Social media

Slumdog Millionaire


“Slumdog Millionaire” won 4 oscars (I saw the downloadable version of movie recently)…

Screenplay: Outstanding is the word, and also does the work of putting India on the world map. We have some great guys in this field (Anurag Kashyap, loved his No Smoking)

Picture: A westerners image of India- poor & hungry people. The movie has timed well with Arvind Adiga’s “The White Tiger”, which is also about the poor destitute India. Maybe here we would want a richer picture of India, demonstrating our progress.

Director: Hats off to Danny Boyle for the film. Super camera and shots. I have seen “Trainspotting”, and that is a brilliant film as well.

The last one was for Music. It was great to see AR Rahman, SRK and Anil Kapoor on the stage, a proud moment for India (I’m sure Gandhi would be similarly exciting, but I wasn’t around). I hope that it wins at least 4 Oscar from here. Man, you should have seen Anil Kapoor on the stage, he was so pumped up!.

So, why is a movie description featuring in Digital Marketing blog? I was driving today and while I was reminiscing of these proud moments for India, I also remembered one discussion with an international professional. “Indians don’t blog; don’t express their opinion”, he said, “And that is the reason why though in the west social media is the new buzzword, in India it has a long way to go.”

Consider this…

1. I searched for “Slumdog millionaire” (from India) a few hours ago, I found only 15k results on Google

2. Blog search in Hindi was more dismal- only 7 results.

3. The reach as a media vehicle (comScore calls these as the conversational media) for blogs is good- (12.5 Mln Unique Visitors & 40% reach), Bloggers (8 Mln Unique visitors & 26% reach), wordpress (3.5 Mln Unique visitors & 11% reach). However, actual blogger community is still very small; a rough estimate would be about 50k active bloggers. An old article but you might get some information here…

We are world’s largest democracy, however it seems very few of us have opinions to share. In US elections, Barack Obama was able to move a number of youths through his social media influence. Compare this to our Indian politicians, who don’t even have a website to their name. I did find Lal Krishna Advani’s blog on the net, (it wasn’t working that’s another story). The sad reality is none of us believe in expressing ourselves and that this opinion will make a difference (come on!)

However, there is a silver lining, blogging is becoming big. Aamir Khan ( has a blog. I had heard that even Amitabh Bacchan had started blogging, however even after 10 minutes of persistent search I couldn’t find it. Akshay Kumar also seems to have a blog (, but doesn’t look genuine.

Blogging has started in some way, but has to still reach the tipping point (borrowed from Malcolm Gladwel :). We still have to go a long way beyond clicks and click through rates and ROIs.

FYI, here are some interesting feature on “Slumdog Millionaire”

J Ramanand:


BomBay Bitch (she does a great job of hammering down our own industry):

Pray with me for Slumdog’s Oscar win!! But before that please watch the movie; it is releasing on Jan 23rd 2009.

BTW, have you seen the Google’s new favicon (small icon in your browser), it’s great.


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Advertising Industry, Digital Marketing, Internet Industry

Accenture Global Digital Advertising Study 2007

My friend Anuj Anand shared a very interesting report with me last week and as usual i was about to junk it ;). A better sense prevailed and I didn’t regret a bit going through the report.

Though it is called “Accenture Global Digital Advertising Study 2007″and you might think that it pertains only to US (no wonder their local baseball competition is also called World Cup), it does have something for all of us. Coming back to the report, the key takeaways were…

– 79 percent of our survey participants agree that advertising will become more performance-based, as the industry moves towards precise measurement of results, rapidly delivered. This will impose a performance discipline on an industry that has rarely felt this kind of pressure.

– 87 percent agree that analytics will become more accurate and more critical to the business. This shift will drive a decline in the use of traditional success measures — total audience per advertisement — but will enable advertisers to gain increased return on investment through more accurate targeting of audiences.

– 97 percent agree that advertising relationships with customers will become more interactive, and the other 3 percent say they don’t know, meaning that not a single respondent disagrees. As a result of this greater interactivity, capabilities such as clickthrough buttons on TV will enable a two-way dialogue with the consumer all the way to purchase. These capabilities will also create a more meaningful feedback loop on advertising effectiveness.

– 43 percent of the respondents believe that digital media will become the primary form of programming and advertising content within the next five years, and a further 33 percent say this will happen in between seven and 10 years. The impact of this transition may be
accelerated by the typical pattern that early adaptors tend to be from higher income demographic groups that are more attractive to advertisers. Traditional advertisers are largely unprepared for the wave of digitally driven change about to engulf them.

– Only 29 percent of executives believe the industry is technologically prepared for the resulting changes in performance measurement. The proportions are even lower in terms of customer analytics (25 percent), targeted advertising (21 percent) and customer interactivity (13 percent).

– Largely as a result, the highest proportion of respondents (43 percent) believe advertising agencies have the most to lose in the transition to digital advertising, followed by broadcasters with 33 percent.

– Correspondingly, 46 percent believe that online search companies have the most to gain, followed by digital advertising specialists with 19 percent.

– 77 percent agree that advertising will be viewed in an integrated way on three screens — television, computer and wireless handset.

Indian scenario can’t be more rosier. Digital agency Zenith Optimedia expects Internet ad spend to double, from 210 crores 2006 to 450 crores in 2007 and can potentially rise to 2,250 crores mark in 2009 (a 10 times increase). As a share of advertising pie, the share will rise to 6.8%, which was 1% last year. There is another interesting report on digital industry.

It just certifies a fact that we already know, that the advertising industry is facing a radical transformation — in terms of its technological and cultural impact. We need to focus strongly on the use technology to offer advanced customer interactivity. Targeting and analytics are gaining real competitive differentiation.

Therefore the implications for us are…

– If you are a new media company — build, partner or buy systems (sales, reporting, delivery) to support products across three screens and to deliver targeted advertising in privacy-compliant ways.
– If you are a marketer — escalate your integrated marketing and advertising initiatives across three screens, keeping a critical eye on performance metrics.
– If you are a technology company — focus on developing front-end and back-end systems specific to each medium’s unique needs.

If you can’t locate PDF on the net, do write to me and I’ll send you a copy 🙂



Affiliate Marketing, e-Commerce, Email Marketing, Internet Audience Measurement

Internet- A Sales Channel or a Branding Medium?

A food for thought, it didn’t strike me even when Google was making a presentation on Branding strategy. Spends more on building brands, as the cost of conversions on a brand keyword would be the least (roughly 5-10 times more than your average conversion). So invest in brand and reap benefits, increase your ROI and lower the cost of conversion. Perfect theory, instantly buyable. Another large part of their presentation was on how the brands will be built online- Content, display ads, RIAs video ads. You name it and it is on the internet. As a marketer and a category leader what would you do? Where would you put the money and how much.

Lets go a little deeper, and recall the definition of brands (a difficult one and to my mind one of the very misued terms). A brand is a sum total of Product’s Physical attributes and its experience and has a name. A strong brand should be able to conjure images and experience (good/bad) in your mind. It is the holy grail of marketing, and in an ideal state, if your brand is big enough, you don’t need to advertise and waste monies (but you do that till you get there). All our B-school course, our strategy is around how to build great brands (Mr Aarker has written 4 books on this theme and Mr Kotler tome must be in its 11th edition by now). However, we marketers are still pondering over on how to do it. More so, how to do it online. Or should we not?

Lets consider this small example, TV has 70 million households, and more than 500 channels. The black box has been the greatest invention for marketing so far (in my opinion and have no hard feeling with my other online loving folk). Experiments have proven that a communication has a greater impact and lasting impression when sound and Vision are in tandem. And then came the other inventions Computers and Mobiles (also with screens). And so it happened that someone (and followed by a number of whitepapers) announced the birth of second and third screen (please note that the first screen was television). And marketing was to be dominated by this genre.

In US it started about 20 years back and now they have 50% internet penetration, Singapore is 60% and Taiwan is 90%. For India, I only know the number of users and it also varies greatly, 25 Mln as per comScore, 35Mln as per IAMAI and 45 Mln as per NASSCOM. In short, though our sheer number is high, our penetration is very poor (I’ll update the penetration figures as soon I get it). In India, internet is still not a mass medium. Please consider the time spend by todays youth on each medium (Source Business World Youth Report 2006, IAMAI 2006)

TV: 124 minutes/day
Newspaper: 30 Minutes/day
Radio: 84 minutes/day
Internet:61 Minutes/day

People do spend time online, where does the communication stick and occupy that little space, which creates a brand. Video ads, Social community, RIA, Viral, Flash Movies and webisodes are the answers. Huge engagement, huge interaction and best of all it is by choice and recommendation (by search engine). But is this good enough to create brands? Good enough to create recall and not to use the search engine to come to the website? Will it be a talking point?

Lot of brands have done it, and have been hugely successful. Google didn’t do any advertising (and maximised PR to its advantage). eBay utilised the online community and so did YouTube and MySpace. Orkut is very popular in India and they did it with 0 advertising.

And the most differentiating factor of our medium is the measurability. Internet is one of the few mediums that can define ROI (Direct Marketing is the other). So now we can use it to define goals and plan backwards to derive the ROI. The campaign have set goals and marketers can now be smarter and more accountable. However, this brings us back again to our moot point, can it create brands. At least in India can it replace TV. And will an emarketer choose Internet whole heartedly to drive the strategy to build brands?