Marketing review news
16 September 2004

Bharti's power of one: Airtel is sole brand
The Bharti group has brought all its services under its flagship brand Airtel and has announced plans to invest Rs600 crore to launch cellular services in six new circles by March next year. After this Bharti will have its presence in all 23 cellular circles in the country.

At present while the group's cellular service comes under the Airtel brand, its fixed-line service is called Touchtel and IndiaOne is the long-distance carrier. Under the new brand architecture, Bharti's telecom services would be clubbed under four major heads — mobile services, telephone and broadband, long distance and enterprise service.

Company officials said a unified brand approach would mean a common identity, scale and size for Bharti. The aim is to provide the entire gamut of services, be it mobile, land-line or broadband, under one roof. When it is unified, Airtel will figure among the biggest brands across all segments, including consumer durables, FMCG or services.

Bharti plans to launch its GSM mobile services in West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir by the end of September 2004 and by October-November, its services will be rolled out in Bihar and Orissa and before 2004-05 ends, it will be present in Assam and North-East.

Hyundai launches Getz
Hyundai Motor India has launch its premium hatchback model Getz in the Indian market. The Getz comes with a 1.3 litre SOHC petrol engine and is available in two variants GL and GLS priced at Rs4.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) and Rs4.75 lakh respectively.

The company aims to sell 8,000 units of the Getz, which has a local content of about 67 per cent to increase to 80 per cent in six months, this fiscal. The company aims to sell a total of 2.2 lakh units of vehicles this year.

The company has invested about Rs50 crore for the launch of the Getz.

Air Sahara unveils `Steal fares'
The battle to woo the domestic traveler is getting intense. Sahara Airlines has unveiled 'Steal Fares' on six sectors after Jet Airways introduced `Check fares', which offers a passenger savings of about 30-45 per cent on air tickets on 10 sectors.

Through 'Steal fares' passengers can avail of substantial savings on select to-and-fro flights on six sectors. These include Delhi-Hyderabad, Delhi-Bangalore, Delhi-Chennai and Mumbai-Bangalore.

According to the airline `Steal fares' would be available to passengers in two categories — higher and lower levels. Also unlike the airlines earlier discounted Apex fares, the `Steal fares' need not be booked in advance and can be purchased near the date of travel based on the availability of seats.

For instance under `Steal fares' passengers will be charged either Rs5,850 or Rs7,150 for a one-way economy class trip between Delhi and Chennai, while those travelling between Delhi-Hyderabad will either pay Rs4,750 or Rs5,950. Similarly, those availing themselves of the scheme between Mumbai and Bangalore will be charged either Rs3,250 or Rs3,750.

The company says `Steal fares,' are aimed at a different segment of the market. The new scheme is targeted at those willing to wait and have a flexible time schedule, but are still keen on cheaper fares.

Jet has announced that it was extending the `Check fares' to four more sectors, taking the total number of sectors, where the reduced fares are on offer, to 10. The new sectors include Ahmedabad-Mumbai, Delhi-Patna, Delhi-Lucknow and Mumbai-Rajkot as also on the return direction.

Idea launches GPRS facilities
Idea Cellular has launched its general packet radio service (GPRS) in Gujarat. Idea is also expected to launch the 'enhanced data for GSM evolution' (EDGE) services soon.

GPRS is a non-voice value added service that allows information to be sent and received across a mobile telephone network. It supplements today's 'circuit switched data and 'short message service' (SMS).

GPRS customers can access any website in their mobiles. For post-paid customers, the GPRS charges have been divided into three plans. Under the first scheme IOM (Internet on Mobile), customers will be charged on a kilobyte (KB) basis, with customers having to pay Rs0.05 (five paise) per KB download.

Under the second plan, 'mobile web access'(MWA), charged on rental at the rate of Rs250 per month and kilobyte charges, customers will have to pay just Rs0.01 (one paise) per kilobyte of data downloaded. The Rs250 rental per month however includes free download of data of up to 25 megabytes (MB).

Under the third plan for post paid customers, termed MWA-500, customers will get unlimited browsing facilities. The only rental that will be charged is Rs500. However, these data download charges will exclude the charges for downloading wallpapers, tones and the like.

For pre-paid customers though, it is not possible to charge on kilobyte basis and only 'multui messaging service' (MMS) will be available to prepaid customers as of date. Content Charges have been fixed at between Rs15 and Rs30 on various services ranging from wallpapers to themes.

Landmark to launch hypermarkets
Dubai-based Landmark is planning to launch hypermarket in India. Known in Dubai for its Lifestyle departmental store, the group is currently studying the market for its food retail venture.

Landmark is at present evaluating various possibilities for the location and branding for the proposed project. The hypermarket venture will not come under the Lifestyle International fold but will be floated as a separate company.

Lifestyle joins other retailers like Trent and Shopper' Stop who have recently announced similar plans to enter the food retail market.

At present the big players in food retail are the RPG group with Giant supermarket and Pantaloon Retail with Big Bazaar.

LG gets aggressive in microwave ovens market
LG, which claims leadership position in the microwave ovens market, is betting on its strategy that highlights the functionality of its microwaves while. LG has also lowered the entry-price barrier in the product.

The company has found that microwave ovens are used for a variety of purposes in India apart from cooking and heating food.

LG for instance is using cookery classes conducted by no-nonsense chefs to lure new customers as well as give first-time buyers tips on using microwaves for proper cooking.

LG is targeting sales of 1,75,000 units of microwave ovens in the current calendar year, having sold 1,00,000 units in 2003 and around 55,000 the previous year. LG is also launching feature-based models after introducing a grill microwave last year. Now it is introducing a model with a built-in toaster.

The company has also brought down the price barrier for the product. "Against prices of Rs12,000-Rs14,000 a year ago, the company now has an entry-level model for Rs5,990.

LG claims a market share of 44.2 per cent in microwave ovens according to ORG-GFK retail figures. Samsung has 25.8 per cent share while Kenstar is a distant third with 9.6 per cent.

Star News evaluating multiple channels
As part of its strategy to increase market share and also enter new markets, Star News is considering launching a number of channels — in different languages as well as in different regions.

The channel is at present evaluating options of the different languages as well the geographic regions where the channels will be launched. A model like this will give the channel new avenues of growth in terms of advertising revenue as well as viewership.

This is a part of the channel's strategy to expand market share as well as to enter to new markets.

Tata Motors unveils Indigo Marina
Tata Motors unveiled the Indigo Marina, the fifth model from the company since the inception of its passenger car business. The company hopes to position the vehicle as a mainstream vehicle for everyday use by offering value-for-money pricing and various fuel options.

Marina is powered by a 1.4 litre 85 PS petrol engine and the 62 PS turbo-charged diesel engine. The company has aggressively priced the station wagon in the Rs4.24 lakh to Rs5.19 lakh range. The company is expecting to sell between 4,000-6,000 units of the estate every year.

Zee to launch Hollywood channel soon
Zee Network, promoted by Subhash Chandra, is planning to launch a new Hollywood movie channel and is looking at roping in a strategic partner for the new channel.

Zee currently has four Hindi movie channels: Zee Cinema, Zee Premier, Zee Action and Zee Classic. Recently Sony acquired US movie production house MGM, which puts a question mark on the Zee MGM joint venture.

Zee plans to source content from independent production companies as well as have an in-house library. At present Zee MGM's movie library comprises around 650 movies acquired either independently by Zee, through its joint venture with MGM or through Zee's partnership with independent companies like Miramax, Paramount, PVR, Lakeshore, Icon and Rosilini.

Zee acquired the Indiana Jones trilogy in partnership with Paramount while Kill Bill was acquired in partnership with Miramax. Also, Zee MGM has access to more than 4,000 film titles of MGM, which include James Bond movies, Rocky, Woody Allen movies and the Pink Panther series.

The Zee MGM distribution alliance is due for renewal at the end of 2004.

Microsoft gets into fingerprint identification
Microsoft has launched a range of hardware input devices including mouse and keyboards in India, and is looking at a growth rate of 200 per cent in the hardware space.

The company has also initiated a research project with IMRB to understand consumer behaviour in India and estimate the size of the market for input devices.

The new range of mouse and keyboards are priced between Rs195 and Rs5,000 and would be available through a network of 4,000 resellers across 80 cities. The products are wireless optical desktop comfort edition, optical desktop with fingerprint reader, fingerprint reader and standard wireless optical desktop in the desktop category, and digital media Pro keyboard and isnternet keyboard in the keyboard category.

In the mouse category, the company launched wireless intelliMouse explorer with fingerprint reader, and wireless intelliMouse Explorer special edition, wireless optical mouse - special edition, wireless notebook optical mouse and standard wireless optical mouse.

A highlight of the features is biometric technology, fingerprint reader and keyboard zoom slider.

The company feels that the new product range will enable users to work efficiently and comfortably in office or on the go and the futuristic biometric technology-enabled products will help eliminate password fatigue. With the new technology consumers can throw away their passwords and log into their PCs and favourite Web sites with the touch of a finger.

Microsoft has introduced a range of biometrics-enabled hardware products with fingerprint recognition technology designed to deliver added convenience by replacing frequently used passwords with users' fingerprint.

The company is also "evaluating" the launch of its digital entertainment gaming platform, Xbox, in India.

In Asia Pacific, Xbox is already available in Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and Taiwan amongst others.

Compiled by Mohini Bhatnagar

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