Marketing review news
23 December 2004

Airtel launches special packages for teens and ladies
As part of its market segmentation strategy, Airtel has launched special mobile packages targeted at youth, women and senior citizens. Women can get a new Airtel post-paid connection with a monthly rental of Rs150 while students can make calls for as low as 50 paise a minute from predetermined areas such as universities and popular hang outs.

Airtel has also introduced a `Friendz' package for students and young people whereby subscribers are allowed to transfer mobile recharge — both talktime and validity — from their phone to another phone. With the package, subscribers can form a 'closed user group' of up to five friends and make calls at 50 paise a minute.

According to the company, the focus on students and young people was due to the fact that penetration level in the15-19 age group was just three per cent. Priced at Rs 249, the Friendz' card, lets customers send SMS to up to 15 friends simultaneously at Rs3.

In the Ladies plan, women can call three local Airtel numbers at just 50 paise per minute and send SMS to them at 50 paise per message, subject to a maximum of 25 messages per month. Airtel has tied up with women's magazines, offering discounts on subscription. For subscribers who are over 60 years old, Airtel has launched the `Seniors Plan' with a monthly rental of Rs150, which offers discount on one STD number and one local Airtel number.

Use your phone like a walky-talky with 'push-to-talk'
Tata Teleservices has launched 'push-to-talk' (PTT) services on a national basis. According to this service, customers can make unlimited calls to other Tata PTT subscribers at a flat fee of Rs99 a month. Tata is the first mobile operator to launch PTT in the country. It had earlier launched the service in select pockets of the country.

The new service allows customers to connect directly, in seconds, with other Tata Indicom 'push-to-talk' users by simply pressing a button on their 'push-to-talk' capable handsets.

Built on Qualcomm's BrewChat technology, the service allows subscribers to instantly call a group of people at one time from any place making it more convenient than sending an SMS.

Targeted at corporates, small medium enterprises and mass consumers, the service will be available on Kyocera KX 440 handset with a host of additional features such as chat applications and group talk

As an introductory offer, for post-paid customers, PTT handsets are priced at Rs5,000. In addition, Tata Teleservices is offering an EMI scheme for corporates, where a corporate customer can buy a PTT handset by paying a down payment of Rs1,000 and an EMI of Rs350 for 12 months.

Reliance Info introduces new plan for FWP subscribers
Reliance Infocomm has launched a new plan for its fixed wireless phone (FWP) subscribers according to which, subscribers can make unlimited free calls to Reliance phones anywhere in the country. The new plan will be applicable for both pre-paid and post-paid FWP.

The FWP entry cost has been fixed at Rs4,300, which includes the installation charge of Rs800 and a deposit of Rs1,000. The package comes with a cordless phone handset and includes a pre-loaded talk time of Rs50.

However, existing subscribers would have to pay the difference in cost for upgradation to the cordless phone set.

The 'free calling plan' comes with a monthly commitment of Rs700 for post-paid customers or with a recharge voucher (RCV) of Rs770 for pre-paid customers.

Both the plans carry talk time value of Rs165 for making calls to non-Reliance phones with a flat rate of Rs1.10 with different pulse rats depending on the network and distance bands.

TNS study finds emotive reasons prompt 50 % of car purchases
"More than 50 per cent of car buyers in India choose vehicles for emotional reasons such as prestige and status," according to TNS Automotive`s 2004 four-wheeler study, Brand Health and Need Segmentation.

This is contrary to the belief that prestige and status needs are predominant among buyers of higher-end vehicles. The study clearly reveals that such needs exist across vehicle segments including the cheaper small cars, TNS Automotive said in a company release.

The study represented the responses of more than 2,000 new car buyers and provided over 8,000 evaluations. TNS Automotive delved on the hidden motivations behind car purchase and customer perceptions of all available brands in the country. The study was unlike traditional brand research studies where customers are questioned directly about their purchase reason, this study uses a proven psychological framework to uncover the motives that drive brand selection, the company release said.

According to the study, the key drivers for the six needs (potency, utility, prestige, adventure, status and liberation) in India include a set of `potency buyers', who are motivated by a need to attract the opposite sex and feel powerful. Then there are `utility buyers' for whom basic transportation, care for family, value for money and cost of ownership are the benefits of owning a vehicle

`Prestige buyers' are motivated by a need for prestige, self-indulgence, and exclusivity. These buyers are the least price sensitive and desire the latest features in cars. `Adventure buyers' seek fun, adventure increased popularity, while `status buyers' want to show-off success and attract attention.

AXN to focus on action, reality, lifestyle shows
AXN, Sony Entertainment Television's, action television channel now sports a new look and is positioning itself as an action-based, reality-show channel with fewer movies.

Having broadcast big hits like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Men In Black, Anaconda, Vertical Limits and Charlie's Angles in the past, the new positioning is more to do with the intense competition among English movie channels. There are at least five English channels featuring movies and vying for viewers. There is intense competition amongst these channels and for any channel acquiring the first licence is an expensive business.

AXN, having decided focus on lifestyle and reality-based shows, will now be either playing movies from its library comprising 80-100 movies or it might decide to go for acquiring a second licence for satellite telecast of the movies.

For the present, AXN will focus on reality series and lifestyle shows with special emphasis on action-packed reality shows.

In 2005 AXN plans to bring new reality shows like the NBC-produced The Contender and shows like Francis Ford Coppola's The 4400. Following its tie-up with Orange, AXN will now also be available to Airtel, Reliance and Tata Indicom subscribers.

Solae launches soya drink
The Rs20-crore Solae Company, a joint venture between DuPont and Bunge has launched a textured soya protein-based product and is planning to set up a manufacturing facility to manufacture the product with an investment of Rs50 crore in India.

The company expects grow its turnover to Rs300 crore in the next five years.

Solae is targeting close to 70 per cent of the expected revenue in the next five years from its new soya-based product 'Soy day'. The company is banking on its soya product to grab a significant significant share of the branded soy market with the launch of 'Soy day'. At present about 20 per cent of the one-lakh-tonne texturised branded products make the soya market.

The new product will initially be available in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and will initially be imported from the company's manufacturing facilities in Brazil.

Besides 'Soy day', the company has also launched two co-branded products in the country, and a co-branded ready-to-drink soy beverage is scheduled to hit the market next month. Three more co-branded products would be unveiled in India in 2005.

IOC to roll out Xtracare retail outlets in 2 phases
Indian Oil Corporation has announced a phased unveiling of its Xtracare brand of retail outlets across the country.

IOC plans to upgrade a total of 1,080 retail outlets to the Xtracare category by March 31, 2005. In the second phase, an additional 1,800 retail outlets would be brought under the Xtracare umbrella. The Xtracare initiative is part of IOC's customer-centric, retail branding strategy.

Xtracare outlets would be located within the confines of urban centres, the highways would have IOC's Swagat brand of outlets.

These branded outlets would offer branded fuels and have value-added facilities such as the availability of ATMs, fast food centres, BSNL cards, medical facilities and pollution control checks.

IOC has tied up with the Gates Foundation whereby awareness of AIDS and family planning would be facilitated through the Swagat outlets located on highways.

Kaya to expand operations
Kaya Skin Clinic, a venture by Marico Industries that began operations in Mumbai two years ago now plans to expand operations. Kaya recently opened three clinics in Chennai taking the total number of clinics to 27 across the country.

Having invested Rs50 crore in the first phase Kaya Skin Care now plans to enter Kolkata, Ludhiana and Ahmedabad in the next phase.

In the second phase, the company is likely to add 25-30 clinics by March 2006, and would spend around Rs50 crore as it costs around Rs1.5 crore to set up a clinic. The clinic leverages the services of the Kaya Skin Advisory, which has around 40 dermatologists, to identify the best skincare services available internationally.

Disney to launch 2 channels in India
Walt Disney Television International (India) is launching two new channels, Disney Channel and Toon Disney from December 17.

Disney Channel will be a 24-hour Hindi channel and the programmes will comprise animations, studio productions, animated movies and serials.

Toon Disney will be an animation channel and will have Tamil, Telugu, English and Hindi feed. Disney Channel will initially have a Hindi feed and the English feed will be introduced later.

Disney Channel will show two children's films a day. "Films like The Lion King, The Beauty and the Beast and Alladin will be screened.

Since children like seeing their favourite movies again and again, the channel will constantly repeat the movies. One of the first animation serials to be aired is Legend of the Rings of Fire, where each episode will unveil a new story. This will be produced in India.

Both the channels will be pay channels and will be distributed by Star India.

Yo! China on expansion spree
Moods Hospitality, promoter of the Yo! China chain of restaurants is planning to expand the Chinese fast food chain. Launched in May 2003, the `Yo! China' chain of Chinese restaurants has six outlets in New Delhi and plans to launch about 20 more across the country by 2006.

At present all Yo! China outlets are company-owned. However, the company is planning to take the franchisee route for new outlets.

As per expansion plans, Moods will establish five company-owned restaurants in Mumbai whereas another 10 franchisee outlets will come up in the surrounding suburbs. There will be one outlet each in Pune, Faridabad and Jaipur.

The chain posted a turnover of Rs1.8 crore between May 2003-March 2004 and is eyeing Rs 12 crore worth of sales by 2005-06.

Compiled by Mohini Bhatnagar

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