Tuesday, October 22, 2002


While putting together a presentation for a client about internet usage in the Philippines, I was both saddened and made optimistic by the numbers I got.

For a population of around 80 million people, sources estimate between 3.5 to 4.5 million Filipinos use the internet, primarily for email, chatting and surfing. Approximately 70% of these use internet prepaid cards and frequent internet cafés.

Why saddened? Because 1/3 of my business depends on new media, and the market is small. Brick and mortar companies still prefer to use tri-media or the oxymoronic “traditional” non-traditional below-the-line marketing tools to get their message across – this means a lot of print.

Why optimistic? Because that small space is actually growing. Even really small Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) with revenues of less than P3M per annum are starting to have requirements that conventional advertising agencies cannot handle.

The peso continues to slide against the dollar, there is the continued threat of bombings, kidnappings by the Abu Sayyaf, corrupt government officials and the poverty threshold is $28 per person per month. It is not a pretty picture.

But business goes on, with more new companies opening their doors while older ones fold.

The trick is in weathering the current storm of uncertainty.

Now if it were only that simple.


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