Meanwhile I was reading an interesting report in the Economic Times : “The size of the conventional music industry is around Rs 700 crore, according to a recent report by Ficci and PWC. By the end of this financial year, the mobile music industry is forecasting that it will be worth around Rs 720 crore, according to COAI.” (Cellular Operators Association of India).
I feel India centric Web 2.0 startups should focus on delivering innovative services to customers on mobiles. Two reasons for this:
1. The proliferation of cell phones-5 million new users every month
2. Correlation between mobile ownership and internet use
Let’s park Ajax,ROR,RIA and the rest of it aside for a moment.
What is at the heart of Web 2.0? The wrapper(Ajax,ROR etc.,) is important. However, we need to remember that “Architecture of participation” and “Collective Intelligence” are the core ideas to pursue.
My take is that Wave-I of India centric Web 2.0 services would need to focus on creatively harnessing content generated from mobiles(Text & Rich Media) and marrying that with mainstream media (News,Music,movie sites).User Generated Content is key to the success of the new generation web. Lower the entry barriers to content creation. Focus on the cell phone as a means for the user to publish content. We need to get beyond simply sending SMS alerts from sites and allowing users to take part in polls. Call this Web 1.5 if you wish, but I guess that’s where we are. SMS messages that scroll on Sun Music Network here in South India seems to be very popular with the college going crowd.
Where are we headed?
Television companies need to innovate along with the carriers to take this “user participation” to the next level. Sun Network is probably sitting on a gold mine. Think about their regional language 24 hour music channels, the number of calls they get and their database of user preferences. They could probably innovate on some kind of a customized entertainment content delivery through mobiles. They also need to start thinking of allowing users to share,repurpose the content ( How about a remixed ringtone? ). Some kind of a SMS-Television-IVR-Internet mechanism. How else do they enagage this mobile savvy community? What are the reasons they will collaborate for? These are some of the questions that need to be answered.
On the other side, we need to look at the mainstream media in local languages. Growing for sure, but it is still marginal. As more people get online(Rural+Urban) and when there is more mainstream and user generated content, there would be handful of startups like Baidu in China addressing the information glut problem.(Think local language search + aggregation and filtering tools). A tool like TaaZZa would be more relevant and thrive in such a scenario. I haven’t had a chance to look at TaaZZa yet but I am waiting to see how different it would be from TailRank kind of a service that helps me keep track of most popular India centric feeds based on my browsing habits? By the way, I enjoyed Amit Ranjan’s review of TaaZZa .
The bottomline is, an explosion in local mainstream content and user generated content + a critical mass of users online would be the prerequisites for news aggregation sites to flourish. And when there is local language content explosion it would open up a whole new world of challenges for India centric Web2.0 companies to work on.For now services that are mobile centric stand a good chance of succeeding.