Indian online world, you have companies such as Rediff and Yahoo! which have firmly placed themselves at the helm of the industry. On the other hand, there are companies which are not Internet start-ups, but have strong traditional media backing. Web18 belongs to the latter category. With the support of the TV18 channels, it has combined the best of the traditional with the Internet business.
In a conversation with agencyfaqs!, Surya Mantha, CEO of Web18, says, "As far as the traditional media is concerned, I think you will see a lot of these companies being productive on the Internet because they have learnt their lessons from their peers from the West, where none of the new ideas came from the established companies. You take an eBay, Amazon, Google, Yahoo or AOL - they all came from nowhere." He adds that Web18, the Internet and mobile form a core part of Network18's strategy.
Mantha explains how there is a two-way synergy between the traditional and digital part of the business. "As a media company, we are in the business of building audiences, and we know that audiences are going to consume content or services across multiple platforms." He offers the example of how the TV channel, CNN-IBN, and its website worked together as television can showcase only so much content, while the Internet has great archival value.
While Web18 is present in most online categories such as finance (moneycontrol.com), travel (yatra.com) and jobs (jobstreet.com), Mantha sees potential also in the areas of online gaming and education, provided one knows how to monetise them.
Mantha explains that Web18 follows a three-pronged business model: display advertising, transactions or e-commerce, and paid subscription. The company also has a parallel mobile strategy wherein most of the online content is available on mobile. In fact, Web18 is launching a stocks application on mobile called Markets on Mobile, which will be similar to moneycontrol.com on the Internet. A mobile ticketing application is also in the works for its movie ticket booking portal, Bookmyshow.com
Read the full interview here.