Marketing review news
28 July 2005

Airtel offers broadband services at dial-up rates
New Delhi: Airtel Broadband & Telephone Services has unveiled Delight 256, high-speed broadband services which allows unlimited downloads at 256kbps at Rs30 an hour, the same rate it charges for a much slower dial-up internet access.

This makes it the cheapest broadband package in the country. State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam, which has the largest broadband network in the country, offers a 256kbps connection at Rs500 a month with download limit of 1GB. MTNL, which offers broadband services in Delhi and Mumbai, offers same speeds at Rs399 a month with a download limit of 400MB.

The new tariff packages announced by Bharti would be available to Airtel fixed line customers in the northern region to start with.

In the northern region, Airtel currently provides broadband and telephone services in Delhi, Haryana, UP-West (Noida) and has over 52,000 DSL customers in the North.

The Delight 256 tariff package is targeted at the casual internet users. Airtel is also offering a night surfing plan, which offers free night surfing between 9:00 pm to 8:00 am to broadband customers at a nominal monthly tariff of Rs49 only.

Artech launches multilingual computing software
Artech India earlier known as Softek, has launched multilingual computing software called Akshar Naveen, in four Indian languages. The software has features like an independent office suite, unicode compliance and inbuilt transliteration and would be ramped up to allow computing in 16 Indian languages by December this year according to Yogendra Tripathi, country head Artech India.

Akshar Naveen priced at Rs12,500, and an average price of Rs4,500 for a minimum of 600 copies, allows computing in English, Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi and Gujarati. The company is also planning an Akshar Naveen version in Linux.

ESPN acquires telecast rights of FI championship
ESPN Star Sports has again acquired the telecast rights of FIA Formula One (F1) World Championships in India and has now signed a five-year agreement with F1 organisers.

ESPN Star Sports will broadcast live and exclusive coverage of all 19 championship races of F1 from 2006 till 2010 season.

The channel has also roped in Narian Karthikeyan for promoting and building F1 in India.

Idea offers its customers access to e-mails on handsets
Idea Cellular has launched two specially designed e-mail solutions — for business users and for individual customers.

With this, Idea customers can access e-mail with a range of GPRS-enabled (general packet radio service) handsets of their choice across all major towns in the country.The company is targeting the solution at business users who need to check their corporate mails while on the move.

The solutions are available in two need-based editions — a push-based mail service and a pull-based mail service. A push-based mail service provides GPRS connectivity for users using a range of the Symbian and windows-enabled mobile devices.

The pull-based service is for corporate users with any GPRS-enabled mobile device. Both these services are available for a monthly subscription fee and carry GPRS usage charges.

Widely used Web-based email services such as Hotmail, Yahoo!, Rediffmail and ISP-based accounts such as SifyMail can be accessed on the handsets.

Kaya Clinic to penetrate small towns
Kaya Skin Clinic of Marico Industries, makers of Parachute, Saffola and Revive brands, is planning to set up more outlets in smaller cities.

With a substantial presence in 'tier I' cities and metros, Kaya now plans to penetrate 'tier II' cities and towns and recently opened an outlet in Coimbatore.

Kaya has established a network of 34 clinics in the past two and half year and plans to take this to 50 by December 2006.

Services available at Kaya Skin Clinic include laser hair removal, skin polishing and brightening, acne and acne scar reduction, micro-current facial toning, deep wrinkle removal, and fillers.

Kaya is a 100-per cent subsidiary of Marico Industries. The company has so far invested close to Rs1.25 crore on setting up easch clinic.

SBI ties up with LG for co-branded card
SBI Card and consumer electronics firm, LG Electronics India have tied up to launch the LG-SBI Card.
This is the country's first co-branded credit card for the consumer appliances industry and can be used at more than 2 lakh outlets in India.

The card combines all the features of SBI Card with a series of rewards, benefits and promotional offers from LGEIL for the cardholder.

The LG-SBI Card will introduce the benefits of SBI Card to a new and wider group of smart consumers who are looking to consolidate their spending and earn multiple benefits in return.

Titan gets on the FasTrack
Titan Industries is positioning the FasTrack brand at young people. FasTrack launched in the late '90s started off a sub brand of Titan and was positioned with a fashion accessory. In recent times the company has extended FasTrack into the sunglasses segment, under its accessories business unit.

Now, the company is taking the FasTrack story further and has merged both FasTrack watches and the eye gear business under a joint marketing team as it sets out to target the youth market in a focused manner.

Last month, Titan launched the funky and trendy new-look FasTrack watches and pepped up the re-launch through a co-branding exercise with the youth brand MTV. As part of this association, company also launched a FasTrack-MTV product range of 10 designs. Priced at Rs500, it marks the brand's definite move to reach out to the youth in pricing and in its appeal.

The bulk of FasTrack's offerings will now be in the Rs500 to Rs1,000 range as against its earlier price bracket of Rs1,100-Rs2,500.

The company is lowering price points of its fashionable youth brand at a time when a number of international brands are making an entry into the country.

Titan accounts for 60 per cent of the organised market by volume, its share by value is just about 50 per cent due to some erosion.

Nilkamal to add more lifestyle furniture stores
Nilkamal group, makers of moulded plastic furniture, is planning to open a chain of branded lifestyle furniture stores across major metros and smaller cities.

The group has its brand of @Home, imported furniture and plans to take this to at least 25 locations in major cities and simultaneously set up over 40-franchisee operations in smaller towns and cities.

The company plans to target the mass market with its range of furniture imported from all over the world and corner at least 10 per cent of the market to reach a turnover of Rs220 crore in the next five years.

The domestic organised ready furniture market is estimated at Rs600 crore annually.

The company will invest Rs40 crore initially for these stores and take the brand to Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Cochin in the second phase this fiscal.

Customers walking into @Home stores can avail themselves of complementary interior design services and consultancy from interiors experts who will be available in-store.

The company also plans to design and manufacture its own range of furniture under the @Home brand locally.

Compiled by Mohini Bhatnagar

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