Wednesday, June 28, 2006

3Cs of Digital Consumers - Is Content still King ?

What drives people to the Internet? Typically usage is driven by needs that are popularly labeled as falling into the either of the 3Cs – To "Connect” - To consume “Content” or to transact for “Commerce” services.

I estimate the following percentages of total quantum of usage (page views) in India:

Connect: 70-75%
Content : 20-25% (Includes Classifieds – Jobs, matrimony etc)
Commerce : 5%


One to one contact or one to many / many to one community applications like Email, Messenger , Chat , Clubs, Social & business networking, User generated content services (Blogs, Wikipedia, etc.), Picture sharing (Flickr, etc).

Almost 100% of users use Internet for one or more of “connect” services. Email is the most dominant activity. Importantly enough, community tools such as social networking and photo sharing are extremely popular with the 15-25 age group

Most of the “connect” services are being offered free to users and are being used as “gateways” to acquire users. Monetisation of these users happens through serving advertisements while they use these services or through getting them to do commercial transactions by delivering them paid content, services & product offerings.


I estimate that today only 20-25% users in India are coming to Internet for consuming content pushed by publishers. I have also taken all classifieds services into this category. A recent study done by IAMAI indicates that there are currently 6.1 million job seekers online. On a base of 38 million users this translates into 16% of internet users coming for seeking jobs online!

I have not taken into consideration porn sites.

With social web 2.0 and increasing amount of consumer generated content proliferating internet (Blogs, Wikipedia etc.) on one side and on the other side the dominant gateway for acquiring customers being Connect services. “Content being king” seems to be a little irrelevant today. Any comments ?


IAMAI in one of their studies conducted in April 2005 have estimated following:

Internet users in India : 25 million
Number of B2C transactions in Year 2005-06 : 0.8 million.

If we were to take on an average 2 transactions per customer in a year, we will get 0.45 million unique transacting users. Translating into less than 2% share of 25 million total internet users. I think that they have not taken stock broking into account. If we take stock broking, then I estimate that currently, just about 5% of total Internet users are getting into paid relationships with portals, there of course needs to be a larger set of merchants, merchandise and services that need to be offered to the consumers. I have written about this in an earlier post as well.

As Indians get more used to getting their daily news fix online and get more comfortable using their credit card, there would be a quantum leap in terms of users and pageviews. However, over the next few years services that allow users to “Connect” will continue to remain the dominant tool for acquisition of new customers to the Internet. The portals that are able to gather more such customers will be winners in the long term.


Sajal said...

The nature of content is definitely changing , the friend journalist is taking over. The fallout is that society is openly voicing their option .

web 2.0 is all about content but of a social nature .

Amit Ranjan said...

Hi Anurag,

The 3C model makes a sense but it may be slightly more aligned to more mature internet oriented societies. I remember reading an article somewhere which argued that the dimensions of digital content are captured in what is known as ICE- information, communication and entertainment. That may be more relevant to the Indian case. The difference between the two is marginal and is mostly decided by the granularity of the factors invoked.

I enjoy reading you blog since it focuses on the Indian internet scene.



Ashish Tomar said...

No quetsion, content is king but the presenttaion of that contnet is also very important.

I really believe that people managing Internet media companies in India need to learn a thing or a two about the usability.

Pop up ads, scrolling text.....I cant believe that smart people like you don't understand the users need of a clean presentation.

Ravi Venkatraman said...

Trend these days is to merge the Connect and Content into one "space".
MySpace has executed this very well.
In Indian Context Sulekha and IndiaGrid is working towards acheiving the same.

Anurag Gupta said...

Hi Amit - Your point on ICE is well taken. However "Content" according to me means both Information & Entertainment. Moreover since I track business / monetisation opportunities - "Commerce" is extremely important which does not get covered by ICE.

Also, instead of "Communication" I have used "Connect" services as this is more apt description of services under the Social Web 2.0

Hi Ashish - The point I was trying to make with the numbers under various kinds of services is that "Content is NOT king". However you have raised a very valid point of presentation of content / usability which I agree with you that most of the Indian sites are very poor at.

Hi Ravi - Excellent point that connect and content services are being rolled into one like "Myspace". However, my point was to differentiate between publisher generated / aggregated content and user generated content - like Blogs and even Myspace. I will like to look at user generated content under Connect / Community services.

sri said...

Content is king only if it is well managed, directed and organized. I was a blogger too and started proliferating my opinions at wish on indiatimes, and in forums too. Soon i relaized that there should an effort to categorize the quality content and feed it to hungry surfers. This effort should be a dedicated effort. For 4 years, i have been all over message boards writing lots of messages about stocks. I have also relaized how dangerous those places are with all sorts of misinformation floating around. I have lost money believing in those posted messages.
Unless there is some sort of filtering and aggregating in the blog world, real benefits cannot be relized from blogosphere. That is why i slowed down on blogging and started working on

best regards

manuscrypts said...

user generated content too falls under the broad purview of content... hence content is still king.. only its not the same content anymore... also, as the medium's maturity increases, dont you think its usage will also change.. eg. a new application (for lack of a better example) like internet TV could alter the ratios? mobile moving from just talk and sms to meatier downloads?

Anonymous said...

Add the 4th C, Customer service.

Meramail customers will vouch that.

Congratulations on your new assignment

Nitin Bhovan said...

May be you can include and too.

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