Internet search leader Google Inc., which derives more than 95 percent of its revenue from online advertising, is betting on five segments to expand its India business.
The company, according to India managing director Rajan Anandan, wants to increase its YouTube and mobile Internet users while simultaneously sharpening its focus on social media, cloud computing and solutions for small- and medium-size businesses (SMBs) and enterprises.
"India is a very strategic country for Google. India ended 2011 with 120 million Internet users. By 2014, the country will have 300 million users, and will surpass the US (currently estimated to have around 250 million users). With most of our products like search, email, YouTube, maps and browser (Chrome) being successful in their respective segments, we are well equipped to take advantage of the rise in Internet users," said Anandan.
To begin with, Google, according to Anandan, is in the process of building YouTube as a go-to destination for entertainment--be it music, sports, television, cricket or movies. "On a daily basis, six million Indians access online video. You may recall that even the Indian Premier League was streamed live on YouTube," said Anandan, who pegs YouTube India users at 31 million.
"User-generated content is increasing. To ensure that more people access YouTube, we are working with telecom carriers to distribute content. We are also trying to increase our content footprint. Today, we have 500,000 full-length movies on YouTube," he said.
"YouTube is, without doubt, among the largest TV channels in India," concurred Mahesh Murthy, founder of digital marketing firm Pinstorm, adding that the online video site has eight million logged-in devices viewing it daily in India. "That's a GRP (gross rating point) or TV rating of 7 every day, day after day. No TV channel in recent times--including Star Plus and Colors--has come anywhere near delivering these numbers with such consistency. And it's doubtful if any TV channel ever will. Of course, YouTube by itself isn't yet making the big bucks, but just give it time."
David Twigg of Online Marketing Consultants Pty Ltd, in a 21 May release, emphasized that "online video is now becoming a fundamental communication tool for businesses, whether it be a simple way of distributing news or as a sales tool".
"Face to camera has been shown to get more views than leveraging slide presentations like PowerPoint or Keynote," he said.
Another innovation, Anandan explained, is around TrueView (where the user has the option of rejecting the ad within the first five seconds). "If a large number of consumers do that, then Google will not display the ad," he added.
But Murthy said, "It's too early to talk of the impact of TrueView."
Mobility is the second growth driver for Google India, with the focus on Android (Google's operating system for mobile phones). Globally, it hits 900,000 activations per day, according to Andy Rubin, the founder and head of Android, the mobile software division. He gave the figure in a tweet to scotch rumours that he was planning to quit Google.
"We have done well in India too," said Anandan, but did not give any numbers. Of the 120 million Internet users in India, around 20 million are mobile-only Internet users, and around 10 million of these access the Internet only through smartphones, pointed out Anandan, adding, "Hence, we need lower-cost devices, and the magic point is around '4,000."
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