On his first trip to India, Gregory Coleman, vice- president, global sales, Yahoo! Inc., seemed quite excited about the growth opportunities here. Along with the online space, Coleman is quite focused on mobile marketing, too, which he says is the future of the industry.
In this interview with Mint, Coleman talks about the trends in the industry, both globally and in India. Excerpts:
What are the trends in online advertising in the US and how do they compare with India?
The Internet ad market is growing at a robust rate of 35% globally. In the US, the Internet accounts for 15% of all media consumption and attracts about 6% of ad spends. However, in India, it accounts for approximately 10-12% of media consumption and less than 1% share in ad spends. This wide gap between time spent (on the Internet) and ad spends is a great opportunity for us.
How is the mobile advertising and content industry shaping up?
Today, there are two billion mobile devices in use globally, and in the next two-and-a-half-years, it will grow to four billion. What we are seeing is that the technology and the platform for both—content and advertising—are reaching a point where they can offer the user a very good experience on the cellphone. We need to take that great experience and turn it into great opportunities for our marketers.
At Yahoo, we have got a team of about 250 people dedicated to mobile, mobile-products, mobile-marketing and just thinking through the experience of what takes place online and how we could take that to the mobile phone.
What is the potential for mobile marketing in India?
Our forecast is that mobile growth will be four times that of the PC growth. But consumers will not access the Internet through their mobile phones if it is cumbersome to get a stock quote, or for that matter, the cricket score. The fact is that consumers have come to expect it on the PC and now they want it everywhere they go. The needs of the consumer will drive what we create on mobile devices.
What are Yahoo’s India plans?
I really can’t tip my hat, except to say that over the next year, Yahoo will focus on unveiling a number of media properties in this market. Right now, we are very strong in mail and messenger, but we need more media products in finance, sports, entertainment and news, among other things. We are planning our product roadmaps right now, so these are very exciting times. I told my team in India that there will be a time very soon, when we will see our current revenues multiply five times.
That’s how explosive the growth is going to be.