INMA 2009: Monetising your content in the digital space

By Sumantha Rathore , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media | August 31, 2009
The session focussed on the opportunities present in the digital ecosystem for publishers

The second day of the third Annual South Asia Conference of INMA concluded with Neville Taraporewalla, India advertiser and publisher, Solution Group, Microsoft, emphasising on the growing need of technology in driving newspapers forward.

Taraporewalla, talking about the opportunities present in the digital ecosystem, said, "User generated content is produced by ordinary people who create media on mobile or Facebook, and these users are the new age publishers."

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Starting the session with the global growth story, Taraporewalla said that the global internet is seeing an upward trend. "It leads us to some simple math, and big opportunities in a hyper competitive market." There has been an average 10-15 per cent user growth, around 20 percent usage growth and 30 per cent monetisation growth in this field.

Citing data sourced from IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India) 2008, TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India), and COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) July 2008, he informed that the active online population is more than 40 million a month. Broadband subscribers form 6.8 million, and mobile penetration, including GSM and CDMA, is around 441 million users.

Though the clear growth drivers are broadband and PC penetration, the additional drivers include mobile, internet and data services. Of this, cybercafés and offices contribute largely to Web access in India.

Moving on to Microsoft Advertising, he said it is an attempt to bring media and technology together. Microsoft Advertising's owned and operated media include MSN, Xbox, Windows Live and Microsoft Office. The list of ad networks and syndicated media include Massive, ScreenTonic, Viacom, Facebook, Drive, Fox Sports, Digg and others.

Drawing a comparison between Microsoft and Google, he quoted Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, who said, "Our long-term fantasy is we walk up to you and you give us, say, $10 million and we'll completely allocate it for you across different media and ad types."

He then quoted Brian McAndrews, Microsoft, "We look forward to combining forces and bringing the value of our combined assets to bear for the benefit of advertisers, ad agencies and publishers."

He emphasized, "The others want to challenge the current agency and value proposition and have an aim to control and dis-intermediate; whereas, at Microsoft, we aim to build for the needs of the publishers. We focus on the needs of the largest agencies, brands and publishers with total transparency." He added that the goal of Microsoft is to put more control in the hands of advertisers, agencies and publishers.

He said that if a publisher has a need, they have a solution. Microsoft's offerings include SilverLight, Syndicate Content, Partner Content, AdManager, AdExpert, AdCenter, Content Ads and Microsoft Media Network.

He added that Microsoft is poised to be a one-stop shop for all of today's publisher needs and "is best positioned to empower publishers to be at the forefront of rapid industry advancements, as we adapt to the needs of each publisher."

Citing the market trend, he stated that the website has been seeing explosive growth, thus making it a lucrative choice for the publishers as well. He stated that around 4 million sites join the Web every month and the number of sites accessed by users has exploded to 600 per cent. And social networking, as a category in India, has seen a phenomenal growth.

"Technology is advancing fast and leading media companies are seeing a decline in their publication, but digital is growing steadily on a year on year basis." He said that advertisers are seeking compelling brand experience and Microsoft wants to put more control in the hands of the advertisers.

Talking about what the company has to offer media clients, he said that Microsoft has a vast warehouse of data to inform which users should receive which ads. He added that they also have a wide variety of ad formats, since consumers view media across multiple channels, and access to technology solutions such as Silverlight, Atlas Ad Manager, unified platform and Pub Center.

"We also have world class analytics to quickly assess results and optimise the performance. And high touch, consultative advice to help you figure out appropriate changes that are necessary to grow monetisation opportunities," he added.

Talking about the Microsoft Media Network, he said that it is a premium ad network that brings with it advanced technologies and expert advice. On why the publishers should partner with the company, he stressed on, "For advanced optimization technology, control in your hands and quality insights, amongst other things. Advertisers can get a blend of mass awareness, targeting, response and engagement from the Microsoft Media Network."