Nine months after MSN India and NDTV Media entered into a strategic agreement through which the latter is driving advertisements to MSN India properties, including the new innovation Desktop TV, the duo have decided to popularise Desktop TV by marketing it to other websites. Through Desktop TV, advertisers can display their audio-visual advertisements on the Internet.
“After testing it for some time on MSN India properties, we now want to popularise it. Unlike any other embedded video on Internet, it does not take buffering time. It instantaneously runs on narrowband, which is its uniqueness,” said Raj Nayak, CEO, NDTV Media.
The duo has started it by first putting it on some media websites, including exchange4media. “The purpose of putting it on some media sites is to make the advertiser community acquainted with the product so that every morning they log on to these sites they realise what exactly Desktop TV is,” explained Nayak.
“The advantage of Desktop TV is that the online publisher doesn’t have to spend anything on the bandwidth. So there is no extra cost, but still he would be getting extra revenue. We have changed the paradigm of Internet advertising in India. We are the only people who do not sell on the basis of clickthroughs. Every advertisement that you see on MSN is sold on timeband. We have married television and print as far as Desktop TV advertisement is concerned,” Nayak further said.
NDTV Media has rate cards for Desktop TV on the basis of primetime and non-primetime bands. The rates vary from Rs 750 to Rs 1,000 per 10 seconds depending on the timeband.
“When we launched Desktop TV, we had 60 advertisers and now we have 260 advertisers. Some of the biggest ones are the Bollywood guys who have been very keen to advertise on Desktop TV,” said Rajnish, Head, Digital Marketing Revenue and Strategic Business.
Now NDTV Media has offices in nine cities across the country through which it draws advertisers for MSN India properties. “Now, we are getting advertisers even from cities like Pune, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. It’s just exploding. There have been days when we are sold out and we have to request clients if they could move out of the home page because of the heavy demand. After the launch of Desktop TV, our revenue has increased three-fold. I am super excited about this NDTV Media-MSN relationship,” said Rajnish.
“NDTV Media has a relationship with 1,200 brands. The idea of Desktop TV came into being from the thought that what is the benefit of having such a huge client if we could not monitise it? And it is paying off,” Nayak said.
“The larger motive was that you need to broadbase Internet advertising. Once you broadbase the industry, you take a pie of it. FM radio, which came just two years’ back, has twice as many advertisers than on the Internet. Internet is still lagging behind with a paltry Rs 150 crore ad revenue,” lamented Nayak.
“We only have one agenda. Within MSN and NDTV India, our mandate is that by 2008 we want to have 1,000 advertisers on the Internet. We think if we can achieve that, then we will feel we have done great service to the Internet industry in India. The online ad market should be a Rs 500 crore market,” Nayak said.
When asked what needed to be done to achieve that target, Nayak said, “All it needs is four or five big players like Yahoo!, MSN, Indiatimes, and Rediff to come together and say that they will sell on timeband and not through clickthroughs, then the whole industry will change. MSN and we at NDTV.com are already doing that.”
“When you watch a advertisement on the newspaper, you can’t go beyond that, whereas on the Internet, you are able to go and visit the website of the advertiser. It’s the strength of Internet publishers. Should they be penalised for having that strength? Why should the publishers take the ownership of whether the advertisement is clicked or not? It happens in no other medium, why should it be made compulsory for Internet?” Naik asked.
But when reminded that cost-per-click was a global phenomenon of Internet advertising, Nayak countered by saying, “Just because a model has worked in the West doesn’t mean it will work everywhere else. World over television ads are sold on CPRP (Cost Per Rating Points), nobody in India follows that.”
Now through the regional websites in place, MSN and NDTV Media expect to attract regional advertisers. “With the Indian language websites, we are now going to attack regional advertisement revenue. If I go to a city like Ambala to approach a small client and show the MSN website in his own language, he can read it and he can relate to it. Till now, he had been averse to advertise on the Internet because of the predominance of English content. This is another strategy to grow our business. Now we hope others will follow, and if others follow, then it will be good for the industry,” Nayak explained.
When asked whether they would put the Desktop TV on the regional language portals of MSN, Naik said, “That is a decision we are actively considering. Maybe we will have Desktop TV in regional languages. Tamil ads could run on Desktop Tamil, Telugu ads will run on Desktop Telugu. And there is no reason why we won’t do it.”
The two partners recently launched a new tool for Internet advertising, called SFX Advertising, which is a combination of Desktop TV and banner advertisement. “Advertisers today come and say I want to show more information and drive traffic to my website while my video ad is running on Desktop TV. That’s why we launched SFX advertising,” Nayak said.
“We have decided that we should be able to go to the market every six months with a new product and a new innovation,” he added.
But are advertisers ready for these new ways of advertisement innovations in the field of the Internet? “They have no choice. They have to change their mindset if they want value for money and want to keep pace with technology. If they don’t, somebody else is going to take that piece of cake away,” Nayak pointed out.