Television

Internet & Online Association aims 100 m users by 2007

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MUMBAI: Indian portal biggies HT.com, Indiatimes.com, MSN.co.in, Rediff.com, Sify.com and Yahoo.co.in and the online media agency Mediaturf have come together to form a body called the Internet and Online Association (IOA). The IOA which was set in January this year was formally launched in Mumbai today.

IOA has set a target to get a 100 million Internet users in India by 2007.

IOA is a non-profit organisation which has been registered under the Societies Act, 1986 with the key objective of expanding and enhancing content and business realisation through online advertising, e-commerce and mobile advertising.

The executive council members of IOA include, chairman V V Kannan, joint vice chairman Neville Taraporewalla and V Ramani, secretary Upen Rai and treasurer Aninda Shome.

IOA hopes to achieve 100 million Internet users in India by 2007 through a multi-pronged strategy covering: mass communicating the time and cost savings generated by using the Internet, delivering best-in-class research and strategic inputs to the industry, encouraging the adoption of global standards and guidelines that increase customer confidence, marketing and promoting the industry by diseminating research and white papers, organising events and media campaigns, developing educational material through global and national partnerships to raise the level of knowledge among users and partnering with the government and trade bodies to inform and shape policies and legislations that affect the industry.

Speaking on the occasion, IOA chairman and Sify interactive services president V V Kannan said, "The impact of technology is seen only when it benefits a substantial portion of the population. We believe that the target of 100 million users by 2007 is possible and IOA will work towards this objective. At that size India will be one of the top five Internet markets in the world."

He further added, "The online industry depends on advertising as the major source of revenue. More and more marketers are using the Internet and we see the potential for a one billion rupees online advertising business in the next 12 months. With the increase in penetration, this can grow to a few billion in the next three years."

Commenting on IOA's objective of increasing direct value to members, IOA president Preeti Desai said, "IOA aims to empower Indians by setting up standards that encourage transparency and protect privacy. We are also committed to creating a secure, safe and dynamic environment for children and teenagers."

An upbeat Kannan said, "There should be a time in the future when people will talk about B.I. (Before Internet) and A.I. (After Internet) instead of B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (After Death).

Kannan said that the online revenue market has gone up from Rs 450 million last year to Rs one billion. Also on the agenda of IOA was to build consumer trust by setting up a standard that would encourage transparency and protect privacy.

The growth of the Indian online industry is projected at 2.5 per cent from 0.5 per cent of the total spends in the next three years.

IOA is looking at getting all the portals on board. Desai said, "The membership fee for IOA is Rs 400,000. We are looking at having all vertical, horizontal, niche and commerce portals on IOA. The membership fee is steep initially but we are looking at a lot of mobile and ecommerce initiatives, research in the near future and hence we are hoping that with revenue coming in from those channels, the membership fee will subsequently reduce."

IOA is a platform to build a strong online market and this organisation was born out of the desire to build a collaboration between various portals.

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