It’s a space many media and advertising houses want a toehold in. With good reason. If projections of media services major ZenithOptimedia are anything to go buy, the online advertising market in India is expected to touch Rs 2,250 crore by 2009, and will account for 6.8 per cent of the entire advertising pie (in 2007, the ad spend on the internet is expected to be Rs 450 crore). Such numbers have put the independent agencies that create this advertising in the limelight—and in the sights of the big networks.
Last fortnight, WPP Digital made an acquisition in the internet marketing space by acquiring a 75 per cent stake in Smile Interactive’s Quasar Media, a provider of digital media services, amongst other related services like search marketing and optimisation, mobile marketing and e-commerce.
A few days later it was the turn of another digital major, WebChutney, to offload a stake (both the percentage of equity and the sale amount have not been disclosed), this time to the venture capital arm of Network 18, a media and entertaimment mega-corp.
Whilst Quasar has chosen to align with a global network, WebChutney appears determined to be on its own, preferring to rely on venture capital funding.
“With this investment, we can continue to operate independently in an environment where digital agencies face an increasing pressure to align themselves with established networks,” said Sidharth Rao, CEO & Co-founder, Webchutney. Network 18’s entry allows investors like Russian Hill Ventures and other angel investors to exit in this round of investment.