‘Co-optition’ was how Neville Taraporewalla, Country Manager, Yahoo! India described it. “While we would compete in certain areas, in the fields where there are synergies and we can work for mutual benefit, we would definitely explore the opportunities to work together,” – he explained it.
At the moment, the areas Rediff.com and Yahoo! India have decided to venture together are online shopping and mobile content. This effectively means that Rediff.com would power the shopping channel being launched on Yahoo! India and Yahoo would facilitate the use of its value added mobile users for Rediff visitors. Yahoo! India would showcase their prime content like ring tones, polyphonic tunes, wallpapers, java games among others on the Rediff.com website where Rediff.com users would be able to download this content through the Yahoo! India shortcode, 8243. This content would be in addition to Rediff Mobile premium content currently available on the Rediff shortcode 7333.
Speaking on the occasion, Ajit Balakrishnan, Chairman and CEO, Rediff.com stated, “It is a rare alliance, and signifies a major jump in the online arena in India. Purpose of the tie-up is to serve the Indian online and mobile users better.”
Said Taraporewalla: “We get into strategic alliance with strong local players in the countries where we have a presence. We recognise that Rediff shopping experience is world class and we look forward to work with them. The tie-up would help Rediff consumers, as well as we would offer them excellent mobile platform with value-added services.”
Answering the question, if Rediff expected an increase in its revenues, Balakrishnan stated, “It would definitely increase the exposure to our shopping. More than 85 per cent of netizens would now have access to it. Though I cannot say to what extent our revenues would increase, sheer volume of exposure would be a big step forward. Two strong ethical companies coming together is proof enough that it is a step in the right direction.”
And, did he hope his share prices shooting up as a result of this tie-up? “The deal was definitely not done with an eye cocked on the share price,” Balakrishnan responded.
As for Yahoo’s intent behind the tie-up, Taraporewalla stated, “We need to recognise individual strengths in the areas that we operate in and we have come together to offer a common platform to the consumer – that would bring in a lot of convenience.”
As to what would be the revenue sharing pattern between the two, Balakrishnan stated, “It is very equitable. However, commercials are confidential and cannot be shared.”
It’s rare to see two strong competing brands coming together for the mutual benefit. Though the move is being touted as a revolution in the area of Indian Internet space, to what extent it would really ‘explode’ the market remains to be seen. The combined forces of the two of the strongest portals in the country would, however, definitely be watched with keen interest.