Digital Summit: The new wave of mobile and social – are we strong enough for it?

19 Jan,2012

By Akash Raha

 

The Sixth India Digital Summit hosted by IAMAI and Ministry of Information & Technology got underway in Delhi on January 18, 2012. The two-day summit will host a wide array of discussions and debates along with award ceremony, commemorating those who have done well in this field.

 

Power Panel 2: Mobile VAS: What’s New?

The post lunch session discussed and deliberated on the topic, ‘Mobile VAS: What’s new?’ The panelists for this session were Mr Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder, Chairman & MD, one97; Jay Seth, President & CEO, Air2Web India – a Velti company and Kunal Bajaj, Partner & Director, Analysys Mason India. Vishwanath aluuri, founder, Chairman & CEO, IMI Mobile was moderating the session.

 

He panel debated how new technologies are coming in the market each day and how it brings newer mediums, newer devices and newer services. Each and every day technological innovations are pushed to new extremities and it gives the consumer a whole lot of options. But are these newer innovations helping the existing businesses to grow or are they hurting it?

 

According to Mr Bajaj, technological innovations are constantly helping the business to grow. However, Mr Sharma was not of the same opinion. He said that currently the platforms are too digital to be efficient and new addition to digital innovations does not necessarily help the existing business to grow.  He gave the example of piracy which is constantly on the rise with the rise of technological innovations.

 

Talking about mobile applications Mr Bajaj said that the future will be that of paid applications and more investment has to be made in the knowledge of how can people be made to pay. Mr Sharma too said that currently there are over 100 million people spending approximately Rs 30/- on mobile apps, which makes future even more heartening.  Mr Seth pointed out that the essence of it all remains in the fact that the end consumer is happy. An application is going to do what it is meant for and it should make a consumer happy,yet from a business perspective a profitable business model has to be made out of it.

 

Power Panel 3: Social Entertainment: the merger of Content, social media and video platform.

In the current times movie, television experience and social media all work hand in hand. Movie producers and TV shows are posting tweets and encouraging an immediate social relationship among viewers. Kicking off the discussion the moderator, Mr Neeraj Roy, Managing director & CEO, Hungama Digital pointed out how in the last 2-3 years all the newer devices that are coming in the market have internet connectivity. According to sources, he explained, by the year 2015 10 billion people will be connected to the internet, and not only through their phones and tablets but through cars, television nd other home appliances. In all of these, one thing remains constant which is a screen. At such a situation, the content provider is threatened as the system is so dynamic and yet is excited and sees the development as an opportunity. In a year and a half India will jump from 3G to 4G and sky will be the limit for content provider, seller and receiver.

 

Vivek  Bhargava, Founder Communicate2 gave the example of Kolaveri di which became viral. It essentially shows the reach of the digital. Internet has become a mass medium and video consumption trends have become as such. The only option is that brands have to evolve now with changing times.

 

Rahul Saighal, CMO, Aircel said “There are three important elements – content, social and video (behind which it there is broadband) and all of these are hugely disruptive force. Sale of internet TV in 2012 was 10 percent of the market share in US… the numbers in 2012 is set to rise at 50 percent. And with growth, the era of mass customization will be reached. He went on to say that the concepts of time has changed too…Time is now internet specific time (IST) rather than Indian Standard Time.

 

George John, Director Marketing, Warner Bros India explained how WB has actually thought about the future and taken steps to provide content anytime and anyplace. 9 O clock is no longer prime time, rather, you can choose for yourself when your prime time is going to be in future. To be specific about social media, it is an interactive activity… The question is, is it possible to make it more interactive and entertaining is what will drive the industry forward.  Mr Saighal said that “The future of content is that you create content for a psychographic and allow the audience to engage and  share the content and make it successful.”

 

Power Panel 4: eCommerce in India: Today and Tomorrow

Online buying habits have recently picked up in India and is growing at a very fast pace. It has taken us from the high street markets to the iStreet markets and has changed the way retail industry and buying in India. A power panel deliberated on this issue and on what is the way forward for the ecommerce business in India.

 

While Harish Bahl, Founder & Group CEO, The Smile Group moderated the session other panel members who participated in the discussions were Muralikrishnan B, Country Manager – India & Philippines, eBay; Sundeep Malhotra, CEO, Homeshop18; Binny Bansal, Co-founder  & COO, Flipkart and Vinay Gupta,Founder & CEO, Via.com.

 

Mr Bansal maded the initial comment and said that one should forget about profitability to start of with as it is all about market share and the consumer. Mr Bahl further added that the ecommerce business has just started in India and we have to start our business thinking about the end customer. Their needs are very simple; we deliver to them what they ask for. Mr Malhotra said that currently we are not strong enough to reach a consolidation and right now we need to engage and build on customers.

 

When asked how to build a lifetime of customers, Mr Malhotra said that “For a lifetime of customers one has to spend a lifetime in a business.” What is important in the current scheme of things is the frequency and not the basket size of the buy. We are too new in the business to even think about profitability and yet, one have to maintain a fine balance in our business to sustain it. Mr Muralikrishnan said that the fundamentals are imp to be built on. One has to build on consumers and engage with them but not through push marketing, but not spam marketing. There is a need for more research and understanding on the customers buying habits which would eventually help the ecommerce business to sustain, be profitable and serve the customers better.

 

The panel members were of the unanimous opinion that ecommerce is a potential big industry in the times to come, and yet, comparison with western markets is unfair as it is still relatively new. The ecommerce industry is going to be the next big thing, considering the rising real estate prices too. The idea, as one of the panelist said, is to make “Malls within shops.”

 

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