The two not-so-obvious things that can help the Internet growing again in India are:
- The Internet and mobile need to be thought of as a combo for services. It will be some time before Internet ad revenues are large enough to sustain the portal. (They are aboutRs 500-600 crore, with about three-quarters going to Google, Yahoo and Rediff.) The mobile should not be thought of as an isolated business, but in fact should be combined with the Net for whatever services are planned (content, classifieds, communities, commerce, gaming…). This creates a path to get higher audience numbers.
- Companies need to think of multi-monetisation. On the Net, there are three primary options to make money: subscriber pays, ads and transaction fees. A fourth can be business services. It is critical that in the short-term the focus be on maximising the number of revenue streams that can help get the money in, thus minimising the need for external capital and increasing the longevity of the business.
Thus, according to me, a consumer-centric Internet business that thinks Net and mobile natively, and does multi-monetisation of its audience and technology platform is what has the greatest chance of succeeding in India. This is also an opportunity for newcomers without legacy to come in and disrupt the incumbents.
So, which spaces to enter? We will discuss that tomorrow.