He’s known for his flamboyance, as well as his acumen for good bets. Sandeep Goyal, 50, who sold his 26 per cent stake in the Dentsu group of ad agencies last year, is now pinning his hopes on the nascent, but ready-to-explode mobile advertising segment.
The adman-turned-entrepreneur has just launched what he calls a “mobile creative boutique”, an agency specialising in creative solutions for mobile phones.
Considering mobile users increasingly access the web through hand-held devices, Goyal says this was the right time to take the plunge. The ex-group chief executive of ZEE Telefilms created a stir when he was hand-picked by media baron Subhash Chandra to head the flagship channel ZEE TV in 2001. He later set up Dentsu in 2004.
Goyal rattles off interesting numbers to drive home his point. “Search on mobiles has grown four times since 2010. By next year, there would be more mobile web users than those on personal computers and laptops,” he says.
Mobocracy, as his new venture is called, is a contraction of two words — mobile and democracy. Goyal says the attempt is to do bring about precisely these — provide freedom to users to access websites and have a good browsing experience on their mobile phones, and offer advertisers a new device to propagate their message. “However, there is a lot of education required here,” he says, adding, “Advertisers know of the need to tap this medium, but do not know how best to do it. We will deliver a mobile strategy tailor-made to client needs and provide solid technical back-end to power functional visual front-end.”
Goyal would join a small, but growing, band of entrepreneurs who see value in exploring opportunities mobile phones present on Thursday. Neeraj Roy-promoted Hungama has been working in this area for the last few years. Goyal expects more to join the list. “Digital agencies would increasingly begin to focus their attention here,” he says, adding, “The more people come on board, the better it is, because the market would grow.”
In terms of mobile phone penetration, India ranks second after China. India’s total user base exceeds 500 million, and by the end of this year, it is likely to touch 696 million, according to a Gartner report. And, as web usage on mobile phones rises, mobile-based content, communication and advertising would increasingly become the order of the day.
Goyal says the Mobocracy team already has 12 members. He, however, declines to specify the clients on board.
The adman’s love for new media is not new. As group chairman of Dentsu in India, Goyal launched Clickstreamers, a digital media agency. Separately, he launched Last Minute Media, which runs the portal Error! Bookmark not defined. (which sells ad inventory). While Clickstreamers was acquired by Dentsu, Goyal retains full control of Last Minute Media.