eNewss.com is glad to get an oppurtunity to talk to Anurag Gupta who has extensive experience in diverse industries. Anurag also maintains a blog and mostly writes about Internet in India. You can access it here http://anuraggupta.blogspot.com/
eNewss) Give us a brief introduction about you and your work.
Anurag) I am an MBA from one of India’s premier institute – IIM Ahmedabad 1989 batch with more than 17 years of rich work experience across diverse industries. – FMCG, Office Automation, Stock Broking, Yellow Pages and now Internet.
I have recently joined India’s leading Interactive Agency – Mediaturf in Delhi as Exec VP & Director. My mandate is to set up the Northern operations and more importantly to take Mediaturf’s business to next level by aggressively foraying into newer areas like Search marketing, Mobile marketing, Retail advertising and Affiliate marketing. Prior to joining Mediaturf, I worked for 4 years with one of India’s largest Internet Company – Indiatimes.com. I was instrumental in creating and heading the “Subscriptions” business. Starting in February 2003 with a single product Indiatimes Meramail, the business today has a very large number of paid users across varied products with many of them becoming leaders in their categories. I also led Indiatimes’ foray into education by launching testing services at www.testcentre.indiatimes.com . The aim was to eventually offer a full services education portal. You can refer to some of the products that I handle at http://business.indiatimes.com – these are essentially on similar lines as Yahoo Small business products aimed at enabling and facilitating businesses online.
eNewss) I keep hearing people saying that India lacks enough people with management/managerial skills. Is this true? If true, what are the reasons for it? How are we tackling this problem?
Anurag) India with its 1 billion population has a potential of having a huge employable base of people.
India anyways has a huge talent pool. For the first time in India’s history due to the booming economic growth we are facing shortage of talent in a few high growth industries. Internet is one of them.
It is a demand and supply phenomenon and I am sure market forces will correct this automatically over a period of time. More and more people are doing professional courses / management courses.
eNewss) Most of your blogs are about Internet in India. Why do you think internet population in India is much smaller/insignificant compared to other countries that matter? Are government policies to be blamed?
Anurag) You can see the glass as half empty or half full. Agreed India’s internet population at 43 million users is not near US & China, but at a 5% month-on-month it is a very compelling & lucrative market.
eNewss) We see so much going on with Online video and people are able to see full length bollywood movies on computer. With so many emerging technologies, where do you think people will spend more time in future? TV or Computer?
Will TV over take Computer in future assuming technologies which can feed data to TV for display mature?
Anurag) To watch a full length movie through IP, you need speeds FAR in excess of what we today get even in the name of Broadband!! Eventually as we see speeds improving we will definitely see content being delivered across different pipes / carriers to different devices. People will definitely start spending more time on PCs that they are doing currently.
Having said that, if we look at the past, no new media has been able to REPLACE completely an older existing media. Going forward, I definitely envisage Internet taking a large slice of the share of total media consumption of a user. This share will definitely come from two main sources – firstly an increase per se of TOTAL MEDIA CONSUMPTION & secondly shift from existing mediums like TV & Print.
enewss) What is the status of Internet in India? So far Internet means emails, chatting and web surfing. When will this crowd start doing buisiness online? Why is it not picking up now?
Anurag) Not correct if you see posts on my blog, I have been talking about activities beyond email, chat & news consumption.
Activities that have really grown are:
1)Online Stock broking: http://anuraggupta.blogspot.com/2006/04/online-stock-broking-on-way-to.html
2)Searching for Jobs / Matrimonials: http://anuraggupta.blogspot.com/2006_03_01_anuraggupta_archive.html
3)Online travel: http://anuraggupta.blogspot.com/2006/11/online-travel-india-size-of-business.html
4)Online Banking: More than 5 million people are using Internet Banking in India now
5)Online Video Rentals :
6)Web 2.0 activities: http://anuraggupta.blogspot.com/2006/10/web-20-companies-in-india.html
Though I agree eCommerce per se of “Bazaar” items has not taken off in a big way yet (http://anuraggupta.blogspot.com/2006/02/online-shopping-in-india.html ), but I am sure this will also change in the next couple of years.
eNewss) Barriers to entry to do business online is too low now and may even get cheaper by time. Do you see these businesses making profits and generate free cash flows any time in future? What was your experience w.r.t making profits at Indiatimes.com and presently mediaturf?
Anurag) There are a fair amount of Indian Internet companies that are making money now – Naukri just got listed post their IPO and is currently trading at almost 100% premium to their offer price!!
I understand a clutch of companies like Indiatimes, Rediff, Shaadi, Bharat Matrimony & Mediaturf are also making money. So are 3-4 online stock broking companies.
Follow up) Do you see these companies making incremental revenue for the next 5 years?
I see these companies growing their profits at almost 100% year on year. This is beauty of an Internet model, once the business model is set then incremental revenues come at a far lower incremental cost.
eNewss) Give us brief introduction to Mobile marketing and online education in India.
Anurag) One has been hearing of internet companies as well as existing brick and mortar education businesses foraying into the eLearning space. I has launched an initiative from Indiatimes (www.testcentre.indiatimes.com)
There are 3 distinct value propositions of Online education:
A) Testing – Internet allows taking mock tests and give results immediately – both in absolute terms (percentage marks scored) as well as relative terms (percentiles). This is a huge benefit and a natural reason why testing can & will be big on Internet. Indiatimes Test Centre is one of the players here.
B) Distance Learning: Existing brick and mortar education organizations have begun looking at this space – NIIT has been an early mover, one also hears of Career Launcher & Educomp (eLearning enabler)
Going forward I am personally very bullish on the scope of online Education in India.
eNewss) Does search marketing produce any business in India?
Anurag) Yes of course, Search marketing has already taken a 30% market share of the total online advertising business in India. The ENTIRE & ONLY proposition of Search is “Performance”. Google has not become world’s most valuable media company without delivering performance!!
eNewss) Cost of opening and manning retail outlets in prime locations are getting higher and higher. Do you think DELL like business model is feasible in India and would bring down the prices?
Anurag) Real estate & manpower costs are still lower in India compared to the western countries. You are absolutely right in your observations that the costs of building & operating retail stores is getting higher.
However, organized retailing in India is almost non existent and it contributes to not more than 3% of the total retailing happening in India. So the way to see ecommerce is not as a competition to brick & mortar retailing on costs yet, but on the pegs of convenience & empowerment of consumers to make informed choices (comparison shopping)
Interview with Anurag concludes.
eNewss thanks Anurag for spending some time with us and talking to our readers.
Also you can find all blogs from Anurag Gupta on enewss at http://www.enewss.com/index.php?search=anuraggupta
We wish him good luck in all his future endeavours.