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The Media Ant: The one-stop shop for information on non-traditional media platforms

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | November 22, 2012
The Media Ant was launched in June this year to cater to the needs of advertisers who seek information on non-traditional advertising platforms such as airlines, cinemas, in-flight magazines, and credit and debit card slips, among others.

Seek and you shall find! For all that you cannot, comes up an idea to fill in a gap. Bengaluru-based The Media Ant was started by three marketing professionals to serve the need for information on various options that an advertiser has in the non-traditional space; something that the founders thought was lacking and an opportunity worth exploring in the realm of advertising.

From left: Mukesh Agrawal, Samir Chaudhary and Mayank Bidawatka, co-founders, The Media Ant

Visiting the website (www.themediaant.com), one might immediately find the concept novel. The company aims to help businesses, particularly the ones that have no access to media agencies, find information about the media options available, especially in the non-traditional media space.

The start-up's website offers details on platforms such as dabbawala advertising in Mumbai, airlines-related advertising, in-flight magazines, Indian railways advertising, washroom advertising, cinema advertising, gym advertising, golf course advertising, credit and debit card slips and statements, captcha advertising, stationery advertising and many such options that a brand might find tremendous potential in but often tend to overlook.

The Media Ant has been launched by Mayank Bidawatka, ex-marketing and product head at redBus, an online bus booking site; Samir Chaudhary, ex-FMCG marketer (Britannia and Reckitt); and Mukesh Agrawal, an Ernst & Young consultant.

Talking about the rationale behind The Media Ant, Bidawatka says, "At redBus, we always had small funds for marketing. Once, wanting to spend Rs 4-5 lakh for sales-related marketing, I approached agencies to know about media options we could try. None of them were ready to help us because the amount was very small. However, I knew that there are many media options available out there. Unfortunately, there was no platform that I could visit and get all the information on media options I wanted. That is when I thought that this may be a service that most marketers without media agencies would be seeking."

The non-traditional media space, he says, is disaggregated in terms of the number of media options available, geography of vendors and knowledge on fair price.

The Media Ant serves as a link between the advertisers and media owners, and earns revenue from the latter, to which it brings brands that use the platforms.

With a core idea that aims to keep costs low, the company does not yet feel the need to venture out to other cities in the country and continues to operate from Bengaluru.

Bidawatka says that communication on these non-traditional platforms is often more targeted, interesting and contextual, and the interaction with the consumer is very direct and personal.

"The canteen owner at IIM-A can now create media in his canteen, knowing that many advertisers wanting to reach out to MBA students will discover him and his media on this platform. He will be able to pay for his rent from the money he earns through ads. And companies like Dell, Lenovo and other advertisers who want to reach out to soon-to-be-rich MBA students will have discovered new and relevant media for their products," he explains.

While currently working with various businesses, small and large, the media discovery platform, as The Media Ant describes itself, is also working with certain media agencies that identify the potential to be a valuable one for its clients.

Going forward, the company plans to explore many other media options, not necessarily in the non-traditional space, depending on the need-gap identified at a particular time.

"We aim to be the largest player providing information on all media options. The immediate gap that we have identified in the business is the lack of information in the non-traditional space. In the future, we also plan to tackle the gaps in the space of magazine advertising, local radio and other such traditional media and particularly help smaller and mid-sized businesses reach out better without having to spend huge moneys on marketing,"

says Bidawatka.

Just a few months old and The Media Ant is already being recognised for its concept. At the recent The Economic Times Power of Ideas competition, the start-up was among the top 20 selected from the many thousand entries. It is also garnering interest from venture capitalists and has secured a grant from IIM-A.

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