Short Notes: Zapak, online ads, Twitterlocal
Indiantelevision.com has a nice interview with Zapak Digital Entertainment’s COO Rohit Sharma about the company’s future plans, the $100 million investment in Reliance Entertainment by George Soros and other facets of the business that the company is involved in. While it may not be the most stunning or revealing interview ever done, it is also refreshing in terms of the lack of hyperbole involved. You always have to appreciate something like that.
Key takeaways include: 70%-75% market share and 4 million users for Zapak. No mention of the usage frequency, it looks more like an aggregate. Should have been interesting number, if he should have mentioned the daily/regular users. They are looking to build up capacity in their gameplexes up to 10,000 by the end of 2008. Subscription revenues via MMOG titles to start in May. Zero in-house development of games.
Advertising segment action continues with Federated Media being now rumoured to have taken on $50 million in a round-B funding fishing expedition. Valuations currently are very much like a LSD trip, everyone sees a different colour from another, led mainly by the fact that there are fewer exits that are showing up now, and as you can imagine not all exits are going to be profitable or successful, so it eventually ends up being a cozy little circle in which the VCs and investment bankers are going to increasingly push up valuation to get better exits. How will all that work out? You guess is as good as mine. We just don’t know yet.
And all is certainly not well in VC-land. The wise men now agree that earlier puff pieces about an increase in the size of funds making a beeline for India may NOT hold true if the US continues to be as volatile as it has been of late. This maybe actually good news, because that should at least prevent the 60,000th ‘social-networking-site-with-a-difference’ from getting funded as a result.
Meanwhile, in related advertising news, there is a rumour going around that Tribalfusion is up for sale. There are very few independent players left now in the agency market. Considering how almost of all of them got bought out, you should have opted to make a career running an online advertising agency when your parents asked you much earlier in life, “son, what do you want to do in life?”
Now for today’s ZOMG! section. Apparently (hold your breath, bring on the drum roll and other theatrics!), it is friendship that is driving social networking in India! I am shocked. No, more like SHOCKED! Oh, the horror, the awe! I would not be too surprised if that is the case everywhere. Pointer to the pundits: Robert Scoble and Jason Calacanis are not your typical consumers of social networking.
In music-related news, rapper Jay-Z too bails out from the sinking-on-steroids ship called the record label and signs up with Live Nation for his future releases much like Madge and U2 did a while ago. If they were to have had put some kind of tracking on the memo sent to the labels, that running after piracy and using litigation as a means to profit does not actually get you sustained profits, it probably would show that it is still stuck at the sender’s end. Hint of the day: CD sales are dropping like the stock price of Bear Sterns did on the last couple of days before being picked up by JP Morgan, while concert attendances and profits are booming.
Speaking of Bear Sterns, Henry Blodget gets Goldman Sachs to comment on the Bear Sterns episode that they did not knowingly press the forward button on the tape labeled “How to wipe out an investment bank in a week: the Bear Sterns edition” with their version of the story.
Lastly, how can we have a day pass without having yet another Twitter app being released into the wild? Latest on the list is Twitter Local, which allows you to track tweets by their location via an RSS feed. Now, what could be an interesting use case for this? Oh, someone could pick up the feed and automatically publish that feed via a Twitter account. I mean, whodda thunk that?
Effectively, now you can track all Tweets to within a “1 mile” range of the location specified by you. Imagine the progress that humanity will make as a result of this. Now, not only can I hear my neighbour sneeze, I can also track that sneeze on Twitter when he tweets it. It just absolutely warms the cockles of my sometimes non-existent heart.