridian group and manufacturers of Fly range of handsets) Chief Executive Officer, Rajiv Khanna, said: "The cellular growth in India is faster than that of personal computer penetration and this will result in huge opportunities for advertisers. The emergence of high-end handsets and portable devices would also result in advertisements moving away from the internet".
However, there are experts who differ. For example Gartner senior research analyst Madhusudan Gupta and Yahoo! India Senior Director (mobile products) Manish Dalal are of opinion that mobile advertising will compliment online advertising and vice-versa.


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First Published: Mon, October 29 2007. 00:00 IST
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