Monday, 30 November 2015

Digital Content Ideas and Partnerships

Getting the digital content and the business partnerships early on is important for the e-commerce. Quikr is following in the footsteps of Reliance Jio which is spending huge amounts on buying digital content. Quikr appears to be pivoting, as all major tech firms are, into platforms for all sorts of digital content and services. While Infibeam is on the hunt for startups with good ideas and partner with them for long term business partnerships.

Times of India reports that  online classifieds portal Quikr has announced its foray into the entertainment industry by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with renowned film industry veterans. As per the MoU, a joined entity will build first-of its-kind platform for actors, casting professionals, directors, producers and other segments of India's large film industry.

Partnering with third-generation film maker Vivek Bohra and casting director Aadore Mukherjee, who has films like Happy New Year and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag to her credit, the new platform will bring together actors, casting directors and production houses to help meet the unique needs of India's burgeoning entertainment industry. "Entertainment has always been one of the key categories on Quikr and we are now excited to take things to the next level. Both our partners Vivek Bohra and Aadore Mukherjee live and breathe films, and we are excited to partner with them to infuse the passion of film crazy India with our experience in building digital marketplaces," said Pranay Chulet, founder and chief executive officer, Quikr.

Also TOI reports that after investors and incubators, now business service providers too are betting big on the ongoing startup boom, offering new entrepreneurs all kinds of back-end support from patent protection to e-commerce infrastructure either free or at minimal charges. The idea is to build a strong client base for the future, say officials at consultancies and professional service providers in areas such as legal support, patent or trademark, management or HR, accounting or finance, e-commerce infrastructure and other ancillary services.

"Many of them are chasing startups ... as it's an established fact (norms) in business world that entrepreneurs do not usually change their old associations when it comes to accountants, lawyers, consultants or any other business associates," said Preet Deep Singh, founding partner at Ahmedabad-based Aperio Management LLP, which provides management advisory to several startups including babysteps, Wockito,, Konnectz and LawToons.

Many startup entrepreneurs while possessing a high potential idea have no clue on how to implement it or the nitty-gritties of starting a business. Take the case of Arthi Ramalingam, who recently passed out of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. She opted out of campus placement to start her own fashion startup -- Neons Fashion LLP. Now, she didn't have enough funds to start her own e-commerce and bring it to potential customers' notice. So she approached Ahmedabad-based e-commerce player, which provides its Buildabazaar marketplace free for a year for select startups under its entrepreneurial programme.

Under this initiative, Infibeam provides end-to-end e-commerce infrastructure and other support services for successful operation for select 10 business ideas. And what does it get in return? "The proposed program will help Infibeam to acquire merchants at early stage and build sustainable competitive advantage by driving deep user engagement, personalization and loyalty," said Vishal Mehta, chairman and managing director at In other words, a successful entrepreneur on its platform would bring more business to Infibeam and will retain with it for long run.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Li-Fi Lightspots for Smarter Cities

Li-Fi light-spots as opposed to wi-fi hotspots in smart cities?

BBC News reports "A new method of delivering data, which uses the visible spectrum rather than radio waves, has been tested in a working office. Li-fi can deliver internet access 100 times faster than traditional wi-fi, offering speeds of up to 1Gbps (gigabit per second). It requires a light source, such as a standard LED bulb, an internet connection and a photo detector. It was tested this week by Estonian start-up Velmenni, in Tallinn. Velmenni used a li-fi-enabled light bulb to transmit data at speeds of 1Gbps. Laboratory tests have shown theoretical speeds of up to 224Gbps. It was tested in an office, to allow workers to access the internet and in an industrial space, where it provided a smart lighting solution."

SJP @DigitalAsian

Saturday, 28 November 2015

E-commerce Progressing Through Partnerships

Partnerships mater in e-commerce - Paytm seems to be progressing on the basis of the partnerships it is forging.

Times of India reports that LendingKart, a credit evaluation and loan platform, has tied up with Paytm, to offer collateral free loans to SMEs and sellers through the mobile payments wallet. This step aims at working towards bringing ease of financial assistance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and merchants across the country, Lendingkart said in a statement. The company aims at simplifying the credit evaluation process, through efficient use of technology, making loan disbursement in three days at fair interest rates, it said. "The benefits we provide at Lendingkart allow the entrepreneurs to focus on building their businesses instead of worrying about gaps in their cash-flows," Lendingkart chief executive Harshvardhan Lunia said.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Digital India needs more cybersecurity

Digital India needs more cybersecurity. India appears to be an easy target for cyber attacks.

Times of India reports that India is increasingly on the radar of cyber-criminals from countries like China, Russia and the US, who are using advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks to steal data from consumers and enterprises, security software firm Kaspersky has said. APT refers to a format where the attacker gains access to a network/device and stays there undetected for a long period of time. The motive of the attack is to steal data and there is a longer term damage to the organization/user.

"APT attacks are on the rise globally and those affecting India are also growing. These attacks are originating from China, the US and Russia among other countries. A major chunk of the attacks like Equation, Turla, Darkhotel, Regin, Cloud Atlas infected India as well," Kaspersky Lab deputy director of global research and analysis team, Sergey Novikov told reporters. He added that while there were three APT announcements in 2012, the number grew to seven in 2013, 11 in 2014 and 10 in the first half of 2015. 

"As more and more devices get connected to the internet/network, the level of sophistication of these attacks is also on the rise," he said. Novikov said the line of distinction between state- sponsored cyberattacks and those by criminal gangs is diminishing as similar techniques often get used.

Also, Tamil Nadu governor K Rosaiah has expressed concern over reports of cyberattacks being funded by "certain nations and terrorist outfits," and called for protecting IT assets by giving priority to strengthen cybersecurity. In his inaugural address at a conference titled 'Cyber Security - Prepare or Pay,' he said the awareness about cyberthreats at the board level was still lacking, which he said was a matter of concern.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Going Native on Social Media: Digital Advertising Evolves

Digital advertisers and ePublishers are having to deal with shorter attention spans and ad blocking software. It was reported recently that Yahoo blocked some email users from seeing their email where hey were using ad blocking software.

As a result digital advertisers now pursuing native advertising where they attach their brands with bloggers and web content creators. Native ads look similar to editorial content produced by traditional ePublishers but may say its sponsored by a particular brand.

Digital Advertisers are also turning more to social media advertising where spending will dramatically increase.

Cybersecurity Cat and Mouse: Better Encryption Needed

Arguments for stronger encryption are growing with increasingly growing concerns over privacy and cybersecurity.

Times of India reports that US retailers are hunting for evidence of new breaches leading into the holiday shopping season after a cyber intelligence firm privately warned them about payment-card-stealing malware that it said evades almost all security software. "This is by far the most sophisticated point-of-sale malware seen to date," said Maria Noboa, lead technical analyst for privately held iSight Partners, which uncovered the malware and was due to release a technical report about it.

The firm had shared information about the malware, dubbed ModPOS, with clients in October, and briefed dozens of companies, including retailers, hospitality companies and payment-card processors, about its dangers. Retailers began hunting for the malware in the approach to this week's unofficial launch of the holiday shopping season, the busiest time of the year for most merchants, according to the Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center (R-CISC), an industry group set up this year to fight hackers.

Retailers have been fending off increasingly sophisticated payment-card theft schemes for more than a decade. The biggest breaches to date include a notorious 2013 holiday-shopping-season attack on Target Corp and a major breach at Home Depot Inc, each of which compromised tens of millions of payment card numbers. ISight declined to say how it uncovered the ModPOS threat or name any targeted retailers.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Undiplomatic Brand Ambassadors: More Digital Diplomacy required

When brand ambassadors, for e-commerce firms, are perceived to be undiplomatic, the firm can suffer very quickly online. Digital damage limitation.

Times of India reports that Snapdeal, the e-commerce giant engulfed in the controversy over actor Aamir Khan's remarks on rising intolerance in the country has issued a statement. In a press statement, the Gurgaon-based e-tailer said, "Snapdeal is neither connected nor plays a role in comments made by Aamir Khan in his personal capacity. Snapdeal is a proud Indian company built by passionate young Indians focused on building an inclusive digital India. Everyday we are positively impacting thousands of small businesses and millions of consumers in India. We will continue towards our mission of creating one million successful online entrepreneurs in India."

Ratings for Snapdeal's app on Google Play Store took a beating on Tuesday, as thousands of people took to social media to voice their discontent over Aamir Khan's remarks against growing intolerance in the country. Apart from giving the app a one-star rating, users also begun running a campaign on social media titled #AppWapsi that urged people to delete the app from their smartphones.

Battle against ad blocking continues

Clearly ad blocking is not deterring Nielsen from providing digital ad measuring system for advertisers and agencies.

Times of India reports that global marketing research firm Nielsen has launched India's first digital advertisement measurement system that will help marketers in the country find out the return on investment of their campaigns on the Internet and mobile platforms. The Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) system can measure all kinds of display and video ads across all digital platforms except Twitter and YouTube app on mobile phones and tablets, Nielsen India officials said, adding that these two platforms will soon be integrated with its digital tool. 

"The new system will help advertisers and agencies gauge return on investment for every rupee they spend online," said Prashant Singh, managing director at Nielsen India. The new system can measure online advertising audiences, reach and frequency of digital ad campaigns, and gross rating points (GRP) of the ads like age group and gender of the audience who viewed the ad. DAR is already operational in more than a dozen countries including the US, China, Brazil and France. Social media giant Facebook provides backend support and big data information to help Nielsen publish the report in all the markets except China where local firm Tencent partners the market tracker.

Fear of Disruption Driving Firms to Invest in Ideas

The fear of tech disruption is making firms from many industries invest in the search for ideas. There is also news that SEBI is finalising rules to allow e-commerce platforms, such as Flipkart, to sell financial products online.

Economic Times reports that financial services firm Edelweiss is tapping engineering students for innovative technologies and has created an internal board that is evaluating ideas such as peer-to-peer lending to avoid being disrupted.

The fear of technological disruption has reached the boards of large companies, which are now trying to join the startup boom, either through funding or collaborations. Edelweiss is open to trying both, the company's technology chief told ET, as not all innovative ideas can come from inside. 

"We have a programme called Edelweiss Springboard. We go to engineering colleges and ask students to come up with innovative ideas for our business using few technologies. If the idea has potential, we will mentor the shortlisted teams in implementing their ideas and reward the successful ones," Kalpana Maniar, president and chief information officer of Edelweiss Financial Services, said in an interview. 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Idea India on Spectrum Shopping Spree

Idea India buys spectrum in readiness for 4G digital content services to compete with the likes of Jio.

Times of India reports that in the first spectrum trading deal of the country, Idea Cellular has signed a pact with Videocon Telecommunications to buy its airwaves in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh West for Rs 3,310 crore.

Idea said it intends to use this spectrum for the launch of 4G services in these areas next year. Along with the right to use spectrum, Idea will also be taking over the outstanding liability of Videocon, which it has to pay to government for these set of airwaves.

Idea Cellular in a statement said it has entered "into an agreement with Videocon Telecommunications Limited (Seller) for acquiring right to use spectrum, pursuant to the DoT 'Guidelines for Trading of Access Spectrum by Access Service Providers' (Guidelines) dated October 12, 2015, for the telecom service areas of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh (West)."

Digital Content in India gets all Jio-Political

Reliance is spending huge amounts on buying up digital content to bundle with its Jio services. Reliance has the financial clout to do this and to make Jio not just a communications company but a digital services firm to try to push out the competition.

Economic Times reports that Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Jio Infocomm plans to position itself as a digital content company to make it distinct from other mobile phone operators in an intensely competitive market. Content-streaming packages will be the key element of this strategy, people familiar with the matter told ET. 

The Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) unit plans to bundle this with bandwidth and talk time, in contrast with rivals that offer data and voice packs. Some companies offer bundled access to social networks such as WhatsApp and Facebook for a fixed sum and period, the only products that come close to what Jio is said to be planning. 

A Jio package will allow a subscriber to watch, for instance, five movies a month or watch a cricket match live without having to pay for the data download separately. A transaction on Jio's payments bank platform will subsidise the connectivity, the people said. This means a customer doesn't have to worry about rates for data or voice — these will be included along with content purchases. 

"The company's internal calculations show that even in this (content) model, it should have monetisation of 60-80 per GB of data consumed. Jio has lined up applications such as chat, money, and television to back up its digital strategy," one of the people said. Companies currently offer 1 GB of data for 150 to 200. 

Much of Jio's marketing effort will be focused on the content-driven strategy, although the company will have to offer other plans offering data bundled with voice. At the RIL annual general meeting in June, chairman Ambani had said the pricing of 300-400 a month would buy adequate data on the Jio network for calling and Internet surfing, roughly a third of current market rates and a potential threat to leaders Bharti Airtel, Idea and Vodafone.

SJP @DigitalAsian

Monday, 23 November 2015

BAT for India: Chinese Firms looking at more Indian Startup Investments

Foreign interest in India's startup economy is growing. With other investment destinations becoming less viable, India's startup ecosystem is looking like a better option.

Economic Times reports that a new group of investors — Chinese in origin — is poised to step in as investors of choice for Indian startups, taking the place of some of the country's biggest venture capital firms that are becoming more cautious about writing large cheques. 

Baidu, Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings, collectively known as BAT, have been scouting in India for a year for startups to invest in, to take advantage of potential opportunities in the world's third-largest smartphone market, several investors and entrepreneurs ET spoke to said. 

While Alibaba and Tencent have already ploughed in millions, questions, however, have stacked up about their focus and investment strategies for Asia's second-largest economy.

"India is the last big frontier for the global mobile Internet," said Vikram Vaidyanathan, managing director at Matrix Partners India. "BAT as global heavyweights will definitely play a role in shaping this ecosystem. Given their investment track record and deep sector expertise, I think many Indian startups would welcome their participation. 

The growing interest in India comes at an opportune time for BAT, with venture capital investors realigning their portfolios as several startups are struggling to sustain or grow.

SJP @DigitalAsian

Sunday, 22 November 2015

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Digital Bollywood: The Value of Digital Content

Digitising Bollywood. Bollywood has the content that digital platforms need to attract customers.

Economic Times reports that prominent Bollywood big names are lining up to sprinkle stardust on startups by trading their creative prowess for equity stakes in up and coming companies. An amalgam of actors, writers and directors has come up with an unprecedented plan to join the startup action by creating top quality advertising content in exchange for stakes of up to 3-4%. 

The prime mover on behalf of Bollywood is Sunil Bohra, the producer of award-winning films such as Shahid and Gangs of Wasseypur. The maiden project will start next month with an undisclosed startup. "(We will be) high on content, low on cost," said Bohra, 43, who makes films under the Bohra Bros banner. 

Startups have raised billions of dollars and are among the biggest spenders on marketing and advertising, making them an attractive hunting ground for those looking to cash in on the opportunity. 

So far this year, Indian startups have raised over $4.5 billion (Rs 30,000 crore), and TAM data show that the country's top 50 ecommerce companies spent Rs 1,200 crore on television advertising just between July and September this year. 

Bohra will be teaming up with National Award-winning director Hansal Mehta under the banner of BB Digital, the startup-focussed entity. From creating advertisements for all platforms digital, electronic and print and promoting the product among noted directors, producers and actors to advising startups on clearly identifying their target audience, the venture will provide a package of services. "The desire to nurture new talent has always excited me. It is a platform to create opportunities for new people to showcase their talent," said Mehta, 47, who won the Golden Lotus National Film Award for directing Shahid. "I feel privileged to be part of this process." 

Friday, 20 November 2015

Taxi Trouble in Mumbai - Mumbai Photos - Idea India

CXOs Increase Content Marketing for eCommerce

Content is King in eCommerce?

Economic Times publishes an article which reports that over the last five years, eCommerce has exploded in India primarily due to the rise in mobile Internet access and improvements across payment and delivery infrastructures. A study by Deloitte earlier this year pegged the value of the eCommerce market in India at $16 billion for 2015 - that's a staggering 300% increase from $4 billion in 2010. 

This revolution, initially driven by eCommerce pure plays like SnapDeal, FlipKart and Myntra, has fundamentally changed the way many Indian consumers behave, providing more traditional, offline focused businesses with a wake-up call, and further driving them to build strategies that ensure they are able to engage with consumers wherever they are. 

At the same time Content Marketing has become an increasingly important part of the marketer's toolkit and, when CXO Today interviewed 380 Indian CMO's, 84% of them said they would be increasing their content marketing budget in 2015. Subsequently, there has been a lot of attention paid to how eCommerce and Content Marketing fit together. 

A commonly held belief, and one that I was exposed to when I ran Apple's eCommerce affiliate partnerships in Asia Pacific, is that eCommerce is all about getting the highest number of sales at the lowest cost per acquisition and that Content Marketing is not the most efficient way to do this. This limited view leads to a larger percentage of advertising budgets being directed towards the bottom of the "sales funnel" to convert existing demand to sales, but not enough towards building affinity and demand via a meaningful dialogue and long-term connection with customers. It is the digital equivalent of asking someone to marry you on the first date. 

Indian brands are now creating more content than ever before and this is particularly applicable around the festive season, when digital brands really step up their activity to elevate themselves in consumers' minds. There are great examples of brands using content to engage, build recognition and ultimately drive demand amongst consumers. Hindustan Unilever has its hub, which layers together a wealth of health and beauty content with relevant products in order to create real value for its consumers. Elsewhere, United Spirits uses its brand neutral hub to provide interesting articles on lifestyle, parties and drink recipes: areas that are synonymous with the brands it represents. 

Patel Rap USA

A very troubling news item has come from Alabama, America about excessive force used by Police against Mr. Sureshbhai Patel which left him partially paralysed. 

More than the force used by the Police, which is indefensible, is what this incident says about the thinking of the person who first called the Police. 

See BBC News 

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Billion Breakthrough: India's Opportunity

The next major milestone for India Inc is the inclusion of what author C. K. Prahalad refers to as the 'Bottom of the Pyramid' - the largest and poorest of the socio-economic group. Tech startups in particular have a massive opportunity to market to a huge audience in India. The Indian government's aim of financial inclusion creates opportunities for nimble fintech startups to take a lead in this field. This market is India's biggest opportunity.