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News Digest: INI-America Movil, BIG TV HD, Disney, Religare, Cleartrip, TimesJobs, Zapak, Atom, Google

BIG TV To Deliver 5 HD Channels In India With NatGeo; launches HD DVR Service

Reliance Big TV has signed a HD content deal with National Geographic to offer five new HD channels over the next two months, as complementary offers to new customers, as well as a host of HD content by forging strategic alliances with top global HD content providers. It has also launched an HD DVR Set-Top-Box with recording upto 200 hours and a universal remote for TV & STB. The price: Rs. 7490 for new customers, and Rs. 5990 for existing customers. The HD rollout covers 100 cities, supported by a network of (they claim), over 100,000 retail points. Reliance BIG TV also intends to add two new transponders that will allow it additional bandwidth to offer more HD content and channels for the next one year, as well as increase it overall channel capacity to over 300. The company also plans to launch six new interactive services during this fiscal.

Geodesic Bags America Movil Deal For Windows Live

Interactive Networks, a fully owned subsidiary of Geodesic Ltd, has been selected as the exclusive Windows Live application provider by telecom operator America Movil (AMX). Carlos Sims’ America Movil is the fourth largest carrier in the world with more than 200 million mobile subscribers and 17 Latin American operations. INI will set up its Windows Live Gateway, allowing America Movil subscribers ti access the service from their mobile phones, enabling them to connect, chat, check emails and share photos. America Movil will roll out services to customers in 17 Latin American countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico and Uruguay.

Cleartrip Launches UAE Website

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Online Travel Agent Cleartrip has launched its UAE website, reports Al Bawaba. Competitor MakeMyTrip also has a UAE site. This is its first venture outside of India. According to Cleartrip founder Hrush Bhatt, UAE has Internet penetration of over 60%, and an e-commerce market size of $3.6 Billion. As a differentiator, Cleartrip is pitching its speed and ease of use: they had recently conducted a ‘fatafat challenge’ for their users, to ascertain the least time taken to book a ticket. Cleartrip has tied up with airlines like Air Arabia, Air India Express and Tiger Airways, and allows payment in Dirhams. Among the support options, Cleartrip has set up a toll free number for the UAE, though it doesn’t provide a toll free number for its India business, wherein STD and local charges apply. Why? (news via Alootechie)
Correction: Cleartrip does have a toll free number in India. I’ve been calling the toll number all this time.

Zapak Gets Into The Social Media Marketing Space With Zapak Social Connect

The advertising business not quite working out? Zapak has entered the services space with the launch of Zapak Social Connect, which will offer social media solutions to brands; Charles Theodore will head this business segment for Zapak, which comprises of a team of 8. They will offer social and casual games, applications and contests in social networks, stand alone applications in portals which leverage social connect, ORM (Online Reputation Management), buzz marketing for brands and product launches and more.

This is quite convenient for Zapak: As a publisher of games getting into the social media marketing space. I wonder if they’ll ever NOT recommend Zapak as a marketing destination for advertisers.

Muthoot Fincorp Deploys Atom Technologies’ Mobile Loan Management Solution

The Muthoot Fincorp, a financial services arm of Muthoot Pappachan Group, has introduced a loan management solution that is delivered via mobile. The service is powered by atom technologies’ m-Collections. The mobile loan management solution will equip Muthoot Fincorp’s field staff with a Java based application on handsets, to collect payments and immediately and automatically update customer accounts on the Muthoot Fincorp system. The model would cater to Muthoot Fincorp’s diverse mix consumer loan products that includes gold, home, automotive and trade.

Two Arrested For Selling Job Portal Data

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PuneMirror reports that two people were arrested for selling data from various job portals on DVDs. The data was being sold for around Rs. 10,000, in MS Excel format on DVD. An FIR had been filed by Times Business Solutions, which owns the job site TimesJobs.com. Readers should note that job portals monetize through licensing access to their job applicant database for a fee. Normally, job portals tend to note and often disable IP Addresses that are leeching data automatically. This one must have gotten through.

Religare Info To Launch SelectYourBroker.in; Ties Up With NetworkPlay

Religare Info Service will launch SelectYourBroker.com, allowing investors to find, rate, review and discuss stock brokers in India, while at the same time, allowing brokers to showcase their services. Religare Info Service has over 150 brokers in the country as customers for its financial web solutions and research services, and the site will be used for lead generation. Selectyourbroker.com has listed over 1000 brokers and more than 30,000 sub-brokers, operating across multiple exchanges. Additionally, the company has inked an exclusive partnership with ad network NetworkPlay.in, for Pan-India sales of its advertisement solutions for brokers, sub-brokers, research houses and financial institutes for www.selectyourbroker.com.

Disney India names Raju Venkataraman as VP & GM For Disney Media Distribution

Disney-ABC International Television, the integrated media distribution arm of the Walt Disney Company, has been rechristened Disney Media Distribution. Raju Venkataraman has been named VP and GM, reporting to Mahesh Samat, MD of The Walt Disney Company India Pvt. Ltd. Venkatraman will be responsible for the licensing of branded and non-branded content to all platforms including free-to-air, cable and satellite broadcasters, mobile, broadband and VOD platforms. He will also continue as VP of channel distribution for Disney Media Distribution, Asia Pacific and also report to Rob Gilby, MD of Disney Media Distribution Asia Pacific. Previously Raju Venkataraman was in charge of Business Operations for Disney Channel in South East Asia prior to taking up the Channel Distribution mandate in June 2008.

Google Adds Virtual Keyboard to Hindi Search

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Google has integrated virtual keyboards their language search, including for Hindi, the only one among Indic languages so far. We tried Google search in other languages – Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi and noticed that there is an English language keyboard attached, which inputs indic text phonetically.

Adding keyboards to search isn’t new, though. I’d first notice one with Hindi search engine Raftaar a few years ago. It helps, but doesn’t adequately address the issue of having a physical language keyboard. Imagine using your mouse to type keys…

Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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