Marketing review news
28 December 2006

BSNL to offer triple play broadband
Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) plans to be a one-stop shop for all internet needs of Indians. The company will soon begin web site and e-mail hosting services as well as offer triple play and gaming at reduced broadband rates to netizens.

Launching a range of Web site and e-mail hosting packages for small and medium businesses BSNL will also offer web co-location for those who cannot afford to store / maintain servers at their facilities.

To offer these services, BSNL has created a primary data centre in Bangalore and supporting ones at Noida and Mumba while a disaster recovery facility has been started at Pune.

BSNL plans to bring in the New Year with the promise of entertainment over internet. Video gaming will be offered to gamers of lore in February. The roll out of triple play services (where a single cable will bring broadband, television and telephone into homes) will begin in Pune in January. BSNL, in association with Maharashtra Knowledge Corp and Pune-based Divinet plans to offer citizens of Pune this service. Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad will follow with rollouts around February-March.

Oberoi hotels included among world's best
Readers of Conde` Nast Traveler, one of the most influential travel magazines in the world have rated two Oberoi hotels as being among the best in the world in the hospitality sector. These are the Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur and the Oberoi Rajvilas in Jaipur.

These hotels were earlier voted among the 10 best in the world in a readers' poll conducted by Travel +Leisure, the US magazine with a monthly audited circulation of almost a million.

The Oberoi Udaivilas has also been accorded a score of 100 for rooms and design.

The properties are rated on criteria ranging from location, service and rooms to activities and food. The Oberoi Group at present operates in five countries including India, Egypt, the Mauritius, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia with 34 properties, including the luxury Oberoi Hotels & Resorts and the Trident Hilton Hotels.

Easycabs starts radio taxi service
Carzonrent India, which is the sole licensee for Hertz International in India, has announced the launch of its radio taxi services for Delhi. The fleet of 250 cabs come fitted with GPRS technology, digital fare meters and thermal printers for issuing bill / receipt, etc.

The chauffeurs for Easycabs have been recruited after conducting police, bank and two personal verifications. Easycabs will also start operating in Mumbai and the company has received approval to provide up to 10,000 cars.

Hyderabad and Chennai will also soon see 500 cars each, while tier-II cities like Pune and Jaipur will get 250 cabs each in the near future. Easycabs will offer swipe machines for payments through credit cards and for this the company has tied up with ICICI Bank for use of swipe cards. In the near future the company will issue prepaid card to its regular users.

Easycabs will go commercial on January 1, 2007. The company plans to add 250 more cabs within three months and build a fleet of 5000 cabs before Commonwealth Games 2010.

Reliance launches health insurance policy
Reliance General Insurance has launched a health insurance plan called "Reliance HealthWise Policy," which is available in three plans; Standard, Silver and Gold. The premium for a couple for a cover of Rs1 lakh is Rs820 (Standard Plan), Rs900 (Silver), and Rs1,000 (Gold).

One of the features includes cover for all hospitalisation expenses incurred by the donor for a major organ transplant. The policy will also cover pre-existing diseases from the third year for Gold and Silver policyholders.

In case the policyholder contracts any of the nine critical illnesses - including cancer, stroke, paralysis - the sum insured under the policy is doubled (which will be separately available apart from the basic sum insured) towards meeting the hospital expenses.

Children above three months and adults below 65 years can apply for the policy. A `Family Floater Option' is also available, covering the entire family under one single policy with the sum insured being available to each member.

Other benefits include daily hospitalisation allowance for a maximum period of seven days, nursing allowance for a maximum period of five days, pay-back of charges towards local ambulance and recovery benefit of Rs10,000 in case of hospitalisation for more than ten consecutive days and allowance towards expenses of an escort at the hospital for a maximum of five days.

BPCL increases focus on the 'Beyond LPG' service
BPCL has spun its division that offered the value added service 'Beyond LPG,' into a full-fledged business unit for its LPG customers. The company hopes to double its turnover to Rs137 crore in the current fiscal and to Rs150 crore by the end of 2007-08.

Introduced in October 2003, the initiative envisages BPCL's LPG distributors selling household appliances, kitchen utensils and even tea and pickles, along with gas cylinders. Branded products are home delivered to BPCL customer using the existing delivery system for LPG cylinders. The customers have to place orders over the phone.

Company officials said the `Beyond LPG' service was launched three years ago to give a boost to the flagging business of LPG distributors by providing them an extra revenue source. The business works on the basis of BPCL negotiating with manufactures to get goods in bulk for its LPG distributors at lower-than-market prices.

In the process the company gets 1-2 per cent margin. By end of the current fiscal, the company hopes to make a profit of about Rs 8 crore from this scheme.

The `Beyond LPG' is a voluntary scheme and no distributor is forced to offer it. The company is also in the process of tying up with leading mobile operators for pre-paid and post-paid connections and recharge vouchers.

Crocodile goes in for image makeover
The Crocodile brand will soon have a makeover. The T-shirts that had so far come with a green crocodile on them will soon have a grey crocodile on them as part of the change of image. The `grey' colour is to signify that the apparel has more to offer to those in the 25-30 age group.

Recently the Crocodile brand was acquired by the Avinashi-based S P Apparels from the Coimbatore-based JV Crocodile Products.

Along with the change in logo colour, the company has also made changes in the layout for the `Crocodile' showrooms, the packaging used for the apparel and the very quality of the fabrics that go into the garments.

Company officials said the brand revamp took place quickly. Within weeks of takeover, all the old stocks were withdrawn from `Crocodile' galleries to make way for the right `fit' garments. The sales have begun to bring results with sales from April 2006 to December 2006 touching Rs8 crore, more than the entire sales of the previous year.

The revamp has also led to the closing down of some of the franchisee shops (from 53 to 36 now) and the current thinking on area focus for branded stores will see S P Apparels identifying specific metro regions such as Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and areas in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Britannia to expand scope of brands
Britannia Industries plans launch new products under its existing brands and will "liberate the existing brands from their conventional image," said company officials. Over the next year, the company will launch new products under its large brands such as Tiger, Good Day, Marie Gold, Pure Magic, 50:50 and Treat. These include a `namkeen' snack under the 50:50 brand called `50:50 chutkule' and a new product under the Tiger brand.

Recently, the company launched its second product under the Treat brand (better known for cream biscuits) called `Fruit Rollz' in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Priced at Rs10 per pack, it contains four rolls and is available in four flavours including apple, strawberry, orange and dates.

Britannia also plans to launch a third product under Treat. The company has earmarked an ad spend of about Rs 3 crore for the Treat brand and expects revenues from `Fruit Rollz' to be about Rs 24 crore (15 per cent of the Rs 160 crore Treat Brand) over the next year.

`Fruit Rollz' is being manufactured in West Asia by a third party and is likely to be manufactured in India in future.

Chyawanprash gets image revamp; new variants launched
Chyawanprash, which clocks 80-95 per cent of its annual sales between October and March every year is being given a makeover by its top selling companies Emami and Dabur with new variants being launched.

Dabur's Chyawanprash will soon be launched in a sugarless variant targeted at diabetic patients and those who prefer less sugar, while working on other variants simultaneously. Last year, Dabur introduced its first variant Chyawanshakti, which had high levels of ashwagandha to combat stress.

Emami's Rs 30-crore Sona Chandi Chyawanprash, which clocks 95 per cent of its sales during October and March has recently introduced its test version of Chocolate Chyawanprash in Kolkata and Delhi, and is in the process of rolling out the variant in the rest of the country.

The company is also in the process of launching its Kesar and Dry Fruits Chyawanprash.

The companies have signed up top film stars for their ad campaigns also. While Dabur has Amitabh Bachhan as its brand ambassador, Emami has chosen Shah Rukh Khan.

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