(note: if the podcast doesn’t work, pls download the file)
Important: A key insight emerging from the interview is that Travel advertising in India has taken a significant hit in the past few months. Travel has been the largest advertiser segment, along-with finance.
Ozone Media was among the first advertising networks to launch in India, and yet it was the fourth in the queue to raise a round of funding – after Komli (Nexus India Capital, Helion Venture Partners and DFJ), Interactive Avenues (Sequoia Capital India) and Tyroo Media (Yahoo). IDG Ventures has picked up a minority stake in the company, and while Business Standard claimed that the investment is around $4 million, the company isn’t commenting on the investment, or the stake that IDG has picked up, except that it is a minority investment.
In an interview with Medianama.com (early this morning), Ozone Media Founder Kiran Gopinath discusses why they raised money – to scale up operations and adding more technology, and reach out to more advertisers. He refutes the claim that the company has been losing marketshare to funded ad networks, despite the companys presence being restricted to Bangalore and Mumbai, and an employee strength of 15. The company intends to open an office in Delhi, and will leverage IDGs connections with global ad networks for international campaigns.
Gopinath also talks about what the company is offering to both advertisers and publishers, in terms of a differentiated product in a fast crowding ad-network space, and says that despite a number of vertical ad-networks being launched, Ozone Media isn’t going to launch a vertical advertising network.
More importantly, Ozone Media intends to launch a video advertising network, of which there are currently very few in India – there’s Vdopia, and Jivox recently raised money.
No plans for mobile yet, but even if they do enter the mobile advertising space – the company will not do an SMS based network, primarily because they feel they cannot track a return in investment.
He didn’t comment on the expected burn rate, only that the company was started with Rs. 4-5 lakh in investment, and has largely been funded by cashflows. Going forward, the Ozone Media doesn’t want to depend on further funding for growth.
We’d gathered that Ozone Media offers Rs. 70-80 CPM and Rs. 10-12 CPC. Though Gopinath doesn’t comment on the numbers, he does agree that India as a market needs to evolve – it’s too metric driven a market. However, search marketing isn’t taking money away from display, he says, and the market overall is growing.
The company has 70 advertisers, but has isn’t dependent on any single segment for a majority of its revenues – travel and finance are the top segments, but no single advertiser contributes more than 10 percent. Travel, as mentioned earlier, has taken a significant hit in the past few months.
Note: Will be uploading the complete transcript soon.