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STAR makes foray into interactive wireless communication

04-October-2004
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STAR makes foray into interactive wireless communication

STAR India is all set to break the clutter among satellite owners with an innovative foray into the interactive wireless market, eyeing the huge mobile subscriber base. The media major has launched a unique reverse bidding contest through short messaging code 7827.

Speaking to exchange4media on the new value-added service from the STAR stable, Peter Mukerjea, CEO, STAR India, said, “In today’s world, wireless has caught the fancy of people. There is a large mobile user base in Mumbai, which also has a huge potential for us. As per my understanding, there are approximately 35 million mobile users in India. With this kind of an initiative, we can easily connect with them in an engaging manner.”

In early September STAR India announced an auction initiative, a first of its kind on the tube in India – largely in the lines of reverse auction of apartments in the UK, with its popular late night show ‘Kahiin To Hoga’. The initiative, ‘Kismat Jagao, 7827 Lagao’ is a reverse auction bid where the lowest bidder can walk away with jewellery worth Rs 20 lac.

“This is just one step in the long ladder. This proposition was in position with the programme and was a unique concept. We have made arrangements with all mobile service operators in the country except the CDMA section. Our TG is anyone with a handset,” Mukerjea said. On being asked how would middle class housewives, the aficionados of the different K series, would use this new service, he said, “I’m sure their husbands or children can lend them; in fact, I rather doubt whether they actually do not possess a handset.”

As Mukerjea observed, such innovative ways could bring in a stream of revenues for media houses. “We can offer these services to our advertisers as well or, for that matter, as a test drive. At the same time, we are heavily investing in this project because we can see the long-term benefits. It will be anything upward $ 3 million,“ he said.

STAR India, for the current development, has adopted some management initiatives as well. “We are putting in place a team. At present and from a management point of view, Sumantro Dutta, CEO Radio City, Mumbai, will head the project. Things like recruitment and management decisions are in the pipeline.” Mukerjea added, “It is a combined effort of certain marketers and advertisers. In our present endeavour, we will be in the process of educating people as to my surprise it was revealed that not many mobile owners know how to send an SMS. We have a long road to go”.

And, how would STAR be discrete in its approach for the new interactive vehicle as there are a number of other people offering in the same field? “Well, that is the challenge. Our creative people will make it simple yet exciting. And, that will be based on the empirical research conducted by STAR,” Mukerjea concluded.

However, the event is going strong. In order to take part in the contest, mobile users need to type ‘BID’ followed by a space and then their personal bid amount, like BID 6.44, and send it to 7827. One can send in as many bids as he wants. What is unique in this auction is that it is not the highest bidder but the lowest and the unique bidder who gets the jewellery. The lowest and unique bid is Rs 1.50. Bidding is allowed in two decimal places. The bidding kicked off on September 23 at 11.30 pm and ends on the October 7 at midnight. For more details on how to participate, terms and conditions, information is available on ‘my7827.com’.

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