afaqs!

UTV to spend Rs 120 crore on new media in next two years

By Kapil Ohri , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | May 28, 2008
UTV will have a network of 20 portals and will earn revenue through selling content, e-commerce and advertising on its digital properties

United & #BANNER1 & # New Media Ventures, a subsidiary of UTV which looks after its Internet and mobile properties, is targeting entertainment and wealth management of youth through its digital properties.

UTV plans to spend Rs 120 crore in the next two years to launch new Internet and mobile portals. It will also acquire digital music from various music companies.

TN Prabhu, chief operating officer, United New Media Ventures, says, "We are planning to have a network of 20 portals by the end of September. Our online and mobile ventures will be based on three categories, business, entertainment and technology. UTV will provide a common representation or identity to all the properties in which it owns a stake."

In the technology domain, it has recently acquired 76 per cent stake in IT Nation for Rs 15 crore. IT Nation runs various technology related portals such as Techtree.com, CXOtoday.com, Enterpriser.in and a magazine, 360 Magazine.

Techtree.com is a consumer oriented portal which provides news and information on gadgets such as mobile phones, laptops and consumer electronic products. CXOtoday.com is a niche website which offers technology related news to chief technology officers of IT companies. Channeltimes.com is targeted at technology vendors and offers information on products, services and business trends for the benefit of channel vendors. Enterpriser.in is a business networking site for people related to technology. IT Nation also has an event management division which organises seminars on technology and conferences targeted at chief technology officers.

Post acquisition, United New Media Ventures is working to revamp the user interface and improve the content quality of Techtree.com, CXOtoday.com and ChannelTimes.com. Separate mobile portals of these websites will be launched in the coming months.

Content from Techtree.com is already being integrated in the form of a gadget based programme, The TechTree, on UTVi, the business news channel of UTV. The programme features the latest gadgets, games, websites and technology related tips and tricks.

Prabhu adds, "IT Nation will launch three new portals related to consumer electronics and those portals will also become part of United New Media Ventures."

In the entertainment category, UTV's existing web portfolio includes UTV Motion Pictures, Bindass, Bindass Movies, World Movies and UTV Movies. UTV also owns a stake in the online gaming portal, IndiaGames.com.

United New Media Ventures has acquired 20,000 songs in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Bhojpuri, Punjabi, English and Hindi from various music companies. It will offer these songs as ringtones, and also as downloads on MP3 players, iPods and mobile phones.

It has tied up with major mobile operators such as Airtel, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices and Reliance Communications in India, and 65 mobile operators in other parts of the world, to make its entertainment related content available through them. For instance, it is offering song downloads through the mobile portals of operators in India. Consumers may download ringtones through a short code, 59995.

Prabhu says, "There are plans to launch a music website, which will offer song downloads. UTV Motion Pictures (utvmotionpictures.com), a site which offers movie trailers and reviews, will be used to carry out e-commerce by offering movie downloads."

United New Media Ventures will use advertising to earn revenue from all its sites. However, entertainment ventures and mobile portals will primarily earn their revenue through content selling. The e-commerce model will be employed for selling online videos.

UTV has recently launched a business news website called UTVi.com.