The continued growth of the mobile sector in India, far ahead of Internet penetration, has led to a greater interest and involvement on the mobile platform in India as opposed to just online solutions. This means that while we lack the trends from more developed countries like America in some ways, we also leapfrog some technologies making it hard to predict future developments.
One area that people seem to be in agreement with though is that mobile apps are a key medium of communication for now to allow people to bring their message to an audience in a clearly targeted fashion on a device that is more intimate than the computer, leading to greater engagement with the audience.
According to Kamlesh Dixit, Product Manager for Mobile Digital Media, Dow Jones, a mobile phone was a platform to reach people from all walks of life, across different geographical regions, without greatly taxing the content provider. Dixit is one of the people responsible for apps like the Wall Street Journal (India) on Nokia and Blackberry phones, and is now working on bringing the same experience to iPhone and Android users.
He added, “There are various factors that have been instigating the adoption of mobile apps by providers like us. Reduced costs, greater ease of development caused by new platforms like Android, improved reach, these have all contributed. There is more scope for growth on the mobile than any other platform, provided you plan properly, and treat it as a separate business, not just an additional part of your offline business.”
People have to set proper targets, and plan for their audience and how to reach them. Various factors, including online advertising and word of mouth promotion through social media is the next factor, to help drive growth forwards.
The emerging app markets from both device providers, (like the Android market, Ovi store, or Apple app store) by service providers (like the Aircel app store) or third party app stores, like GetJar, mean that finding users interested in your content has also become simpler than ever.
Dixit said, “People who see the app will see it the way they might find the website, either by searching for it, or by stumbling across it. But after they take the time to download the app, they are an engaged audience. It's hard to be certain of the size of the market right now, but the fact is that we offer so much over and above a website that the market can only grow over time, because of the value provided.”
“As we move beyond just the Nokia feature phones into a number of affordable Android devices, along with high-end smartphones, we have to create content to suit everyone. So right now, aside from all the app markets, the user can also send us an SMS, and we detect the device and send the appropriate app to them. After that, they can get personalised content, suited to their location and interests, and any other information they give us. While mobile might not be the only way to do all this, it is becoming the dominant form of digital media, and I think that the laptop is under siege from the mobile,” he added.
For all his optimism though, Dixit remains cautious about 3G. He said, “We will have to wait and see what the market turns out to be like. There has not been huge customer uptake yet, and while the technology, particularly in terms of enabling more rich-media, is encouraging, we can't be certain at this stage if people are going to go for it, or how it will be implemented. We will of course try and improve our offerings at every stage, but for now, we have to wait and see.”