India Business wrapup: HT to acquire social networking site, mobile ads will overtake Internet ads..and more..

HT Media to acquire a social networking site?
HT Media is “in the process of acquiring” a site in the social networking space, as per an earnings release (pdf) from the company.

Though they haven’t named the co., my guess is probably Yaari/or Jhoom.in. What’s your take?

Mobile ads to overtake internet advertising
Mobile advertising is emerging as the biggest competitor to internet 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.

  • Internet advertising, which contributes 1.8 per cent of the country’s total advertising spend, stands at $75 million (around Rs 300 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 6 crore).
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.

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.

My opinion: I don’t think that’s going to happen. Mobile advertising will compliment the online advertising (just the way Internet sites advertise a lot on TV). Nice FUD by mobile advertisers.

eBay India opens up site to online advertisers
eBay India, one of the leading e-commerce sites in India, has opened up its website to graphical ads from advertisers. The online auction and shopping site is based on a commission model for products sold on the site, but attracts 2.5 million unique visitors and 30 million page views per month. Through display advertising and sponsorships, eBay India is opening up a whole new revenue stream.

In addition, eBay is launching online coupons that can redeemed on the site.

Google boosts venture capital exposure
Google has invested in the early stage venture capital fund, Ventureast TeNet Fund II, a seed-stage fund run by the Tenet Group of IIT, Madras, and Ventureast Fund Advisors.
Google has also joined the Indian Angel Network (earlier Band of Angels).

BIG Digital Plans To Offer Mobile Content, Voice Portal In Three Months
Reliance ADA Group company BIG Digital plans to offer music content on VAS, and set up an Interactive Voice Response System within the next three months.

Mobile payment firm Paymate gets into SMS marketing
PayMate will now enable travellers to search for travel related information and book their tickets via online travel agencies, all via their mobile phones. The company will monetise the search and booking service by sending SMS based text ads, which will initially be a promotional message from online travel agencies. The SMS ad will follow after a confirmation message or an SMS itinerary with details about the customers’ flight bookings. The service is available free to travellers and is compatible with all operators.

PayMate has already tied up with travel portal Travelguru.com for ads and is in talks with other travel portals for their mobile advertising. The company also plans to extend its search, booking and payment services to other areas such as paying utility bills, shopping and buying movie tickets.

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