After weeks of speculation, Web18, the digital arm of Network18, opened up about the launch of its web offering in.com, touted as the next big focus area of the Network18 group after Colors. The official launch is scheduled for the first week of October. ANC (Alok Nanda & Co) has been appointed as the creative agency for in.com. The launch of in.com marks a total of 17 portals in the Web18 portfolio.
Web18 announced the beta launch of in.com on September 18 in Mumbai and claims to have had a spectacular start with a million registered users already. Web18 is also likely to roll out a mobile version of in.com in the coming week. A 360-degree campaign will soon be launched involving print, television, radio, Internet, out-of-home media, etc. for in.com.
A TVC is already on air on 15 channels, besides Network18 channels.
Rishi Khiani, COO, Web18, said, “In.com has been the result of our determined efforts to build a service that intelligently delivers the Internet to all users. We hope to further strengthen the leadership position of in.com by introducing unique features around the time of its public launch.”
Surya Mantha, CEO, Web18, said, “We are quite pleased with the strong traction that in.com has achieved amongst the netizens while it is still in the beta phase. With only approximately 40 million users and large audience segments yet to access the Net, there is a great upside waiting to be tapped. We believe that in.com will be a category growing influence in the Indian online space, supported by the higher reach of Network18 media products.”
The horizontal portal allows reading of news, blogs, feeds and information, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, email and searching for products, holidays, marriage partners, etc. The site also claims to have a content width with the online collection of licensed music in India and a repertoire of online games, besides delivering the first fully indigenously developed globally benchmarked email service. The site operates with a methodology for site selection, which indexes content and auto-associates objects based on proximity, frequency and uniqueness.
On the name in.com, Khiani said, “The theory one aspect that we looked into was that people look at ‘in to be in’, if we’ve got to have the web’s hottest content, then we should at least have a name that is ‘in’, and that is where we hit on the word. The word ‘in’ could be used for India, interactivity or even international. ‘If it’s in, we’ve got at in.com’. The prospects were limitless and it could only happen with the word ‘in’.”
“We would soon be launching about six new channels. We will also have a section where one is allowed to download the hottest section on the Internet – mobile ring tones, wallpapers, media tools, photo tools and so on. We also plan to come out with a planned section in the near future,” Khiani added.
The site has around 14,000 to 15,000 games and still growing. Hindi, Tamil and a host of regional languages are on the cards other than the English language.
Speaking on the marketing strategies, Khiani said, “We will be launching many co- branded sites. Since we virtually own in.com, therefore, any kind of brand, any kind of movie or even an event can be used and pushed at in.com, hence it automatically becomes a top level domain. A lot of search engine marketing, the social media marketing has happened in-house.”
Commenting on the growth plans, he added, “In three months, we aim to be the leading Internet player. Our growth has been nearly 100 per cent since last year as we have been fairly profitable. The infrastructure cost was quite a lot for in.com. We are also constantly looking at acquiring good solid companies and are working on few partnerships, which we can’t disclose as of now.”
He further said, “India is still at a nascent stage in the Internet spectrum. But in the next two years we will see a substantial growth in the Internet segment, we will see further growth in the Internet segment with the increase use of mobile phones. We will also see a growth in Tier 2 cities along with the availability of cheaper broadband service.”
Web18 is the Internet and mobile arm of Network18. It has a variety of leading information and transactional services based on the Internet. Other offerings include MoneyControl.com, Cricketnext.com, CommoditiesControl.com, PowerYourTrade.com, Tech2.com, Biztech2.com.IBNLive.com, Compareindia.com, Storeguru.com, Indiaearnings.com, JobStreet.com, Indiwo.com, Buzz18.com, and Josh18.com.