On Advertisers And Rates
Interestingly, Affle and NDTV are refusing to take advertising on their mobile platforms on a Cost-per-Lead (CPL) basis. Affle, as a startup, took a conscious decision not to fall into the trap that Internet advertising created for itself.

During the MediaNama discussion on Mobile Advertising at Mobile Monday Delhi responding to a question by Aditya Khanna, Business Head of Tyroo, Salil Kumar COO (Business) for NDTV Convergence said they’re selling inventory on NDTV Active (their mobile portal) a CPM basis. Banks are advertising, and there was interest initially from the Travel industry as well. Mobile manufacturers like Nokia are advertising. Chirag Jain, VP India Operations for SMSGupShup metrics being spoken of for the mobile are inherited from the Internet, and he’s not sure if this is how mobile should be measured. Advertisers are currently groping between media, and aren’t really sure of what they want. He said in the beginning itself that these are still early days for the mobile, and no one really knows where it is headed. Advertisers expect an Internet like experience from WAP, and on SMS, GupShup is currently testing extensively for what works.

Operators And Mobile Advertising
“The operator couldn’t care less,” Vijay Shekhar Sharma (VSS), MD of One97 Communications said , highlighting the bigger picture “The online ad industry in India is around $200 million. Even a $500 million Mobile Advertising in India, by the time we have 500 million mobile users, will be just $1 ARPU for the mobile operator. That $500 million divided among 10 operators means just $50 million. Why would a mobile operator with Billion dollar EBITDAs bother?” VSS doesn’t believe that ad funded content on voice is going to happen very soon, but that doesn’t mean the world has to live with Rs. 6/min voice calls – that might be lowered.

Asked about the advertising on the WAP Deck, Salil Kumar said that around a year or so ago, the top banner on the WAP deck at Airtel used to sell for roughly Rs. 5 lakh per day, and this was in comparison to the Rs. 12 lakh per day full page ad in a newspaper. It used to sell out around 300 days in the year, despite its high price – so a total of Rs. 15 crores per year. The Rs. 40 crores number of overall on-deck mobile advertising is a guess-timate.

Anuj Kumar, Executive Director (South Asia) for Affle said that applications face two challenges – firstly, how to get on the handset, and then how to ensure they are accessed daily. If Mobile Advertising has to be scalable, the ecosystem has to come together – including those who are manufacturing handsets and operators. Managing them will determine who wins. “In the short span of time that we’ve been in India, we’ve almost got a million downloads as the default,” he said.

On operators blocking portals – giving the example of what MyToday had faced – VSS said the operators really won’t block small portals because you have a product that can change the world. They want you to change the world, so they can then take over that space. (ED: do keep in mind that the content which MyToday was offering for free was cannibalizing on the operators content subscription business model)