Indian ISP Boom Expected To Boost Online Ad Revenues

The rise of private Indian ISPs will contribute to growth in the domestic audience and increase ad revenue opportunities for online Indian publishers.

So says Sunil Rajshekhar, vice president of Times Interactive, the online publishing and marketing wing of the Times of India group.

Although the domestic Internet user base is small, currently online
publications in India find a ready audience among the 30 million
non-resident Indians (NRIs) living in countries across the globe.

For instance, an estimated 70 per cent of the traffic on the Times group of
sites comes from outside India. Most advertising thus tends to target the NRI population.

“The expected boom in the Indian Internet market should tilt the picture in
favor of the domestic market,” Rajshekhar predicted.

In the last financial year, the Times of India publications group reported over Rs. 1 crore (about $250,000) in online advertising revenues on its nine sites.

Educational institutions have also been using the Web to attract overseas Indian children. Sites like Education Times have also drawn loyal advertisers from overseas, such as Queensland University in Australia which has committed to advertising on the Times site for the next six months.

The types of businesses that advertise the most on Indian sites include banking and finance companies, followed by the real estate and information technology sectors.

The annual Internet advertising market in India, currently worth about Rs.
10 crores ($2.5 million), could triple next year, according to Ajit
Balakrishnan, managing director of the online service Rediff-on-the-Net, who spoke at another recent media conference in Chennai.

D. Suresh, executive director of Chennai-based network solutions company Computer Access, believes that publishers will face challenges in attracting ad revenues from ad agencies who are not yet Net savvy.

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