Webchutney, the digital advertising agency and consulting firm, has launched an interactive biography app Life and Times of Roger Federer. The app is available for Rs 110 on the iTunes Stores and is compatible with all Apple iOS devices that support iOS 5 and above, namely iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. It’s surprising to see a digital marketing company foraying into digital publishing. Note that Webchutney had inked a partnership with One97 for creating gaming franchises in March 2011, but we didn’t hear much about developments on that front; though we noticed that Webchutney published a game called Chidiya Udi in the App Store, in December 2011.

App experience: The app is 94MB and comes with four chapters of interactive video with background score and audio. These chapters includes story of Roger Federer from his childhood, early years, the rise of Federer, and Roger Federer: The Star. To read, users need to swipe the app to get to the next page. We found the app very responsive and the background score to be pleasant. The interactive video makes the reading experience more fun. For example, there’s a page where when you can touch baby Federer’s face and he starts crying, and there’s a page where you can switch on the lights when teen Federer gets back home. Not all pages are interactive though and the app notifies the user when the page is an interactive one with an animated white spot. At the end of the story, the app displays table of results with information of the Grand Slam titles he has won.

Users can go back to individual pages or change chapters in settings. We like the fact that the app is very much noise free and that it utilizes the entire screen for the story instead of adding unnecessary buttons.

 

With the app, Webchutney forays into digital publishing. The company claims that it plans to create a portfolio of interactive and informative content across apps, casual games, interactive stories and VAS content. However, the app’s $1.99 or Rs 110 seems to be a little expensive for the Indian market where users are hesitant to buy apps. It would be interesting to know the number of downloads the app records in next few weeks, which would reveal whether the Indian market is accepting the price range for a story based app.

Other Webchutney developments: Last year, we had reported that Japanese advertising agency Dentsu was in advanced talks to buy out Webchutney. Webchutney, had registered a profit of Rs 6.35 crore in the financial year 2011-2012, generating a revenue of Rs 21.55 crore. Note that Network18 holds 230,410 shares of Webchutney Studios, with a 70.06% stake in the company, through its investment arms – it owns 49.42% of the shareholding through Capital18 Limited, Mauritius and 20.64% through Capital18 Fincap Private Limited, with 230,410 equity shares.