Most of the start-ups as well as established companies in internet space primarily targets US audience. This is understandable as US Online Advertising market stands at a whopping USD 24 billion and is at least four times bigger than the second largest market that of UK.
In developing countries, it’s a rarity if an internet company gets funded, and most of the start-up visionaries here are not very bullish when it comes to internet space.
Countries like China, Brazil or India might lead in number of internet users with around 33% of total online traffic, but their online advertising market is less than USD 2 billion. Though China has some exceptional online players but nothing close to US.
Europe has a mature market in terms of internet penetration with Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, and Denmark having more than 85% penetration.
Online advertising spend has already taken over TV ad spend in UK and Denmark. Owning to the mature market (higher online penetration) ad spend per person in Europe is quiet healthy. Marketers in Europe are not shy to experiment with online properties.
Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft and other large players have already explored Europe and have decent revenue coming out of Europe. Many young internet start-ups emerging from Europe have made big globally.
European start-ups are at advantage of having a decent domestic online market letting them establish themselves here first and then becoming more aggressive when taking on a global audience (primarily US). Skype, Bebo, Netvibes, Joost are some of the start-ups having roots in Europe.
So let’s analyze two key components; ad spend per person and internet penetration rate.
India’s online spend per person stands at shameful USD 5 and that of Norway is USD 207.
That means an online content portal operating in India can bring in 40 times more revenue if it’s to be run in Norway. Of course there are many other factors involved like cost of operation is comparatively less in India, number of online users are small in Norway etc but my point is making money in Norway for an internet start-up is easier than in India.
The other factor is internet penetration rate. Internet penetration rate is defined as the percentage of Internet users divided by populations for each country. An Internet user is defined as being over 16 years old and uses the Internet on a regular or occasional basis in businesses and homes. Higher the penetration, mature is the market. Marketers are at ease as they can target a larger audience.
Online Media companies which started in US or have targeted US can easily expand globally by exploring some of these markets with higher internet penetration and ad spend per person.
Many successful content sites like Engadget, Techcrunch, Asylum are already having their presence in local versions. Most of these sites started targeting the US ad pie, but riding their brand presence have emerged as strong players in various local markets.