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Malayalam Newspaper Mathrubhumi Goes Mobile

Mathrubhumi, among Kerala’s most prominent newspapers, has gone mobile as a co-branded site with Kerala based startup MobMe Wireless. While access to content is free, and users can download images published on Mathrubhumi in various sizes for free, they do need to sign up to comment, and verify their mobile number. MobMe co-founder Sony Joy told us that the registration is necessary to ensure that the commenters are traceable.

MobMe has a revenue-share deal with Mathrubhumi, and are combining to sell ads for the mobile platform. “It’s easier for Mathrubhumi to get advertisers. We’re testing the waters on the usage patterns, and how the SMS marketing is working right now. Around 46,000 subscribers have subscribed via SMS, and we’ll be sending them WAP links – 2-3 alerts every day. We’re not looking at advertisements on those SMS’ right now”. I asked Joy about operator tie-ups, and he said they’re looking that option, since the site helps increase GPRS usage.

For MobMe, the Mathrubhumi site works as an entry point to their MobShare platform, which they had enabled for CNN-IBNs Citizen Journalism initiative as well. What’s interesting is that MobMe has retained their branding for the site, despite also having a white labeled solution. Readers will recall that Sequoia Capital funded based July Systems also has tie-ups with media companies – they’re powering Mobile sites for Mint, NDTV and quite a few Network18 properties. Unconfirmed: We’ve heard that even these are revenue share deals. Some mobile ad networks have told me in the past that there just isn’t enough premium mobile inventory; looks like that is changing now. MobMe also has plans for their own mobile ad engine to serve ads across media properties that they’ve set up, and are at present serving ads from MKhoj and Admob.

Also look at this development juxtaposed with three possibilities we’d mentioned earlier for MyToday’s mobile solution:

– MyToday can offer to just host the content, much like YouTube, and offer a revenue share to publishers.
– Or, as a value add, MyToday can actually help power branded mobile versions for some of these publishers, for a revenue share deal, and a monthly maintenance fee. At present July Systems is providing mobile website solutions to media companies like HT Media, NDTV and Network18.
– Redirect to those sites which have a mobile version

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Update: On request from July Systems, we’ve moderated an anonymous comment below because of unsubstantiated claims about the companys past and financial situation.

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