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News Digest: Balaji Results; Tata DoCoMo-MS; Etisalat; Rediff; Walt Disney; BSNL; Google & more


Balaji Telefilms Suffers 88% Fall In Net Profits (By Preethi J)

Operating profits in the quarter ending September 2009 at Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms have taken a hit with average realisation per hour of commissioned programs falling by 14% to Rs. 1.6 million and that of sponsored programs by 24% to Rs. 0.36 million. Despite hours of programming increasing by 20% for commissioned programs and 41% for sponsored, net profit slid to Rs. 10.29 million from Rs. 89.65 million in the previous quarter and net profit margins diving to 2.53% from 22.53%.

Details: Release | Financials

So it’s been an overall poor quarter for Balaji Telefilms, though income from operations rising slightly (2.26%) from the quarter ending June 2009 to reach Rs. 406.83 million. It launched 2 shows – one on Colors called Bairi Piya and one on Surya TV named Kadhaparayum Kaavyaanjali.

Tata DoCoMo Ties Up With Microsoft India; Where’s Market Place? (By Preethi J)


Tata Docomo and Microsoft have entered into a long term partnership to launch applications; they have launched 2 smartphones and 2 services for now. The services include MyPhone for backup and the storefront announced in April – Windows Market Place. More on it on Medianama.

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The Windows 6.5 OS based smart phones by Acer will be distributed by Tata Docomo. It has set up its ‘Dive In’ stores in Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore and plans to open 100 more. (More at Deccan Herald)

Our Take: Surprisingly, it seems to have become a referral site for Microsoft Store Front instead of becoming a competitor to Nokia’s Ovi Store in the mobile arena. Microsoft Store Front is not yet available for India and it is surprising that no details have come forth yet on its launch despite this announcement.

Seshasaye Kanthamraju Appointed Director, Marketing & Distribution, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures India

Seshasaye Kanthamraju has been named Director, Marketing and Distribution, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, India. Seshasaye will be responsible for overall Marketing and Distribution strategy for the theatrical slate and UTV Motion Pictures on the film distribution. Prior to his appointment, he was Director, Corporate Communications at Disney. Kanthamraju will also work closely with Walt Disney Studios Theatrical Production and Acquisitions team.( Release)

Rediff.com Appoints Jayesh Sanghrajka as Head of Finance

Rediff.com has announced the appointment of Jayesh Sanghrajka as Head of Finance, designated Vice President Finance, replacing Joy Basu, who has joined iYogi as CFO. Jayesh will oversee all global finance functions and have direct responsibility for leading all corporate accounting, tax, investor relations and treasury activities and will report directly to company CEO Ajit Balakrishnan. Prior to joining Rediff, he has worked with companies like, Infosys, KPMG and Tishman Speyer. (Release)

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Meritnation.com launches Science & Maths Olympiad Packs

Merination.com, an educational website by Applect Learning System, has recently added educational content for students in classes VI-X who are appearing for National Science Olympiad (NSO) and International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO). These Science & Maths Olympiad Packs contain practice tests and model tests that are designed to help students prepare for the Olympiads. Science & Maths Olympiad pack covers over 900 questions. Once activated, this pack will remain accessible to all students till 31st March 2010. (Release)

Star Launches 7 Channels In Canada

Star, a subsidiary of News Corporation (NASDAQ: NWS) has launched four South Asian Star channels on Rogers Cable, a cable operator in Canada. This will be followed by the launch of three Star Mandarin-language services later this month. The channels launched are Star One, Star India Gold and Star India News as well as Star Vijay (Tamil). Star India Plus has been available on ATN’s services in Canada since 2006. (Release)

FIPB approval to Dainik Bhaskar and Travel Channel International

DB Corp Ltd (DBCL), the holding company of the Dainik Bhaskar Group and Synergy Media, the radio arm of the group will now be able to increase foreign shareholding in itself from 7.14 per cent to 26 per cent and from 7.1 percent to 17.9 percent respectively. The FIPB has also given its nod to Travel Channel International (TIC), a broadcaster of travel programming across the globe, to set up a wholly-owned Indian subsidiary with an investment of Rs 4.2 crore. (Read more at Business Standard)

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Tata Docomo’s ‘Diet-SMS’

Buongiorno, a Value Added Service provider is the technology partner for the diet-sms offering of Tata Docomo. Diet-sms aims to bring down the communication cost on short text messages for TataDocoma customers. In this new offer Tata Docomo will charge a consumer 1 paisa only per character, with no charge for the spaces between words. Tata Docomo has also launched a phone application with which the customer can send short text messages easily. Tata Docomo’s services are currently available in 10 telecom circles —Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Kolkata.(Release)

BSNL To Set Up Internet Data Centres With Private Players

BSNL plans to set up and operate internet data centres (IDCs) in partnership with private players on revenue-share basis. The PSU has invited expression of interests from data centre service providers (DCSP), wherein all capex shall be borne by the bidder in the BSNL provided covered space. With the growing number of telecom players, the demand for IDCs are also on the rise. (Read more at Business Standard)

Tata-Quippo with PE Player Apollo for Aircel’s Towers

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Tata-Quippo, is said to be in advanced stages of negotiations with New York-based private equity fund Apollo Management to finance acquisition of cellular operator Aircel’s tower assets, should it win the bid. Apollo could end up owning around 30% in the combined entity. Other bidders included Reliance Infratel, Global Telesystems, and Indus. (Read more at The Economic Times)

Surana Telecom and Power Limited, is selling 20 percent stake of its solar power subsidiary, Surana Ventures Limited, to foreign institutional investors (FIIs). The money raised will fuel SVL’s expansion plans. (Read more at Business Standard)

Etisalat DB Telecom Announces Outsourcing Agreements With BPO’s

Etisalat DB Telecom today announced outsourcing agreement with BPO service providers namely Tech Mahindra, Aegis & Conflux. Valued at over Rs. 750 crores (USD 150 million), the agreements will cover a period of over 5 years. According to the agreements, Tech Mahindra, Aegis & Conflux will set contact centres to provide a host of customer management services including billing, collections, customer service, retention and also be responsible for the complete management of back office processes. Customers will also have access to the contact center via email, chat and sms besides inbound and outbound calls. Tech Mahindra will be responsible for managing services in North & South India; West and Central India will be managed by Aegis. Conflux will be responsible for servicing customers in Bihar. (Release)

Google announced a surprise bonus for its employees worldwide, which comes in the backdrop of its better than expected results for the third quarter, announced last week. (Read more at The Economic Times)
Also read:
Sep09: Google Profit At $1.64 Billion; Schmidt Says Worst Is Over
Sep09 Call: Part 1: Google Mobile Searches Up 30% QoQ; Search UI Changes, Ad Trends, Place Pages

UK firm may be broadcaster for CWG

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UK based, Satellite Information Service (SIS) is most likely to be selected as broadcaster for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi. SIS and Nimbus Communications, Mumbai were the two shortlisted by Prasar Bharati. (Read more at Business Standard)

John Mullins – joins the Myntra Board as an Independent Director

Myntra has announced the appointment of eminent professor, author and entrepreneurship Guru – John Mullins – to the company’s board of directors effective September 01, 2009. John will join in the capacity of an Independent Director on the Myntra Board. Myntra is the first company in India that John has decided to get involved with at the Board level.

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