Hemang_PanditSiddhi Vinayak Astrology Services Private Limited’s website, GaneshaSpeaks.com provides astrology related information to users including sun sign, moon sign, numerology, tarot related information, among others. The company was started by Hemang Arunbhai Pandit in 2003. In the first part of our interaction with Pandit, he spoke about their content on web and mobile, their regional language content, video content and their audience. In the second part, he speaks about their mobile strategy, ecommerce on their website, international traffic, partnerships, marketing, competition, VAS regulations and challenges.

Mobile Strategy

Medianama: What is your mobile strategy?

Pandit: As far as apps are concerned, we have not started implementing our mobile strategy yet. We are still studying what will work in India. We are currently working on our brand apps for both android and iOS platforms. We are already live with our brand apps on Windows app platform. We have also launched mobile apps for our yearly horoscope books.

Medianama: What is the kind of response that you have been getting on your existing mobile apps compared to your VAS content?

Pandit: 2012 and 2013 astrological year books are available on iOS and Android as apps. We have followed the freemium model with these apps. Users can view about 20 pages as preview in the free app. If someone wants to buy the entire book, they could buy the entire app through the in-app purchase. We had about 100,000 downloads for 2013 book app with more than 7% of them converting to paid version. However, response to apps and VAS content cannot be compared at this point of time.  Presently, our apps don’t have the functionality that is available in our dial in service or website.

Ecommerce on Ganeshaspeaks.com

Medianama: How do you manage the logistics of the ecommerce portal on your site especially with respect to delivering precious stones?

Pandit: We have specific arrangements with courier companies to delivery these precious and semi precious stones. We maintain a basic inventory. Our purchase for gem stones is continuous. It is not something that you can buy off the shelf. You can buy them only when available. Their prices also fluctuate accordingly.

Medianama: What is the kind of response that you have been receiving for your web store? What is its contribution to your annual revenue?

Pandit: I won’t be able to give you the percentage contribution of our web store to our revenue. But I can tell you that our web store contributes quite a bit to our top line and bottom line sales. We give people a report along with the list of remedies. Apart from buying our reports, they also find us to be a reliable source to buy these remedies.

Medianama: Why do you sell e-books specifically for kindle? Why not sell on other online book stores?

Pandit: We have been trying to figure out if our books make sense on Kindle and how we can sell them on other stores. We have also been trying to understand how our books would work when we convert them to other formats. Kindle, of course, we understand makes sense only because our books are self-published. These books are not very popular in India at this point of time. As for the U.S, people are not still very aware of us.

Monetisation

Medianama: How else do you monetize on the web?

Pandit: Paid services and sales on the ecommerce stores are the only ways of monetisation for us. We don’t do any advertising.

Medianama: Do you get international traffic?

Pandit: 50% of our traffic is from outside of India particularly from U.S, U.K, Canada, Australia, English speaking parts of Europe, South Africa and New Zealand. We have SEO as one of our major contributors for this traffic. Our international customers use both our freebies and paid products.

Medianama: How do you monetize on the mobile?

Pandit: We have relationships with mobile operators to provide our services to their customers as VAS and we share the revenues with them. When we launch a mobile portal, we will figure out different ways to monetise the portal. Monetisation of the mobile portal is also likely to be product based.

Medianama: What is the percentage contribution of mobile and web to your total revenue?

It is 50-50. What we have observed, as far as astrology is concerned, is that you can get astrological services by meeting an astrologer. Calling our number comes closest to that. We also have our website through which we have been giving reports within 72 hours to customers who place a request. We see that many customers who want reports, also want to talk to our astrologers. Basically that is how mobile and website contribute equally to the revenue.

Challenges

Medianama: What has been the impact of TRAI’s guidelines on your business?

Pandit: I believe that TRAI’s guidelines have an effect on our business, especially when you tell people each time about the amount they spend. They will, sometimes, as a caller become hesitant to call. But there have been people who have been calling us repeatedly to speak to our astrologers. They have an equation with some of our astrologers. So we have not been impacted much.

Medianama: What are the key challenges that you face in delivering content over mobile and web?

Pandit: The key challenges at this point in time as far as web is concerned is internet penetration. This should improve over 3-4years. As far as mobile is concerned, creating awareness with consumers on different services is needed. Revenue sharing between operators and content providers is another challenge that we face on mobile. As the VAS industry matures, the revenue sharing between operators and content providers like us will rationalise and change.

Medianama: What is your take on the revenue sharing system in VAS in India?

Pandit: It has to change so that content providers can also bring in a third partner which will be the media. If you see the UK market, telecom operator keeps around 15% and gives the rest to content provider whose content is promoted by the media. Content provider is happy for the business got by marketing and with enough revenue to share with media partner. Telecom operator is also happy that the services are getting sold and is generating good revenue. As the VAS industry matures, we will be moving closer to this model.