The Walchand Capital Group promoted Cricketnext.com plans to displace the British portal CricInfo.com as the leading cricket portal by the next world cup in 2003. In order to leverage its strength as a niche vertical portal, Cricketnext is going on the pay mode with a nominal subscription fee. It plans to pull out of Indya.com, Indiatimes.com and Yahoo, where it is the cricket content provider unless they pay upfront fees
Cricketnext managing director and editor Sanjay Jha says that it was a matter of time before the portal with average 80 million hits per month in 2001 displaces CricInfo, which currently has an average 110 million hits.
The company had spent about Rs 5 crore on advertising last year while it had a revenue of Rs 72 lakh. This year the company have scaled down its adspend to Rs 8-10 lakh and expects that the revenues to be in the same region.
The portal is not only expected to break-even in course of the next eighteen months, but is also expected to show a profit.
The Group is also taking an e-commerce initiative, Batnext.com, which it is planning to float as a separate enterprise by the beginning of the next fiscal. Cricketnext has entered into a strategic tie-up with Rediff.com, whereby Batnext will be promoted on the site.
The Group is looking for funding to the extent of Rs 2.5-3 crore for Batnext and is in talks with venture capital funds and a few corporates.
According to industry sources, the RPG Group is also close to picking up a 30 per cent stake in Cricketnext in a part cash and part stock deal. As part of the deal, RPG will be merging its own cricket-related portal Fourthumpire.com with Cricketnext.
The move will enable Cricketnext to take on the Ceat cricket ratings online. The RPG Group is also believed to have agreed to put its marketing muscle to promote Cricketnext, through its retail chains and telecom initiative.