India’s internet penetration is predicted by Google to grow three fold by 2014, following widespread investment in high speed wireless networks and lower priced smartphones, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Rajan Anandan, head of Google India, told the newspaper the digital media giant expects India to attain at least 300 million internet users in three years, from the current level of about 100 million.
Google’s video sharing site YouTube now commands 20 million unique users across India, and the company says it believes this figure will increase to 25-30 million users by end of 2011. Bollywood films and sporting events such as Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket have proved particularly popular, and YouTube last week launched its partner programme in India to encourage original content creators to upload video on a revenue-sharing basis.
Although internet penetration in India is low, due to the paucity of fixed line broadband and the still juvenile 3G mobile, India already has the second or third largest volume of internet users after the US, and possibly China.
Spending on online advertising is, however, reportedly only US$200 million a year in India - just a fraction of the $80 billion spent on digital advertising worldwide. Google has not divulged how much money it makes from the Indian market, however the Wall Street Journal points to analysts’ estimates that it eats up about half the national online ad spend.