Started with an ad based revenue model two and half years back, indiatimes.com is now taking to the subscription based services to boost its revenues. Buoyant by improved Internet market, indiatimes is planning to introduce new paid value added service for its users beginning next month.
Speaking to exchange4media, Rajesh Sawhney, Chief Operating Officer, Times Internet Ltd. said, "We are looking at selective spaces on our portal to launch paid services based on subscriptions in 7-8 areas in phases. One service to be launched every month. This does not mean that we are moving away from our current set of free services. Both will co-exist. For example, our e-mail offering which is free right now is going to be bundled with a number of paid value added offering to make a difference to the life of an indiatimes user."
But when asked is it really the right time to go for paid services on indiatimes especially when recently the newspapertoday.com closed down due to few takers for its paid services, Sawhney replied, "The Internet space is maturing. The discerning consumers are ready to pay for differentiating services which adds value to their life. And in any case, we are going to push migration of users from free to paid services as a gradual process."
Indiatimes.com relied on advertising to survive in the Internet domain initially but has now taken the e-commerce and mobile Internet route to improve its bottomline. It is earning a healthy annual advertising revenue of Rs.15-20 crore as claimed by the company. Its e-commerce initiative like Sahara auctions has been a big differentiator for indiatimes.com. In fact, in October month alone, e-commerce generated a revenue of Rs.4 crore for indiatimes with more than 40% coming from travel related services.
Indiatimes claims that more than 66% of its users comes from 18-30 years age group positioning it as a youth brand. If these youth segments can adapt themselves to paying for online content and services as envisaged by indiatimes, it could open a new chapter in the Indian Internet industry!