The Internet and Online Association (IOA) has announced the inclusion of eight new memberships. Among the new entrants to the national association for internet players, there are Baazee.com and Bharti Televentures who have joined as primary members; Group M Media India, Starcom–IP and Cox & Kings have joined as associate members and there are three new individual members – Neeraj Roy, Anil Wanwari and Dhruv Shenoy.
Founded in January 2004 by leading Indian portals Hindustantimes.com, Indiatimes.com, MSN.co.in, Rediff.com, Sify.com, Yahoo.co.in and online media agency, Mediaturf, today IOA has developed into an industry trade organisation dedicated to present a unified voice to the industry and to the government.
However, greeting the new members, IOA's recently announced Chairman, V Ramani, stated, "It is my pleasure to welcome these esteemed companies to IOA. These members will unquestionably enhance the industry-strengthening efforts by contributing thought leaders and unique perspectives to IOA's committees, roundtables and forums. In fact, we are adding substantial muscle to the association by adding the leaders in the respective spaces; the largest e-commerce and auction portal, the largest cellular operator in the country and the largest media AOR of the country. Add these names to the seven primary members and you can see the scope of progress that IOA could make in the next few months. We are excited with these developments.”
Dwelling on the vision of the association, he observed, “Here’s an interesting scenario: One hundred million Indians surf the web for more than two hours a day, 180 million Indians are mobile users, 140 million Indians are mobile data service users and 40 million Indians are into mobile internet in a big way – all this by 2007. And that’s exactly the vision of IOA”
IOA President Preeti Desai states, “It is abundantly clear that this industry will achieve the greatest success through direct and open dialogue. Bringing together companies from seemingly diverse businesses like online publishers, specialist online agencies, advertising agencies, marketers, e-commerce service providers, mobile operators – all under the auspices of IOA creates the perfect forum to foster and promote such collaborative work to the benefit of the entire industry.”
She adds, “Representing the perspective of companies that support the IOA charter, member companies will work with the IOA Council in identifying and prioritising key issues and initiatives the industry will undertake to improve the overall effectiveness and efficiencies of the business. Associate members are eligible to join any of IOA's sub-committees, and will meet separately four times a year at a minimum."
Expressing his happiness to be a part of the association, Avnish Bajaj, Managing Director, Baazee.com, states, "We are delighted to be a part of IOA – an Association that is going to be on the forefront of helping grow the internet and internet-based commerce and advertising. The association is an important step towards taking internet to its next level."
Representing the cellular industry, Mohit Bhatnagar, VP New Products Development & Alliances, Bharti Televentures, asserts, "There will soon be more mobile phones than PCs in India. Airtel is pleased to be a part of IOA to drive the rapid adoption of the wireless internet."
IOA aims to bring 100 million Indians online by 2007 and targets to empower society and businesses to benefit from the time and cost savings offered by internet. The association has been developed specifically to address the issues, concerns and growth related to online media, advertising and e-commerce and wireless or mobile advertising.
The association’s activities include evaluating and recommending standards and practices, fielding research to document the effectiveness of internet and wireless as interactive mediums and educating the marketing and advertising industry about the use of interactive advertising and e-commerce. Membership includes companies that are actively engaged in publishing, marketing and advertising, using internet and wireless as interactive medium.