FameBox launches Exclusive Video Blog with Harsha Bhogle

famebox

fameboxFameBox, a multi-channel talent platform for digital media, has launched a new video blog in collaboration with Harsha Bhogle. Renowned cricket commentator and public speaker, Harsha Bhogle will share his views and insights on cricket and its legends on ‘Out of the Box with Harsha’.  To begin with, the blog pays tribute to iconic Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar who recently announced his retirement from international cricket.  In the Sachin Tendulkar series of videos Harsha Bhogle talks about interesting moments and anecdotes about the cricketer starting from his early playing years.

The video blog will be hosted on the FameBox Cricket channel on YouTube. Harsha will post a new video every week and will also regularly interact with his fans over social media to create conversations around the blog.

“The video blog is an interesting new media form. It captures the essence of television without losing the easy informality of a conversation.  Through these video blogs I will be hoping, effectively, to have informal conversations with you.  These are new emerging mediums and they present fresh challenges.  I do hope you like them.” said Harsha Bhogle. The video blog is part of a larger effort at developing Harsha Bhogle’s digital presence and the soon to be launched www.harshabhogle.com.

FameBox provides a platform for established and emerging talentto develop an active and engaged community around their digital video content.  ‘Out of the Box with Harsha’ is the first of such initiatives where FameBox will collaborate with popular and industry leading personalities to launch digital video properties.

“We are elated that Harsha Bhogle has chosen FameBox to share his insights of cricket and give viewers an up close view of its legends with his fans.  The video blog is an absolute delight for any cricket fan and presents a unique opportunity for fans to directly interact with Harsha as well as join the ongoing conversation around cricket,” said Dhruvank Vaidya, Head – Business Development and Finance, Four Cross Media, who will also head the FameBox business.“Digital video is being increasingly seen as a powerful medium for advertisers to connect and interact with their audiences. At FameBox, we are passionate about developing a wide range of content across genres, cultivating talent and taking existing talent to new heights. We will continue to provide more such opportunities to advertisers and audiences,” he added.

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Worldwide Smartphone Shipments Reach a Record 250m in Q3 2013

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smartphoneAccording to a recent report by Juniper Research, the number of smartphone shipments exceeded a quarterly record of 250 million in Q3 2013, representing a y-o-y growth of almost 49% from Q3 2012, and q-o-q growth of 10%. The report found that ndset maker Samsung now accounts for a third of all smartphones shipped with an estimated 85 million smartphones. Driven by  an increase of smartphone sales in both Premium and Economy segments, Samsung reported a 26% growth in profit.

As per the report, the iPhone accounted for 1 in 7 smartphone shipments during Q3 2013, representing a quarterly growth of 8% from Q2 2013. According to Juniper, Apple and Samsung will continue to dominate the global market, shipping 17% more smartphones in 2018 than were shipped globally by all vendors in 2012.

Nokia shipped a record 8.8 million Lumia devices and nearly 6 million Asha smartphones in Q3 2013, together exceeding LG for the second time this year. LG maintained its smartphone shipment pace compared to the previous quarter, shipping another 12 million in Q3 2013, representing a 24% increase year-over-year. While BlackBerry shipped only 3.7 million units, Huawei, ZTE and LG together shipped over 37 million smartphones in Q3 2013, accounting for a combined market share of 15%.

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BuyingIQ spearheading the Indian comparison shopping market with 750,000 monthly users

BuyingIQ

BuyingIQWhile online shopping is picking up in India, the influence of Internet on consumer decision making is increasing at a much faster rate. The Internet influences over 30B USD consumer spending in India which is as much as ~ 5X the size of the Indian Ecommerce market.

When it comes to Internet influence, the impact on electronic buying decision ranks at the top. In 2012, as many  as 35 million Indians researched online before purchasing an electronic product. This research before buying is essentially aimed at answering some of these specific questions – which product to buy? Is this the best available price? Is the seller trustworthy? What are my other options other than this product? What is the opinion among people about this product? and so on…

BuyingIQ, an intelligent shopping engine is one such player enabling electronic shoppers make smarter buying decisions on the Internet.

Founded by IIT Delhi-BITS Pilani alumni in Nov 2012, BuyingIQ at present attracts over 750,000 visitors monthly, growing by ~40% month-on-month.

The team is being led by Piyush Taneja and Saumitra Purohit. Piyush has a B.Tech from IIT Delhi while Saumitra has an Integrated Masters from BITS Pilani. Both of them had a consulting job at PwC India before they founded BuyingIQ.

Although there are some other players with similar offering in the market, BuyingIQ scores over the competition by performing on the following aspects:

Deal Comparison and not Price comparison – Price comparison is misleading most of the times as it doesn’t consider discount coupons and other freebies available from the seller. BuyingIQ claims to have price data with over 98% accuracy and it further lists all the necessary details like additional offers and discount coupons made available by the seller all put together in one place. This helps the user make a comprehensive deal to deal comparison and not just price comparison which otherwise can be quite misleading for a user, hence providing a much more rewarding shopping experience. Demo – Price Comparison

Alternatives Recommendation Tool – BuyingIQ offers its users an alternative recommendation tool which performs an algorithmic driven comparison of products taking into account – product specifications, user response and popularity of the product to recommend the user with best alternative products available in the market for a product they are interested in. These alternative product recommendations can further be personalized by the user on the basis of specific feature he/she is interested in. Demo – Product Recommendation

Other differentiators being a huge in-depth electronic product catalogue; better in-site search and navigation; and a very elegant and optimized UX – which has ensured large first-time customer retention and a very fast growing, organically driven user base.

In the next few weeks, BuyingIQ plans to release a major product upgrade with community driven features at the heart of, it and plans to release its Android and iOS app by early next year. The current revenue revenue streams for BuyingIQ are in the form of online affiliate partners and display a networks. The company is working on developing newer revenue streams by venturing into data analytics – ecommerce price intelligence service and physical retail listing.

Although the company is currently cash flow positive, BuyingIQ seeks to raise a round of funding to focus on product development, extend its reach across various mobile platforms and venture into physical retail listing.

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By 2018, Mobile Ad Spend to Reach $40 Billion – Juniper Research

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mobile-adsAccording to a recent report by Juniper Research, increased utilisation of analytics platforms, allied to the introduction of innovative ad formats and purchasing mechanisms, will push global mobile ad spend beyond $39 billion in 2018, up from $13 billion this year.

The report highlighted the opportunities offered by targeted in-app advertising, citing the dramatic success of Facebook in monetising its native applications over the past year. Mobile now contributes 41% to its overall advertising revenue. Facebook recently announced that it is going to begin rolling out video ads, a move illustrative of the wider industry trend for interactive rich media ads, away from underperforming mobile banner adverts.

The report found that the growth of Real-Time Bidding (RTB), a mechanism which lets advertisers buy impressions in real-time, means that publishers will be able to more easily sell their advertising inventory, which will thereby boost overall mobile ad spend.

However the report also pointed out that some brands still remain wary of the mobile channel due to concerns that mobile advertisements may be perceived as inappropriate or intrusive. Indeed, the report noted the disproportionately low spend on mobile advertising, versus other mediums, relative to the high engagement levels that frequently occur.

According to the report, the fastest growing region, in terms of mobile ad spend, will be the Indian Subcontinent with the mobile spend expected to increase four times from 2013 to 2018. The report also found that advertisers can increase conversions by simply adding mobile optimised features, for instance a ‘click to call’ button, or by linking to the correct app store.

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Opera Mobile Store Now Serves More Than 140,000 Apps To 75 Million Visitors

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operaRecently, Opera Mobile Store announced that it has tripled the size of the store in the last 12 months, currently offering more than 140,000 apps. The Opera Mobile Store provides more than 75 million monthly visitors, an increase of 63%, with mobile apps and games across most platforms, including Android, Java, BlackBerry, Symbian and iOS.

The number of daily visitor to the Opera Mobile Store has increased from 1 million to 2.6 million in the past year. While the United States jumped five positions to take second place in terms of Opera Mobile Store visitors since last year. India remains no. 1, while Indonesia has moved to no. 3, continuing to reflect the Opera Mobile Store’s strength and popularity in Southeast Asia.

Upcoming markets such as India, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia continue to grow and by the end of September 2013, their cumulative download share represented 35% of the Opera Mobile Store’s global downloads. The biggest market share for mobile apps in these countries still belongs to the low-cost, J2ME-powered mobile devices, with over 49% of the total downloads. These statistics confirm that Android-powered smartphones are slower in penetrating developing countries.

However, Android is showing growth in the above-mentioned countries. Android’s market share in these four countries has grown from 11% in September 2012 to 32% in September 2013. Concurrently, the popularity of Java apps in these countries has decreased by 29%, falling from 78% to 49%.

Across all countries, total downloads of Android apps from the Opera Mobile Store grew 18.5% to 38.4% of total app downloads in a year, Java apps downloads have decreased from 67.8% to 43.9%, Symbian has gone from 10.3% to 9.9% and Windows Mobile has shifted from 1.9% to 0.4%. Gaming apps based on the recently-introduced HTML5 online-gaming platform has had 2.6% of downloads on the Opera Mobile Store.

The Facebook app, Tubemate Youtube downloader, Angry Birds App, WeChat are among the top 10 downloaded apps in the Opera Mobile Store.

Users can access the Opera Mobile Store via Opera’s flagship Opera Mini, Mobile Classic, Opera for Android mobile browsers as well as by browsing to apps.opera.com on their phones.

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iMENA & Rocket Internet Partner To Bring Mobile Taxi App To The Middle East

easytaxi

easytaxiRocket Internet and iMENA Holding, the leading online investor and operator in the MENA region, announced a partnership to launch ‘Easy Taxi,’ Rocket’s mobile taxi app, in the Middle East. The partnership will see iMENA investing USD 7M into a new venture that will bring the successful app model to Middle Eastern customers, starting with Saudi Arabia, where the service went live today. This investment represents the largest funding to-date for a mobile application business in the region. With a steady growth and global rollout in Latin America, Africa and Asia, the app model enables investor confidence, for a rewarding future in the business of mobile applications.

Easy Taxi was launched by Rocket Internet in 2011 and is now one of the world’s leading mobile Taxi apps, connecting drivers and passengers in a smooth, easy and safe way. The app, available for iOS, Android and new Blackberry devices, confirms the customer’s pickup point and orders the closest cab in his vicinity, with the press of a button. In seconds, a confirmation of the driver’s name, photo, and car model and plate number are sent to the phone. From here on, customers can follow the vehicle’s location in real-time as it approaches, favorite addresses can be saved and the ride history checked. Since drivers are checked for compliance, before joining the network, passengers can be absolutely content about their safety and can simply enjoy their ride.

Currently, Easy Taxi is available in 15 markets including Latin America, Africa and Asia. Globally, Easy Taxi app has more than 2.000.000 downloads and over 60.000 taxi drivers in the network. Earlier this year, Easy Taxi received fresh capital from Rocket Internet, the Latin America Internet Holding (LIH) and the African Internet Holding (AIH).

Commenting on this partnership Khaldoon Tabaza, iMENA’s co-founder and Managing Director said, “We are thrilled to collaborate with Rocket Internet once again for the launch of Easy Taxi in the Middle East. The company’s scale and achievements after only two years of operations are highly impressive. Given the management’s track record, the trend of mobile apps, and the market’s macro outlook, we are very confident in the regional success of Easy Taxi. With our strong global partners AIH, LIH and Rocket Internet, as well as our regional partners, including Etisalat Group and their operating companies across the region, we believe, we can redefine the online business in the Middle East and set the path for a successful and profitable future”.

Dr. Eyad Alkassar, Rocket Internet’s Managing Director and Co-Founder of Namshi commented: “Following our successful partnership for Hellofood, announced in September 2013, we are proud to be supported once again by iMENA. This collaboration will allow us to trigger Easy Taxi’s expansion in the Middle East. Due to iMENA’s great experience in backing businesses in the Middle East, they are the perfect partner for our global expansion plans and will help us to achieve our all-time goal: to connect taxi drivers and passengers in the best possible and easiest way worldwide.”

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42 Percent Internet Users in India Prefer To Access Internet Only In Local languages – IAMAI

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iamai logoAccording to a recent report ‘Internet in Rural India’ by IAMAI and IMRB, there will be 68 million claimed Internet users and 46 million active internet users in rural India by the end of October 2013. The report further estimates that by December 2013, there will be 72 million claimed Internet users and 49 million active Internet users in rural India. By June 2014, claimed internet users in rural India will rise to 85 million and active internet users to 56 million. The report also finds that around 61% or 25 million of Active Internet users access Internet at least once a week.

As per the report, the number of active Internet users has seen 58% growth since June 2012. The report further found that there are 21 million active mobile internet users in Rural India in June 2013 – a huge 5.3 times growth in 2013 over 2012 and nearly 47 times over 2010. It is estimated that by October 2013, there will be 25 million active mobile internet users and 27 million by December 2013.

The report also found that nearly 42% of the internet users prefer to access Internet only in Local languages. With more content becoming available in the local languages, more users will start using the internet, states the report. The findings of the report reveal that majority of the rural internet population is not comfortable in accessing Internet in English and this is holding them back from using internet fully for other purposes than online entertainment.

According to the report, only 9% of the active internet users transact online. With a very low awareness level, Online transaction is still in its infancy and there is a pressing need to educate and inform the user of the benefits of the internet services to drive the growth of internet usage.

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Digital Advertising Strategy A Must For Every Brand Today

The history of advertising dates back to 4000BC with rock art paintings. In the last few decades major advertising was focussed on print, billboards, TV and now with internet speeds becoming faster and access mediums increasing, advertising focus has moved to the digital medium. More and more advertisers are today moving into the online medium. It makes sense with trillions of websites , billions of mobile devices , huge volumes of emails getting exchanged, target audiences are continuously accessing these mediums makes it even for attractive for advertisers.

If you are serious about advertising online today , you should look at an agency or an advertising network where you will get lot of opportunities to reach out to your target audience. It is not only about the reach but also cost wise it is much more cheaper as compared to a print , TV or a radio advertisement. Also from a footfall’s perspective online advertising generates much more footfalls then any medium and also it is not limited to any geography.

So for every brand or organization today online advertising strategy is a must. What are the various options for an advertiser today in the online space ? Well there are many . An advertiser can look at using display ads, Google ads, search marketing strategy, email advertising, affiliate marketing and then social media advertising. With Facebook dominating the social space, the CTR response is much higher. If you are planning to do a video based advertising campaign then Youtube is the best site. Twitter advertising in the form of 140 character Tweets is also gaining popularity today. Mobile advertising in the form of banner adverts, or in-app advertising has also gained lot of traction in recent years with lot of smart phones and tablets in the market and more and more users are moving online through their phones.

Eventually it is all about the Return on Investment (ROI) and today Online advertising is the best cost effective medium for every advertiser.

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eBay To Acquire Global Payment Platform Braintree For $800 Million

ebay

ebayYesterday eBay.Inc announced that it has agreed to acquire Braintree, the innovative global payment platform powering the next generation of leading online and mobile-first startups, for total consideration of approximately $800 million in cash.

Commenting on this, eBay Inc. President and CEO John Donahoe said,”Braintree is a perfect fit with PayPal. Bill Ready and his team add complementary talent and technology that we believe will help accelerate PayPal’s global leadership in mobile payments. Together, we expect that PayPal and Braintree also will accelerate our leadership in supporting developers who are creating innovative solutions for next generation commerce startups.”

Braintree’s payment platform powers next generation innovators such as Airbnb, OpenTable, TaskRabbit and Uber, which are creating compelling new consumer experiences and disrupting legacy business models. Once the acquisition is completed, Braintree will continue to operate as a separate service within PayPal under the continued leadership of Braintree CEO Bill Ready, who will report to PayPal President David Marcus. Braintree’s management team and employees are expected to stay in place.

Venmo, Braintree’s mobile application that gives people an easy way to pay each other using their mobile devices and leveraging social networks, is part of the acquisition and will help to contribute to PayPal’s mobile payments capabilities. PayPal already has a strong presence in mobile, projecting mobile payment volume of more than $20 billion this year.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to close late in the fourth quarter of 2013.

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Shipments of consumer M2M devices will reach 13.8 million in 2017 – Berg Insight

berg-insight

berg-insightAccording to a new research report from Berg Insight, shipments of consumer M2M devices with cellular connectivity reached 5.3 million worldwide in 2012. In the next five years, shipments are forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.1 percent to reach 13.8 million devices in 2017. This relatively new breed of connected devices – neither classified as handsets, PCs, tablets nor traditional M2M devices – have strong growth potential. Today, e-readers and PNDs are the most common consumer M2M devices already shipping in millions. The consumer device market is changing rapidly and dedicated devices are facing fierce competition from multipurpose devices such as smartphones and tablets. Introducing wireless connectivity is one strategy to meet this threat and new connected products such as the Galaxy camera range from Samsung as well as smaller scale success stories such as the PocketFinder from Location Based Technologies show the market potential for cellular connected consumer devices.

Emerging device categories such as personal tracking, wearable technology and digital cameras are well suited for embedded cellular connectivity and have high growth potential in the coming years. Berg Insight predicts that by 2017, smart watches will be the most sold consumer M2M device category before personal tracking devices, accounting for 23 percent and 17 percent respectively of total annual shipments. An increasing share of all content and services are delivered through the cloud and cellular connectivity gives the freedom of being connected everywhere.

“There are already over 15 million consumer M2M devices in use worldwide. Business innovation from device vendors, content service providers and telecom operators is now necessary in order to turn M2M consumer devices into a mainstream success” says Johan Svanberg, Senior Analyst at Berg Insight. The 3G connected Kindle e-reader from Amazon is the most sold consumer M2M device to date. “A seamless integrated offering without any complicated subscription models has been key to the success”, continues Mr Svanberg. Mobile data plans which let users buy a bucket of data to share across several devices as well as pay-per-use models are other promising business models for consumer M2M devices. “It is not always possible to hide the cost of data such as in the case of the Kindle, but the relationship between the benefits and costs need to be both clear and fair in order for users to be willing to pay extra for wireless data”, concludes Mr Svanberg.

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