You’re reading it here first: Things aren’t looking great for the advertising networks business in India: AdMagnet, funded by Sequoia Capital, one of India’s key ad networks, has suspended operations starting October 30th, multiple company executives have confirmed to MediaNama. Ketan Patange, Deputy Controller of Finance at the company, when asked by MediaNama as to why AdMagnet has suspended operations, said that it was a management decision and declined to comment further.
Ratish Nair, who co-founded AdMagnet and its sister concern, the advertising agency Interactive Avenues, confirmed to MediaNama that he had left AdMagnet after some serious personal health issues in June this year. Co-founder Sunil Miranda was unavailable for comment, despite repeated calls and a text from MediaNama. Some of the executives listed as contacts on the companys website have moved on, and the person manning the companys board line said, after our persistent calling, that he’s been directed to tell us that no work is being done on operations at AdMagnet.
AdMagnet was spun off from Interactive Avenues in 2008, a couple of years after Interactive Avenues was launched. Interactive Avenues had been backed by Sequoia Capital and People Group founder Anupam Mittal, and its probable that they held equity in AdMagnet too. In 2009, People Interactive’s ad sales team had moved to AdMagnet. Interactive Avenues was acquired by IPG MediaBrands in 2013 for an undisclosed amount, and AdMagnet was not a part of the deal. This video gives great insight into how AdMagnet came into being, and Interactive Avenues’ sale to IPG MediaBrands.
AdNetworks: last man standing game?
Komli Media, which had raised (at least) $97 million in funding, probably the largest fund-raising in the online advertising space, recently sold its India business to SVG Media Komli Media, after selling its businesses in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia) to Axiata for just $11.25 million. This was SVG Media’s fourth acquisition since 2012, after buying back Seventy Nine and Networkplay in December last year from Bertelsmann group company Gruner+JahrSeventyNine. It also bought the affilate ad network company DGM India for Rs 3.35 crore from Asia Digital Holdings, in April 2012.
Another key ad network, Ozone Media, changed its business model to a creative optimization product called Adadyn in 2013.
It was always going to be difficult to survive in a market that is dominated by Google; advertising or ad-supported businesses find it difficult to sustain without scale, because of ridiculously long payment cycles and unreliable payments.