division of Time Warner, and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), the broadband and telecommunications services provider in Delhi and Mumbai, have entered into a strategic partnership to bring AOL's products and content to MTNL subscribers through a co-branded portal.
The portal, www.mtnl.aol.in, will offer a combination of AOL products - email with unlimited storage, Instant Messenger, content straddling across genres such as cricket, Bollywood, Hollywood and music, and also an opportunity to watch videos online. Further, the portal will offer a special section dedicated to MTNL utilities such as services (IPTV and games on demand) and product offerings, tariff plans and customer care help. MTNL Triband users will be given the option of making mtnl.aol.in their default destination to access content across various genres. Content will be sourced from newswires. There are no plans in the immediate future to source videos/content from television channels. However, this will be considered at a later stage.
The portal will be chiefly entertainment and news led, much like Yahoo! and Rediff. A TVC and mass media campaign (created by Saatchi & Saatchi) is on its way to announce the launch of the portal, which aims to make it a 'cool' and 'aspirational' portal aimed at the 23+ yuppie.
Gopal of MTNL
PG Ponnapa, V-P and GM, AOL, says, "We were looking to partner a leader in the broadband space, and MTNL offered us the perfect premise."
On a more general plane, he predicts that broadband (currently 30 per cent of the Internet usage market) will overtake dial-up (currently 70 per cent) by 2010, as a result of which speed and downloads won't be much of a problem. "At present, we have 40 million people on the Internet in India; this will rise to 120 million in the next five years," adds Ponappa.