More than 50% of the revenue earned by 99Acres,the groups real estate business, comes from marketing. This point came up when a caller on the investor conference call held after the results last week asked about a decline in the number of paid listings (they fell from around 428000 last quarter to around 427000 this quarter), asking about the impact of this on revenues.
In response, Info Edge MD Hitesh Oberoi said that it’s possible that the people are putting up fewer listings, but that has little impact on overall revenue for 99Acres, for two reasons: Firstly, the company sells subscriptions to brokers, who buy 500 listings for Rs 25000 a year, and “It is possible that people might not be utilizing all 500 because there is less activity in the real estate market, and are putting up 200-300 instead of 500. We are still adding customers, yet the number of customers we are adding would not be growing at 40-50% year on year. There has been less launch activity as well.
More pertinently, though, it appears that advertising on the website is a bigger chunk of the revenues: “Listings is just one part of 99acres, and a large part of our revenue is from marketing of new launches, which is not accounted for in listings. More than half our revenue is not from listings: it’s from featured products, banners sold, branding solutions. These are often used to market new projects. We get more revenues from builders and brokers marketing new projects. These products are higher value, which are sold to brokers who deal in resale and rental,” Oberoi added. He did add earlier in the call, that the number of paid transactions (i.e. invoices issued) has increased to 12,900, and there is no reduction in listings by design. “We’re not trying to reduce the long tail. We’re trying to sign up as many listings and agents.”
Earlier in the call, Oberoi said that 99Acres, is growing strongly in a lot of markets, and there is more activity in the South, as compared to North and West of India. “Collection growth is stronger this year.”
In 99acres topline grew 47% year on year in Q1-FY14 to Rs 15.5 crores. 99Acres made a loss of Rs 3.4 crores at the EBITDA level, because of growing investment in sales, new offices and advertising. 99Acres grew by around 47% during the quarter, and Oberoi said that they would like to advertise more, and are scaling up sales operations as well. “We’re aiming for aggressive growth,” he said.