Affle Plans Big Growth in India

Source : Light Reading India | View Original

Singapore-based mobile media firm Affle is looking to capture a significant share of the nascent yet growing mobile advertising market and hopes to become a leading digital media company in India.

“It [mobile advertising] is a small but growing market. Today, this market roughly stands at around INR 2 billion but we are confident that it will become a [INR] 20-billion market in the next 3-4 years. We have raised sufficient amount of investments and have a steady roadmap for growth,” says Anuj Kumar, CEO, Affle.

A technology and service facilitator to carriers, content owners and partners, Affle provides ad serving (AffleAds) and ad sales representation services in the digital space.

The Indian digital media landscape is dotted with companies like InMobi , ValueFirst Messaging Pvt. Ltd. , Indiatimes, and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG). If Affle hopes a capture a significant share of this market, it will find fierce competition on the way.

In addition to its mobile advertising services, Affle has also launched mobile messaging applications tools like Pinch and SMS2.0 Live. It raised around US$10 million last year as the second round of investment from its existing investor, D2 Communications Inc, a joint-venture between Japan-based NTT Docomo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) and the advertising agency Dentsu. In all, Affle has raised about $25 million in funding which includes a $5-million investment from Microsoft in 2008.

Claiming that its business operations are profitable, Affle did not share any revenue numbers. “For the current year, our focus is on strengthening business in the Indian market. We are looking at newer trends like video consumption, interplay between devices [how consumers are consuming content through multiple devices like watching television and phones at the same time], which is growing very rapidly on digital media. You can capture that interplay and make it more engaging,” says Kumar.

India and Indonesia are Affle’s largest markets. The company has around 90 people working across regions and says it will reveal its expansion plans by the end of current financial year.

Affle has partnerships with mobile operators Airtel and NTT Docomo and has clients like Pepsi, Hindustan Liver and Reebok to name a few. It hopes to get several new wins later this year.

“The digital ad spend has grown tremendously in the last few years. Currently, around 13 percent of the overall marketing budget is being kept for digital media spend. However, it’s growing at a rate of 60 percent annually. We have grown better than the industry and achieved 75 percent year-on-year growth in the last three years,” says Kumar.

Affle plans to launch a new digital business unit soon for which it recently announced senior appointments. It has offices in Singapore, United States, Indonesia, UK, Thailand and China.