TV Booming in India

The New York Times writes:

Television ownership is growing fast here, and it has plenty more room to expand. There are roughly 105 million homes with televisions in India, up from 88 million in 2000. The current number of television households is about the same as in the United States, though for India that amounts to only about half of the countrys households, compared with 98 percent in the United States.

Advertising spending on Indian television increased by 21 percent a year, on average, from 1995 to 2005, when it reached $1.6 billion, according to ZenithOptimedia.

Black-and-white televisions still account for an estimated 40 percent of all TVs in use, and about 56 percent of rural households do not have electricity, according to Indias 2001 census. And because most homes in India that have a television have just one set, watching TV can be a communal activity that brings together the entire family, and often the neighbors, too.

Wizards of Buzz

WSJ writes: “A new kind of Web site is turning ordinary people into hidden influencers, shaping what we read, watch and buy.”

The next time you visit a buzzy Web site, see a funny video clip online or read an unusual take on the news, chances are you owe it to someone like Mr. Worthington. A new generation of hidden influencers is taking root online, fueled by a growing love affair among Web sites with letting users vote on their favorite submissions. These sites are the next wave in the social-networking craze — popularized by MySpace and Facebook. Digg is one of the most prominent of these sites, which are variously labeled social bookmarking or social news. Others include Reddit.com (recently purchased by Cond Nast), Del.icio.us (bought by Yahoo), Newsvine.com and StumbleUpon.com. Netscape relaunched last June with a similar format.

The opinions of these key users have implications for advertisers shelling out money for Internet ads, trend watchers trying to understand what’s cool among young people, and companies whose products or services get plucked for notice. It’s even sparking a new form of payola, as marketers try to buy votes.