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Classified advertising: Online is the way ahead for India, says Classified Intelligence Head, Peter Zollman

21-November-2005
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Classified advertising: Online is the way ahead for India, says Classified Intelligence Head, Peter Zollman

India has been seeing quite a lot of action as far as classified advertising in print is concerned. However, classified advertising in the Internet is still at a nascent stage, though this genre of advertising has been gaining momentum in the international arena. The visit of Peter M. Zollman, Head of Classified Intelligence LLC and one of the world's leading experts in classified advertising, is likely to stir things up in this sector.

Zollman was in the National Capital last week with the objective of forging alliances with some of the big print and online companies. Classified Intelligence LLC has already signed a client (though the name was not divulged).

Classified Intelligence is the world's leading consulting group in the field of classified advertising. It works with dozens of companies and associations in the US, Canada, Europe, the UK and Asia. It also publishes the Classified Intelligence Report, which is a continuous advisory service about classifieds; annual overviews of recruitment, real estate, automotive and merchandise advertising.

Though classified advertising in India is more visible in the print media, Zollman felt that the transition from print to online was going to be steady. He cited the example of countries like Norway, Sweden and Finland where most of the classified advertising was now online.

He said, "The transition in India is just getting started and as the Internet penetration grows and as younger audiences migrate from the traditional newspapers to online and to mobile devices, the transition will get faster and more important. There is plenty of opportunity."

Zollman has a promising vision for India and as part of that plan he met certain big publishers and dotcom companies in the Capital in order to help the publishers with the transition process.

For this purpose, Classified Intelligence is setting up a consulting organisation and will be closely working with Santosh Goenka, President, Diagonal GlobalCom. Diagonal GlobalCom is a media consultancy and felicitation company, which Goenka has been running for the last two years. He was earlier publisher with the Indian Express group.

Zollman is quite upbeat about working with Goenka, who has over 20 years' experience in the media industry. He felt that Goenka's understanding of the global market place as well as the Indian market place would be a perfect synergy, which would help Indian media companies in charting out the right decisions.

Commenting on working with Zollman, Goenka, said, "People need to understand that online is important and it won't be too long before it dominates our lives. We have to remain in business in this area, so it's the right time that Peter has come in and I think we can add a lot of value to whatever the global perspective that exists and the Indian media companies, especially print, should take this as a golden opportunity."

Globally, classified advertising is a $100 billion-plus industry. While citing the examples of Naukri.com and Shaadi.com, Zollman pointed out that the transition had already started and envisaged a promising future for online classifieds because of the Internet business, which was growing at a rapid pace in India.

However, at the same time Zollman did point out the fact that newspapers were not going to lose all of the classified advertising in the short term or even in the long term. All he said was that though print was growing, online was growing much faster.

Drawing a comparison between print and online advertising, Zollman said, "Online is interactive, searchable and unlimited in the content, whereas print by definition is very limited in the content and is quite expensive."

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