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Catch Sachin on your cell

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Catch Sachin on your cell

All those who think cricket is religion and Sachin Tendulkar is its god can access him, in a manner of speaking, when on the move.

In a first of its kind deal, the Mumbai-based Nazara Technologies has signed a worldwide exclusive deal with Sachin Tendulkar to develop a wide range of mobile phone content based on him.

This includes games, wallpapers, screensavers, themes, SMS trivia, the latest news on Tendulkar and mobile communities based on him.

Says Nitish Mittersain, chief executive officer at Nazara Technologies: “The idea is to bring Tendulkar to the growing number of mobile phone users in India on their handsets, as well as to the large number of cricket lovers worldwide for whom he is a big idol. This is probably the biggest mobile content brand deal in this part of the world and is a signal to the kind of growth expected in this industry over the next couple of years.”

An executive of WorldTel, Tendulkar’s marketing agent, confirmed the deal but refused to divulge details.

Sources said the three-year deal was worth about Rs 20 crore, but both parties refused to confirm this, citing confidentiality.

Nazara gets an exclusive licence to develop mobile content on Tendulkar, using his likeness and name, and distribute it worldwide. The company will distribute the content to mobile operators who, in turn, will market it. WorldTel facilitated the deal, they said.

Mittersain said marketing tie-ups were being negotiated worldwide specifically for the Tendulkar content, though the company has a distribution network with mobile operators globally.

“We expect strong demand from mobile operators, considering Tendulkar’s brand recognition and image. We are already in discussions with operators in the UK for a major launch in their market with Tendulkar’s games, based on cutting-edge mobile technology.” The US was also a huge market with over 2 million Indians, a targeted consumer base, he added.

In India the Tendulkar mobile phone game will probably be priced at about Rs 100 and wallpapers for phones at Rs 10 each.

In the UK, the game will be priced at about POUNDS 5 and in the US at about $5. Nazara normally gets 40-65 per cent of the retail price, depending on the country of distribution.

Nazara Technologies is a developer and publisher of mobile entertainment products for the global market. The company was trying to bring top brands to the mobile consumer, Mittersain said.

Besides Tendulkar, it recently signed deals with the Magna group in India to bring content based on their popular magazines such as “Stardust” to the mobile phone market. There was a growing worldwide market for mobile content based on Indian movies, he added.

The company has also signed up with global American brands such as the evergreen Archie’s Comics and British athlete Colin Jackson.

“The Archie’s comic licence will allow us to develop fun games based on all the popular Archie characters, deliver wallpapers and screensavers based on them, as well as deliver the actual comic strips on the phone. The deal with them gives us exclusive access to over 60 years of comics in their archives. We expect to generate approximately Rs 20-25 crore in revenue over the next three years through Archie,” Mittersain said.

“Several other top brands are under finalisation and we hope to announce 4-5 more deals in January,” he added.

Nazara has its own SMS shortcode in India (6363) and runs a variety of services through this. The company also represents a large number of European and American mobile content developers for distribution in the Indian market and recently signed a content provisioning deal with Batelco, the mobile operator in Bahrain.


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