Marketing review news
10 February 2004

JPC report upholds CSE findings
The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) report on pesticide residues and safety standards for soft drinks, fruit juice and other beverages, while upholding the Centre for Science & Environment (CSE)'s claims of pesticide residue in soft drinks, has called for India-specific food standards. Dividing its recommendations into two components — qualitative (detection and identification) and quantitative (estimation and confirmation) the committee says the CSE findings are correct on the presence of pesticide residue in carbonated water in respect of the three samples each of the 12 brands of PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.

However, there are variations in the amount of residues found in different locations across the country and further the residues are not found in the magnitude as claimed by CSE.

The JPC has ticked off the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, noting that whatever action has been taken recently by the Ministry is only as a result of the findings of the CSE. The Ministry did not take the opinion of the Central Committee on Food Standards (CCFS) — a statutory under the PFA Act - for laying down standards for various food items.

The report has asked Government to separately formulate pesticide residue limits for juices and other beverages, independent of norms for soft drinks and has recommended India formulate its own food standards based on stringent scientific criteria in keeping with internationally acceptable norms.

Zee signs content deal with ESPN Star Sports
The Subhash Chandra-promoted direct to home (DTH) television broadcasting venture Dish TV has entered into a deal with ESPN Star Sports for carriage of the sports channels on its platform.

The deal was said to be signed last week. Dish TV has been in discussion with various broadcasters to bring them on board as well as to enhance the channel offering on the DTH platform.

Dish TV also offers entertainment channels such as Zee TV, SABe TV, Sahara Manoranjan, DD National, DD Metro, Zee News, Aaj Tak, Sahara Samay, NDTV India, Headlines Today, NDTV 24X7, CNN, BBC, CNBC, Alpha channels from Zee bouquet, ETC Punjabi, DD Regional, Asianet, Maa, Jaya TV, Zee Cinema, DD Sports, Ten Sports, Trendz TV, ZEE Music, ETC Music, MTV, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Splash TV, Zee English, Reality TV, Care TV and Zee MGM.

The DTH service also offers old Hindi movie channel Golden Cinema, comedy channel Smile TV, action movie channel Action Cinema and English action films channel FX channel. These channels will be available over an above the basic bouquet that is presently being offered for Rs 100 plus tax as an introductory offer.

Lever Ayush to expand portfolio
Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL) plans to expand the portfolio of its ayurvedic health and beauty care brand Lever Ayush, this year. Apart from augmenting the portfolio with new products the company plans to place greater emphasis on Ayush Therapy Centres and on creating awareness of the brand and Ayurveda through its Ayush Ayurvedic Science Centre.

The company would also launch more products for the hair and skin, and some nutritional supplements, this year. Under the brand shampoo is the most popular product in the ayurvedic segment and has grown almost by 2 per cent share in the overall shampoo market.

ORG figures say that for 2003, in the Ayurvedic proprietary medicine segment, Ayush shampoo's value share stood at Rs 15.2 crore compared with Himalaya's (all variants) Rs 11.9 crore.

Considering Ayush shampoo was launched in end-2002, this is growth is quite good.

LifeStyle to expand
LifeStyle International the premium retail chain is expanding and is planning to set up 13 new stores by the year 2006, over an area of 6.85 lakh sq.ft.

Thus two more Lifestyle stores will come up in Mumbai and Delhi while Pune, Ahmedabad, Kochi and Kolkata will all have one store each.

Lifestyle International is planning to invest an additional Rs 120 crore in the Indian market over the next three years and hopes to touch a turnover of Rs 442 crore by 2005-2006 from a turnover Rs 135 crore last year. It is expecting to touch Rs 310 crore in 2004-2005. The chain is also planning to spruce up its customer loyalty programme and add to its existing range of in-store brands, especially in the apparel segment.

Omega launching jewellery in India
Omega, the premium brand from the Swatch Group, will launch its Omega Bijoux range of jewellery, comprising necklaces, rings, earrings and cuff links, in India soon. The jewellery will be retailed in India only through exclusive Omega boutiques, to be opened in Mumbai initially, followed by smaller ones in Bangalore and New Delhi.

Omega Bijoux is distributed only through exclusive Omega outlets worldwide.

The new jewellery lines from Omega are available in white and yellow gold using both precious and semi-precious stones.

Omega also intends to introduce the Omega De Ville Co-Axial Chronograph watch in India, launched at the Swiss ski resort of St. Moritz last week by tennis player and Omega brand ambassador Anna Kournikova and Mr Stephen Urquhart, President of Omega.

Sony pushes car audio systems
With the phenomenal growth of the car market Sony India Pvt Ltd has decided to push its new car audio system `X-plod' which sports a young image.

The product range includes hard disc drive, advanced visual multi media, single CD line, cassette tuners, amplifiers and speakers.

At present, the grey market dominates car audio systems segment.

The organised car audio segment is approximately one lakh units of which, Sony has a 30 per cent share. The segment currently contributes about 3.5 per cent to the company's total turnover.

Sony India is targeting a 25 per cent growth in total turnover for the current fiscal and will target the urban and semi-urban car buyer who already has confidence in Sony's audio technology. Further, the company has also worked out extensive training programmes for its dealers to push sales in this category.

At present, Sony is not manufacturing car audios in the country and sources it from Japan, Korea and Thailand.

LG launches new mobile handsets
LG Electronics has launched two new GSM mobile handsets and a new CDMA handset model - RD 7230- which comes with an inbuilt smart video-cum camera.

While the CDMA handset will be available exclusively for Reliance India Mobile customers, the GSM models will be available in retail outlets across the country.

LG has captured 50 per cent of the market share in CDMA mobile market in the country and expects this to rise along with the increase in mobile subscribers this fiscal.

LG's CDMA camera that has been launched allows for 40 seconds motion picture clips, still shots and up to nine sequential still shots. It has a 700 photo and 30 video clip memory and 1000 entry phonebook with photo Ids.

The pricing of the model will be decided by Reliance Infocomm later.

Of the GSM phones the G7100 is priced at Rs 25,990 is the first ever camera phone with 270 degree spin screen and a slide mounted VGA camera. It comes with a host of features which include inbuilt flash with 65000 colour display, multimedia messaging, java and polyphonic ringtones. The second model G3100 is priced at Rs 9,490.

Bose India expands retail network
Bose Corporation India Private Ltd is expanding its retail presence in the country to widen its customer base. The company has recently launched the 3.2.1 GS, an enhanced DVD-based entry level home entertainment system. The new GS system advances the legacy of the first 3.2.1 system further by providing compelling performance benefits of a five speaker surround sound system from two visible speakers and a hideaway Acoustimass module.

The product is priced at Rs 89,900 plus taxes.

The retail business of the company contributes about 60 per cent to its total turnover and at present, the company has four retail stores.

The company's operations in the country are divided into professional systems division and home audio segment. The former provides complete turnkey audio-video solutions for public space such as hotels, restaurants, and retail outlets, contributes 40 per cent to the company's turnover.

The home audio division provides home audio solutions through retail outlets.

ONGC divestment account goes to Concept Communication
Concept Communication Ltd has bagged the biggest IPO account in Indian corporate history — the disinvestment of Government's stake in Oil and Natural Gas Corporation. In addition to this it has also bagged the Dredging Corporation of India's (DCI) `offer for sale' process.

The mandate includes advertising across all media, public relations management and extensive on-ground activities including road shows and conferences for the IPOs in India and abroad.

Maruti slashes price of Esteem Diesel
Maruti Udyog Ltd has slashed the price of Esteem Diesel model by Rs 38,000 to increase sales of the midsize car.

With this cut the base model of Esteem Diesel (without power steering) will now come for Rs 4.83 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) as against Rs 5.22 lakh earlier, while the other version will be priced Rs 5.09 lakh, down from Rs 5.48 lakh.

The price revision of the Esteem Diesel model has become possible by the recent cut in customs duty. Esteem Diesel is powered by a Peugeot engine imported by MUL.

Compiled by Mohini Bhatnagar

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