A group of amateur artistes put up their version of the popular Bollywood song Kal Ho Naa Ho on the web. While their version was pretty good, it wasn’t all there. They were surprised to receive an online message from Ehsaan Noorani of the trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, which composed the song, pointing out they were using the wrong chord.
That you never know who is viewing your posts—poetry, home-made audio or video—is part of the charm of the thriving world of social networking.
Experiences such as this one—narrated by composer Shankar Mahadevan at the launch of social networking site BigAdda.com—are attracting an increasing number of netizens to networking sites.
According to a 2007 Nasscom report, there will be 20 million broadband subscribers by 2010, up from the relatively paltry one million now, and 100 million Internet users compared with the current 40 million.
Though only 12% of these 40 million users are exposed to social networking sites such as Orkut, MySpace and Facebook, some experts believe that the potential for growth and the ability to attract ad spends is phenomenal.
Online networking: A screenshot of Bigadda.com.
That is one reason why BigAdda, the just-launched social networking site from the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, is setting its target at signing on 10 million consumers within the next three years, up from about 100,000 users now.
“While most people would think that our goals are rather optimistic, I have to say that a lot of things have changed. The number of Internet users in India is growing at a very rapid pace. And there is a lot of support from advertisers who are confident about putting their money in the online space,” says Rajesh Sawhney, president, Reliance Entertainment Pvt Ltd.
The website, which claims to bring, “the best of Orkut, MySpace, FaceBook and YouTube” to the Indian consumer, has the usual features that allow users to upload and share videos, music, photos, blogs and ‘scribbles’ among their communities.
The website, aimed largely at the users in the 15-25 years age bracket, will rely largely on advertising for revenue and is looking at exploring various advertising and branding opportunities, says Siddhartha Roy, chief operating officer, BigAdda.com. The website is available in English right now, but will soon be available in regional languages.
“We have introduced regional languages on the mobile. The next logical step would be to take it online,” says Roy.
The company has set aside an ad budget of Rs4-5 crore to promote the website and has already begun running television commercials.
The campaign is the first assignment for Ideas At Work—a creative shop set up by former Rediffusion DY&R Pvt. Ltd executives Zarvan Patel and Prashant Godbole. On the anvil are direct mailers and other promotions. The website is also using celebrities such as actor Dia Mirza to help drive communities on the site.