Archive for JuxtConsult

Traditional Media 2.0 ?

Posted in India, Internet with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2008 by manuscrypts

Traditional media, and specifically the print media, don’t seem to be too worried about the web being competition. Possibly justified, since, unlike their counterparts in the US, their circulation numbers don’t seem to be dipping. Which is perhaps why, they don’t think much of web 2.0 or the potential it offers to them. For now, they’re satisfied with saying that they are on the web too.

In fact, the TV sites like CNN IBN and even NDTV to a certain extent looked much more closer to what a media site should be, online. Even they have some way to go before they can take on, say a CNN. I recently saw India Today’s site, which shows some promise.

But I’m wondering if the story of traditional media websites and pure web players is a little like the old hare and tortoise story, roles played respectively. Consider this, the JuxtConsult 2008 report says that checking news is the 4th most common activity that Indians indulge in, on the Internet. The same report shows Yahoo as the most preferred site for this purpose, with MoneyControl and CricInfo taking the top spots in Financial News and Cricket news respectively. At a circulation of 31.46 lakhs, why doesn’t TOI find a place there? If we take into account that the Internet in india is still at a nascent stage, don’t the already popular dailies have a good chance of replicating their success on the internet, especially if they start early and already have a good credibility factor in that space?

And this is not restricted to English media. With every online player realising the importance of vernacular, even the regional language players cannot afford to stand and watch. Which perhaps Malayala Manorama has realised, because the last few days saw a flurry of activity in pushing their website as well as their matrimonial site. One could say that the latter is a late entrant, but in both cases, MM is heavily leveraging their strengths in traditional media. This is of course, in addition to the news channel and radio stations. Perfectly poised, I’d say.

Meanwhile, on another and what I would consider a more dangerous front, there are entities like Instablogs, which in addition to a wonderful design, does a superb mix of news and user generated content, including the recently added user-generated-video-news, all of that based out of Simla. Sigh. Not to forget webdunia, which though does not boast of a cool interface like the former, is doing very well on the regional media front.

With the rapid penetration of the mobile, the increasing access of the internet through mobile, and the vernacular factor, I’m wondering if the race in India will buck the regular trends shown globally, and suddenly swing in favor of the new media players, while the hare is caught napping.

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More Web 1.0 please

Posted in India, Internet with tags on June 5, 2008 by manuscrypts

WATBlog has a post today that gives details on the JuxtConsult India online report. Keeping in mind the ET report that I had quoted from yesterday, which stated that the usage of the internet was evenly spread across SEC categories, it is extremely interesting to note that most internet users have Televisions and Mobiles. Hmm, even SEC categories ain’t what they used to be, though that archaic system of classification is exactly that – archaic.

The other interesting point is that around 51% of net users are from the corporate salaried class. Also, quoting from the ET article “The democratisation of the net continues, with higher SECs A and B now accounting for just over 50% of all users, down 6% from last year’s figure of 56%. In contrast, lower SEC C, D and E in urban areas now account for around half of all users. It’s same in rural areas too, with the top two rural SECs R1 and R2 accounting for just 41% with the rest coming in from the bottom-of-the-pyramid consumer in SEC R3, R4 and R5.” Figure that out, so much for even distribution across SECs.

Out of the top 3 uses of the internet, 2 are based on communication. Job search is the only exception. I’ll add one more info from the post before i discuss what I’m getting at. A large number of users have a bank account but only about 1/3rd of those users have a credit card.

While the general complaint is that internet penetration is just not happening, I’m wondering if the net has given enough reason for the average Indian to go online. Before the advent of web 2.0 (whose users, in an Indian context, i consider advanced) the reason for me to get online was convenience – a faster way to communicate, a better way to gather news, and such uses that gave a tangible value add to my life scenario. Web 2.0 is a bit more involved process, whose tangible gains are yet to be correctly worked out. (at least as far as I am concerned)

The average Indian, who relies on India Post and maybe courier companies and now the mobile for communication, on brokers for marriages, on real life friends and relatives for social needs, whose news requirements are adequately met by newspapers, an average Indian who really doesnt need the web. The other entities he interacts with say, a state run bank, a local theatre, book or music store, bus services etc may not be bothered enough to help him take the baby steps on to the internet. IRCTC is perhaps an exception in some respects. To state the obvious, the internet speeds up communication, hence thats the most popular usage. Tangible benefit.  See the drift, thats also why only 1/3rd of the banking population has a credit card. They have no use for it.

And so, we get back to the fact that there has been no ‘killer’ application that would force India to get online. And that perhaps is because most of the production and consumption is restricted to the top of the pyramid. And we adopt the net because it is convenient. I still wouldn’t buy groceries online, or order food online, because to me, there is no reliable and convenient method to do it. (Yes, I know about hungrybangalore) I can imagine the mindset of the lesser priveleged sections of the society. So, I won’t even get into the infrastructure costs here, and at the risk of sounding regressive, all I’ll say is Web 2.0 is cool, but can India have some usable web too?

until next time, imagine a billion net junkies 🙂