Ananya Saha
Mar 21, 2014

ad:tech 2014: ‘Chat apps have stayed ahead of the curve because they invested ahead of the curve’

Karim Temsamani, president, Apac operations, Google; and Raghav Bahl, founder and editor, Network 18, presented at the fourth edition of the tech convention

Karim Temsamani (L) and Raghav Bahl (R)
Karim Temsamani (L) and Raghav Bahl (R)

“The centre of gravity for internet is not America; rather it is being re-built in Asia,” said Karim Temsamani, president, Apac operations, Google. He was presenting a keynote to a full house at ad:tech 2014 that got underway in Gurgaon on 20 March.

Asian internet users, according to the speaker, were re-creating how they experience and access internet. With internet increasingly being accessed via mobile in Asia, Asian developers were also dominating the App development market, he said.

‘If you wait, you are too late’

By the end of 2014, the speaker noted that internet users in India would surpass the number in the US - and that the desktop would not matter for the 100 million users coming online next year.

“All new users will come from mobile devices,” he said, and urged marketers to take action now to reach the consumer coming on to the medium.

He further noted chat applications like Line and Whatsapp have stayed ahead of the curve only because they invested ahead of the curve. “With 70 million smartphones in India, it is not the right time to build apps now. It was last year. Benefits are obviously huge to start ahead. Most of the top apps in the market today have been built in Asia,” Temsamani explained.

He cited the example of Adidas touchscreen shopfront to enumerate how technology can be leveraged to attract consumers.

“A new internet needs new foundation. Hence, closing the content gap is critical,” he underlined. The speaker from Google also cautioned that the Indian market is behind when it comes to digitising its inventory, more so when it came to regional languages. “Less than 10 per cent of internet usage is in regional Indian languages,” he said.

The speaker also cited Google’s efforts to get more women online with its (helping women get online) platform. He added that the penetration of internet in India would be enhanced by availability of broadband and price point of devices.

‘Regional’ focus

Raghav Bahl, founder and editor, Network 18, spoke on the journey of Indian media and that of his own organisation.

On the current scenario, where a news break happens on Twitter first, Bahl said, “By 2008-‘09, the world was ready to announce the demise of textual world (newspaper). But only the paper on which the word is printed may die, the word has got a huge life with digital. The public media is getting enriched by personal media. What public media needs to learn from private media is what the audience wants to know.”

Referring to the Group’s recent acquisition of regional ETV channels, he concurred with Google’s Temsamani and said that regional languages would be the next threshold. That was the rationale behind Network 18’s launch of – the regional website, which is currently bi-lingual but would soon be introduced in other languages. Going forward, as Bahl informed, the regional language channels and the site would be synchronised to leverage synergies.

(Read more on News18 here.)

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