Singapore based mobile advertising and media content company Novosol, which had launched the mobile cricket magazine MoCricket last September, has now extended the service to the web, available at web.mocricket.com. The service was earlier available through WAP, SMS, IVR and USSD platform.
Features: Similar to its WAP portal, the web portal offers cricket-related video roundups and picture slideshows with captions. There is also a horizontal ticker at the top, which offers latest cricket news updates, and scores among others.
What’s interesting though is the way the stories are implemented on the website.Users will have to initially subscribe to the service to unlock any specific story on the portal. After subscription, users can click on any of the stories and enter their mobile number, following which they will receive a four-digit code, which they have to enter to access to story. The company claims to offer subscribers unlimited access to its content, after subscription.
Registration: When we checked, we noticed that the service is currently limited only to Airtel users. Novosol had previously partnered with Airtel to offer its sports content through WAP platform with plans to roll these services across various channels like WAP, MMS, Video, SMS, IVR and Apps.
The website currently offers three types of subscription packages – daily, weekly, monthly. Users can send an SMS with the respective keyword to 54321 depending upon the plan they intend to subscribe. For instance, users will have to send an SMS MOC for the daily plan; MOCW for the weekly plan; MOCM for the monthly plan. While the daily subscription plan costs Rs 3/day, the weekly subscription plan costs Rs 20/week and the monthly subscription plan costs Rs 49/month.
The company also noted that the service will offer an unified subscription facility, which allows subscribers to access the service on mobile, Facebook and web on a single subscription plan.
Novosol had launched its cricket service MoCricket during the ICC World Cup 2011 last year, by partnering with Airtel and Reliance Communications to deploy it on their networks. The company had also stated it intends to extend the service to six more Indian operators by early 2012. It also claimed that it had registered 1 million paid subscribers in 40 days during the IPL tournament.
Only Airtel? As stated earlier, the service is available only for Airtel customers despite launching the service last year, which is quite disappointing. However, we are not sure if the company has any exclusive tie-up with Airtel for this initiative.
Too Cumbersome: While the ‘unlocking story with a code’ model looks quite promising, we are a bit skeptical if users will go through the trouble of subscribing to the service to read any story, since there are already several sports portals where users can view sports content for free.
We tried accessing the service through Chrome on OS X Mountain Lion and were able to access only to the Photos story section, with the video stories section not loading at the time of writing this article.
Similar Developments: In July 2012, Trivone Digital Services had launched a sports-focused portal called Khelnama. The company said that the portal will offer news, views and insights across various sporting disciplines like Football, Hockey, Tennis and Golf on the local and International arena. Prior to this, Wisden India had inked a strategic partnership with NDTV to offer cricket related content across multiple platforms including TV, web, and mobile and conduct offline events including the Indian edition of the Wisden Cricket Awards. The company had also stated its plans to launch a co-branded app which will offer trivia, stats and content about cricket.
Mobile messaging and advertising company, Affle, had also launched a co-branded cricket focused site with Samsung called ’The Cricket Hub‘, in a bid to promote the company’s Windows Phone device, Omnia W. The site offered news and stories pertaining to off-the-field facts and incidents, trivia, cricket and cricket players gossip, locker room chats, dressing room action, player quotes and off-the-field incidents as well as live cricket scores and contest.