Exclusive: MediaNama has learned from multiple, reliable sources that AOL is in the process of launching its ad-network Advertising.com in India. The launch is expected to be in August or September. AOL India has declined to comment.
We’re told that the network will essentially aggregate India-specific inventory from a large number of international sites. AOL does have an ad sales team in India, led by Tarun Sobhani, but they’ve been focused, so far, on AOL.in. Advertising.com might also target Indian publishers with content-specific channels; one that we’ve heard about is a Bollywood focused channel. ABC – Astrology, Bollywood and Cricket – are the most popular categories of content in India.
AOLs International operations are headquartered in India, led by Maneesh Dhir (EVP International for AOL), and this, effectively, is the launch of Platform A in India, of which Advertising.com is a part. Given the increasing popularity of WAP in India, I wouldn’t be surprised if Third Screen Media also gets launched at some point in time. Readers should note that, last September, AOL had combined its advertising companies – Advertising.com (acquired for $435 Million in cash in 2004), Third Screen Media (acquired in May ’07), TACODA (acquired July ’07), Lightningcast and ADTECH – into a separate subsidiary called Platform A.
The launch of Advertising.com in India is significant – such a large player is likely to bring in resources into play, bring more advertisers and publishers into the fold, effectively help grow the Indian digital advertising market.
Current players in the Indian advertising network include Tyroo Media (in which Yahoo owns a significant minority stake), Komli (investment from Nexus India Capital, Helion Venture Partners and DFJ), Interactive Avenues (Sequoia Capital India), Ozone Media recently received around $4 Million (reportedly) in investment from IDG Ventures. Not sure of what’s happened to PayPod, though. From what we’ve heard, affiliate marketing network DGM India has been a significant success, and another affiliate network is being launched in the country. Update: The most dominant player – Google’s Adsense.
What’s interesting is that Advertising.com is entering the market at a time when vertical advertising networks are making their first appearance – Games2Win has recently launched a Game-portal specific network InviziAds, Ishir Digital is launching TonicTag, Goosefish Media Ventures (funding from Capital18) is launching at least two networks – DivaNation and GoSindbad.