Before we get to the questions, let's take a look at these figures:
- Legal music sites have increased to over 230 in 2004 (a quadruple increase
- Music catalogs have doub-led in 12 months, to 1 mn songs. Paid-for
down-loads have increased tenfold to over 200 mn as per the IFPI Digital
Music Report 2005.
- The digital music market was worth $330 mn in 2004 and is expected to
double in value in 2005.
- In the first three months of 2005, e-ticketing averaged a 111 percent
growth over the same period in 2004.
- IATA (International Air Transport Association) has set up an objective of
total conversion to e-ticketing by 2007.
- The online gaming market is poised for explosive growth and is expected to
reach $4 bn by 2008, a fourfold increase from the scenario today as per
- Search Engines are pre-dicted to reach revenue of $23 bn in 2008.
- Google's profits increased sevenfold in the fourth quarter of 2004.
- The revenue growth rate for Careerbuilder, Monster and HotJobs outstripped
their newspaper-classified counterparts by 3 to 1 in the third quarter of
The information cauldron is becoming a business tool at a
spiraling rate. Growth rates make the fast track BPO indu-stry appear like the
proverbial turtle. Except that in this race the slow and steady do not always
win. That is the scenario in the futuristic economies of the world.
By contrast, the Indian scenario is subdued. No one denies
the potential. But no one has really harnessed it either. Maybe the dot.com bust
is not forgotten yet. Maybe those who have the money do not have the ideas, and
those who have the ideas do not have the money. Maybe the computer and internet
penetration is too low. The installed base of computers is in the vicinity of 10
mn. Mobile phones are 40 mn. Computers first appeared in the eighties. Mobiles
made an appearance 20 years later.
We also did a dipstick of two-dozen people across work
functions and ages. Some of the respondents were from CyberMedia itself. Nothing
like starting a survey at home!
Top of the mind recall for reasons to use the Internet
was information search-through Google.
The question on the next most useful service on the net
drew a blank. There was virtually nothing after information search.
The nothing was subdivi-ded into e-ticketing and mu-sic
downloads. Shopping was voted for, and included purchasing books or gift
items like perfumes and accessories. Amazon.com and rediff.com came up as
the 'known names'.
Marriage portals and jobs search came way down. Co-nsultants
and newspapers still are the preferred mode for jobs hunting, and marriages,
presumably, are still made in heaven.
Before you tear apart the 'survey' let me candidly state
that it was not meant to be watertight. It was conducted to find questions
rather than answers.
Here are the questions:
Are we moving with the international trends or are we
What are the catalysts that will make business through
the Internet grow at a 3 digit growth rate?
Which will be the business boomers in India-search,
jobs, marriages, games, music-or something else?
Where will this business boom come from-large business
houses taking to the net or 'new ideas' men becoming large businesses?
When will this happen?
These are good questions. Good questions, however, don't
always have good answers. For answers to some of these we will just have to
wait. One thing you can be sure of though is that the answers are not far away.
To end-thanks to all of you who invested in our just
concluded and listed public issue.
The author is Editor-in-Chief of CyberMedia, the
publishers of Dataquest with inputs from Saswati Sinha He can be reached at email@example.com