Times were when astrologists would be the subjects of tea party humour. Not any more perhaps. Meena Kapoor, CEO, Netway India disregards such presumptions in her firm’s drive forward in the mobile VAS arena... and she knows her future!
From running an astro portal, how did Netway India enter into the mobile VAS space?
Netway was started at the time of dot com bust in 1999-2000 and was into web and internet. Initially, we created websites for the UK market and looked primarily at the NRI market in astrology as a vertical. Then gradually, as the industry evolved, we moved into the technical vertical of mobile VAS in 2004.

In mobile VAS, Netway operates on a revenue sharing model with telecom operators that varies from 3-25% for services. How do you sustain in that case?
It certainly has an impact on us but it’s a volume game at the end of the day. The telecom operators face their own struggle now especially as prices have fallen and they have their own issues. I believe that if our ecosystem were a little more organised than what it is now, all the stakeholders will benefit from it.

But then, how do you innovate in your vertical?
We are lucky because there is nothing which we cannot have access to. We have one of the largest content library in the world and we constantly get a gamut whether it’s cricket, astrology, bollywood or politics.

Your core competency, well, is astrology! Is there any other vertical you wish to enter?
We are looking at two new verticals to enter into by next year. Wellness is one of them as there is a huge synergy between that and astrology. Moreover, we have done a lot of research in this area. We’re working on other verticals as well which are currently in the conceptualisation stage and we’ll share information about them when they’re ready.

So how are you planning to go about the wellness sector in terms of content development? Will you be looking for some tie ups?
No, we believe in developing and producing our own content right from the beginning because the moment you involve third party content, you end up losing control over certain things.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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