Digital advertising company Fork Media has acquired a majority stake in Rappio Advertising. Rappio, which was founded in 2016 by Nirav Shah Shah, Sahil Mehta, Ishan Doshi and Anuj Shah, enables brands to use ad jingles, promos and announcements to be played as ringtones tones. Users are incentivized with free mobile recharges each time their phone rings playing out an ad tune.
Currently, Rappio allows prepaid mobile recharge on operators such as Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Communications, Tata Docomo, Tata Indicom, Idea, Aircel, BSNL, MTNL, Uninor. In addition, it also hosts weekly contests for brands.
With this acquisition, Fork Media plans to introduce audio-based advertising at scale using its inventory of publishers. Nirav Shah will head the business division within Fork Media and will be based out of Fork Media’s Mumbai office. Rappiohas an Android app and says that it has over 50,000 downloads and an integration into other popular apps with a base of over 10M users.
This is Fork Media’s fourth acquisition and it bought a 51% stake in Inuxu Digital Media Technologies, Pune-based adtech company for $3 million in September 2016. It also acquired an undisclosed equity stake in WiFi ad network Spid, for building an alternate ad inventory space. In 2014, Fork Media bought performance ad network ClickZoot.
Fork Media was founded by Verma and Upen Rai in 2013 as part Ant Farm, former Times Internet CEO Rishi Khiani’s incubator. Through its flagship platforms, it provides a suite of native advertising solutions for publishers that enables them to activate, deploy and manage ad placements across media properties.
There has been a spike in activity audio advertising. In February, music streaming service Saavn launched programmatic audio advertising in India. Saavn’s programmatic ads take into account data such as time-of-day, location, device brand/model, mobile operator, genre, age, gender etc. Advertisers can select the parameters to select in a console accessible to media buyers on their laptops and desktops.
Meanwhile, SoundCloud also started airing programmatic ads with Triton Digital, an audio advertising platform that works with Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio and others and sells programmatic through its ad platform.