Internet has come out of the roller-coaster ride of close to three years with a clear vision of traversing great distances in the realm of information and business in the years to come. Expert opinion has it that the internet would put the telecom industry in the shade over the next year or two. The positive sentiment was writ large at the exchange4media iZone Round Table on ‘Business on the Internet: Real or Virtual’ – organised in New Delhi on March 29, 2004.
Mahendra Swarup, CEO, Times Internet Limited, who was on the panel, said that e-commerce would dwarf the conventional retail business in the country. “Much as we talk about a retail boom, there is a lot that needs to be done in terms of investment in infrastructure which is essential for growing the retail business. But, for e-commerce, the infrastructure is already there. It’s just that business on the net has to gain momentum,” he said.
Dwelling on the subject, Amitabh Singhal, President, Internet Services Providers Association of India, said that business on the internet was set for big times but, felt the need for a more focused approach with regards to capturing data on the net users and the like.
He compared the Internet penetration in India with that in the US and pointed out that technically both the countries were at par.
Said Arun Tadanki, President, Monster Asia: “Contrary to the general perceptions that internet has limited reach within India, there are 20 million net users in the country which is greater than circulation of all mainline English dailies put together.” The profile of net users was indicative of the potentials of business on this medium, he added.
Notably, the experts pointed to the indifference of advertising agencies with respect to internet as a medium of advertising. “There is a perceived lack of interest among the advertising agencies regarding internet,” Swarup observed.
The Round Table discussion focused on sub-topics such as e-commerce, online advertising, content versus commerce and internet brand building, which we plan to bring to you in the coming days.