afaqs!

ZEEL to launch horizontal portal

By Kapil Ohri , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | February 22, 2010
The portal is expected to go live in the next three months. It will be the first horizontal portal from the media group

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) is gearing up to launch an English horizontal portal, which will be a joint venture with a US based digital media firm called Mail.com Media Corporation (MMC).

MMC, founded Jay Penske, owns and runs an email service called Mail.com. Apart from this, it operates portals such as DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com, an entertainment news portal and Oncars.com, a site dedicated to automobiles.

For the uninitiated, a horizontal portal is a website which covers many subjects or areas such as news, astrology, entertainment, videos, pictures and offer services like e-mail, forums and blogs etc. For instance, Rediff.com and Yahoo.in are horizontal portals. Vertical portals are websites which are focused on one functional area. For instance, Zigwheels.com and Carwale.com are focused on one sector - automobiles.

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Although the media company has not commented on the domain name of the portal, however afaqs! has learnt from reliable sources that the site will be called India.com and it will be the first horizontal portal from ZEEL.

The site is currently registered in the name of a US based company called World Media Group. Though the site, India.com, is already active but it is understood that it will be revamped with new content and user interface and then re-launched.

The sources also reveal that the new site will be launched in India in the next three months.

As per the deal, ZEEL will create or provide the content to the portal, while the US firm will be responsible for the technology aspect. The media group plans to consolidate most of its offline content at one place on the Internet. It may use the portal as an online distribution platform for the content owned by its traditional media properties.

It is expected that ZEEL will initially invest about Rs 50 crore, which includes the cost of content, technology and brand building through advertisements, on the launch of the portal. The portal will have video and text based sections and similar to other horizontal portals, the site will also offer various services such as e-mail to its members.

The media conglomerate already runs more than 40 websites such as Zeetv.com, Zeemarathi.com, Zeenews.com, Zeecric.com, Spicezee.com (a lifestyle content website) and a video site named Mypopcorn.com.

Other media firms which also operate horizontal portals are Network18 (In.com) and Bennett, Coleman & Co. Limited (Indiatimes.com). Some other prominent horizontal portals active in India are Yahoo.in, Rediff.com, MSN.co.in, Sify.com and AOL.in.

Interestingly, STAR India's website is also called Indya.com.