IAMAI's Indian digital Summit 2012: Day 1 at a glance!

In chilling cold weather condition, IAMAI's '6th India Digital Summit' kick-starts in the capital with some really hot topics of discussion. This year India has crossed the historical threshold of 100 million internet users recording a brisk 24 per cent growth. The strategic and policy announcements by the government and infrastructure providers suggest that with a little effort India will have 300 million internet users by 2015-16 and 600 million internet users by 2020 making it the biggest open internet access market in the world.

In the very first Session; "Digital Media: The Big Picture!" panelists discussed about where we have been, where we are now and where we need to go in the future. It is a matter of fact that growth of connected Indians i.e. 100 million Internet users and over 800 million mobile users have lead to questions instead of answers for advertising experts. The questions like can brands look at building brands beyond borders on Digital media platform are floating in the minds of advertisers and marketers today. The session also intensified the fact that a change in mindset is required from Marketers, Agencies or online publishers for building brands on digital platform. It also highlighted how to engage with people on mobile.

Rajan Anandan, Managing Director, Google India says, "This year you tube will be bigger than anything in terms of revenue. The growth is unbelievable. There is no better media than internet if you need to engage with the audience. This is going to be the year for online video. The users will increase at a larger space. I hope that we all have a free and open internet usage."

Mariam Mathew, Chief Operating Officer, Manorama Online says, "Unfortunately advertisers have not fully realized the worth of this medium. Internet involvement should be a premier product rather than being a discounted product." According to her Social media is like a marketer's dream.

Upen Rai, Director, Times Internet says, "The brands and consumers both would benefit. Video would be a way forward. India is adding Internet users at the rate of almost 5-7 million a month to its kitty and is seeing phenomenal growth."

Natesh Mani, President, Commercial & Consumer Business, Sify believes that number of internet users would go up this year. Going forward there will hardly be any brands without social media strategies integrated within. He says, "Social media, allows you to engage with the consumers much more as compared to an offline medium. We should offer solutions like transaction based ads, local search based ads etc for popularizing mobile advertising."

The leadership session discussed the issues related to broadband services and Broadband for Masses.

Ajit Balakrishnan, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Rediff.com says, "If we look back Internet has grown from nothing to something. When we talk about broadband we should know that we just don't talk about one phase, high pricing and the problem of perception are also discussed. The broadband model needs to be treated differently from the mobile model in terms of ROI and today a small westernized group of around 10 million people is creating all the dialogue and everyone else is listening."

He says, "We have seen tremendous growth in terms of mobile usage. The government has played a very pro active role in driving this mobile penetration growth. Triggers would be when we shifted from free licensing fees, NTP 1999 behaved like a launch pad for mobile industry, then came in free incoming calls. If we all remember, "Monsoon Hungama' when reliance launched in; it shook the industry as they give a phone which could be used unlimitedly at just Rs 501; this changed the whole paradigm, then mobile players started entering with lowest prices. Cost of access and cost of device were two issues and as soon as they dropped down the paradigm changed. Strategy is the key of forecasting. Whatever forecast we decided we build our strategy as per that."

Conclusively he said, "At spice our mission is to democratize the mobile internet and to promote and support applications focusing entrepreneurship. We need to think bigger and aim bigger. Let's prepare ourselves for 800 million users. Let's all work towards in a new monsoon hungama. Revolutions happen when barriers fall."

The most interesting and ongoing topic was discussed in Power Pannel 3: Social Entertainment: The merger of content, social media and the video platforms.

Movie, TV viewing and Social media have joined hands today. Movie producers and TV shows are posting tweets and encouraging an immediate social relationship among viewers. In this session panelists brainstormed and tried to find answers to questions like: How is Bollywood partnering with social media sites to boost their own entertainment product, also what is the outlook for social TV in India and also discussed what could be innovative social apps or partnerships between film/ TV and social sites. It also highlighted whether the new services have the most potential to revolutionize viewing behavior.

Neeraj Roy, Managing Director & CEO, Hungama Digital says, "Over the last 3 or 4 yrs the number of the people accessing internet has taken a toll and almost all the devices have internet connectivity and so by 2015 10 billion people will be connected to the internet, and not only through their phones and tablets but through cars, television and other home appliances and one thing that remains constant is a screen. It is also been expected that almost all the internet traffic would be video driven."

Vivek Bhargava, Founder Communicate2 highlighting his point through kolaveri Di which became viral said, "Internet has become a mass medium and video consumption has reached that level of mass medium. A lot of video consumption is happening in a digital form and the only option is that brands have to evolve now with changing times."

Rahul Saighal, CMO, Aircel says, "There is a trio of the most powerful things like social, video and content, coming in and the disruption with these would be huge. Marketers should realize that the era of 30sec TVC is going behind. In the coming years each mobile would become a television. There has been a lot of democratization in terms of content consumption. Digital is a very cost effective medium today and it is a matter of fact that today before the launch of a 30sec TVC the campaign is launched on social media first and the reason behind it is to increase engagement among consumers."

George John, Director Marketing, Warner Bros India says, "The whole era would change in terms of content consumption and content providers. Today we have mediums where in we can actually engage with the audience, making our marketing strategies more attractive. Social media is an interactive activity and one of the best marketing tools."

The Power Panel 4: eCommerce in India: Today and tomorrow discussed how the face of retail changing in India and also what's the right sustainable business model. How is ecommerce helping in building up ecosystem for Small and Medium enterprises and what is the most important factor for success; technology, logistics, or marketing were some of the points which covered in the session. But the question arises will mobile further change the retail landscape?

Muralikrishnan B, Country Manager- India & Philippines, eBay commenting on the ecommerce business in India said, "Get real, build and invest in the fundamentals of the business and then your business will tend to grow."

Sundeep Malhotra, Chief Executive Officer, HomeShop18 says, "We are the only ones who are trying to build both ecommerce channel and ecommerce shopping at the same time. We are at a stage wherein you need to recruit consumers. The businesses are very new these days; so how many consumers you are recruiting and how often consumers are being recruited is the matter of fact. Today it is all about the frequency not the basket size if purchases. Ecommerce and virtual retail in country like India would definitely take a toll because it has maximum consumers, and the most effective real estate."

Binny Bansal, Co-founder & COO, Flipkart.com says, "Things have started and the next few years would be really interesting. India as a market will definitely grow in terms of ecommerce and one should forget about profitability as it is all about market share and the consumer."

Harish Bahl, Founder & Group CEO, the Smile Group says, "The need of the consumer is really simple "we need what you say' so keep that thought in mind. Customer's

With such innovative and effective sessions, the day 1 ended at a positive note enabling the listeners to grasp more and more knowledge in terms of mobile and Internet penetration. I am sure we all are waiting and expecting second day to be more effectual and optimistic; we at Adgully will keep you updated!! | By Aanchal Kohli [aanchal(at)adgully.com]

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