India at 60 and the internet

India in 2007 – that is 60 years now that we have been free and the day was spent like last year with me lazing around and watching all the feel good television stuff about the great progresses we have made and all that is well and good with the great Indian dream run that we have been having. I spent some time feeling good about the Indian internet revolution that has come about in my time – from the days of the slow and moody dial up connections to the fairly passable broadband pretenders. And yeah the state owned telephone company (PTT) declared today to be the day that they launched IPTV for all. This is the cutting edge off course – there was a CDN (Content Delivery Network) Tender out there some time back from the state owned  telcos and the roll out is now final and is called IOL Broadband (http://www.iolbroadband.com) . It is early days yet and I guess there will be the early hiccups and things will slowly get better before they are good but the ball has been set rolling. In traditional television delivery, all programming is broadcast simultaneously. The available program signals flow downstream and the viewer selects which program he wants to watch by changing the channel. IPTV, by contrast, sends only one program at a time. Content remains on the service provider’s network and only the program the customer selects is sent to the home. When a viewer changes the channel, a new stream is transmitted from the provider’s server directly to the viewer. Like cable TV, IPTV requires a set-top box.

The growth in Indian Internet usage has been stuff of legends with growth rate of 30 – 35% among users and depending on who you ask – this is a country of between 30 – 40 million users and a report from JuxtConsult (http://www.juxtconsult.com) a Delhi based online research and consultancy puts the number at  slightly over 30 million users (http://www.marketingvox.com/archives/2007/06/14/indias-internet-users-reach-30-million)

 Another report by the IAMAI – the Internet and Mobile Association of India (http://www.imai.in) states the Internet population of India at 42 million users in 2006 – a miniscule 3.6% of the total population http://www.internetworldstats.com/asia/in.htm.  This data could be wrong as there seems to be a decrease in the population between ’05 and ’06 but then three different sources of information are being considered (ITU; CI Almanac and the IAMAI) here which may cause the error. Whatever the final numbers are – it would appear that there are a fairly large number of Internet users at India – not perhaps as a part  of the total population  in comparison but definitely valid.

 Internet Usage and Population Statistics:

YEAR

Users

Population

% Pen.

Usage Source

1998

1,400,000

1,094,870,677

0.1 %

ITU

1999

2,800,000

1,094,870,677

0.3 %

ITU

2000

5,500,000

1,094,870,677

0.5 %

ITU

2001

7,000,000

1,094,870,677

0.7 %

ITU

2002

16,500,000

1,094,870,677

1.6 %

ITU

2003

22,500,000

1,094,870,677

2.1 %

ITU

2004

39,200,000

1,094,870,677

3.6 %

C.I. Almanac

2005

50,600,000

1,112,225,812

4.5 %

C.I. Almanac

2006

40,000,000

1,112,225,812

3.6 %

IAMAI

Whatever the actual figures may finally be – India does seem to rank among the top 10 nations by Internet population as per this report from ComScore – a Reston, Virginia based global Internet information provider to which leading companies turn for consumer behavior insight that drives successful marketing, sales and trading strategies (http://www.comscore.com). They rate the number of global Internet user universe at nearly 700 million users (http://www.comscore.com/press/release.asp?press=849).

 

Top 15 Online Populations by Country, Among Visitors Age 15+* March 2006 Total Worldwide – All Locations Unique Visitors (000)Source: comScore World Metrix 

 * Excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafe and, access from mobile phones or PDAs.

Unique Visitors

(000)

Worldwide Total

694,260

United States

152,046

China

74,727

Japan

52,100

Germany

31,813

United Kingdom

30,190

South Korea

24,645

France

23,884

Canada

18,996

Italy

16,834

India

16,713

Brazil

13,186

Spain

12,452

Netherlands

10,969

Russia

10,833

Australia

9,735

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

60 years of free India and we have done a lot and we have shown the world we have quite an appetite for the internet and the announcement of IPTV will only make things better and broaden the base. But a qualitative look at what Indian’s do on the internet provides some key insights. Using the data from Alexa a web usage company owned by Amazon.com and forgetting for a minute the potential for bias (http://forums.seochat.com/alexa-ranking-49/how-accurate-is-alexa-4536.html) we get some interesting observations. The first Indian site in the top 100 sites at India is Rediff – making one think that their valuations were not so off the mark. Orkut is the second most popular site at India narrowly begin Yahoo the global leader. What does that mean – social networking rules here ? Facebook is at 21 and MySpace at 65 and Linked In is at 75 in the top 100 listing – for more details see here http://www.alexa.com/site/ds/top_sites?cc=IN&ts_mode=country&lang=none

The second most popular Indian site in the top 100 listing is job portal Naukri.Com coming in at 9th place. That either means people are looking for jobs like never before (HR Managers beware) and career mobility is in and also proves that a strong advertising message with the Hari Sadu and ‘guess who has heard from us’ spots on Indian TV have worked. The next best Indian site is Indiatimes.com from Bennet & Coleman – main stream media’s online presence coming at 13th.

 

Sex sells like anything else and anywhere else and the number 1 site in India is Debonairblogs – coming in though at a lowly 18 out of the top 100. This site however hosts pictures and video downloadable from other sites like Rapidshare – which however comes in at 11. Most of the people who visit job site Naukri also visit it appears another job portal  jobsahead and penis extensions. What that might mean is that Indians do not have the jobs they want and perhaps the right sized tools to do it with! http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6161691.stm

  

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About Soumya
A technology enthusiast, forever enamored by all that it hath wrought and of course here is an attempt at making sense of it all and perhaps simplifying it!

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