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Music for your ears: AirTel launches Hello Tunes, eyes business in millions

30-August-2004
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Music for your ears: AirTel launches Hello Tunes, eyes business in millions

Premlata Madam and Chakaravarty Sir - two professors in the same college, are tangled in a noisy altercation with each other. Two girl students watching the whole sequence from little far off, decide to do something. And one of them, seemingly the smarter of the two, comes up with an idea.

She goes to Premlata and tells her that Chakaravarty would like her to call him. Premlata makes the call and listens to a melody that makes her smile. Meanwhile, the other student tells Chakaravarty that Premlata wants him to call her. The effect of the melody 'Saiya dil mein aana re…' surfaces in form of a very sheepish smile on his face. In the end, Premlata Madam and Chakaravarty Sir are seen walking hand in hand.

Moral of the story: abandon the old 'tring-tring' and speak your heart out with 'Hello Tunes'!

Hello Tunes - a ring back tone facility, the latest from Bharti Tele-Ventures, is a personalised music service where the caller hears songs and other sound clips instead of the traditional ring tone. The service has been initially launched in Delhi and Karnataka to be subsequently expanded to other cities nationally. The service would be made available in six different languages - English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Punjabi and Kannada.

"The 'Hello Tune' service adds a whole new dimension to an already accelerating ring tone industry which is estimated to be near $ 3.2 billion, globally," said Vijay J Lazarus, Chairman, Universal Music India and President, Indian Music Industry. On its effect on the Indian music industry, Lazarus added, "Such a product is not only a revenue earner but also helps in keeping music on top of the mind of consumers almost every time, as mobile phones are now like wrist watches, some thing that we carry every time with us."

"Looking especially at the South Korean Telecom (SKT) example, where the service contributes three times more revenue than other services like download of ring tones and wallpapers and enjoys a penetration level of almost 40 per cent. So, that is the kind of level that we are aiming at," commented Mohit Bhatnagar, Vice-President, New Product and Alliances, on the penetration of the product.

In the US, Verizon Wireless has partnered with BMG and EMI. In Europe, T-Mobile is collaborating with Universal and Sony. So has AirTel also tied-up with any Indian audio major? "We have strategic alliances with Universal Music and T-Series," Bhatnagar informed.

"The service has been priced at Rs 15 per download for the customers and the revenue per download is then shared between the content provider and the service provider, according to the deal structure," Bhatnagar said. Refusing to disclose the media and ad spends for Hello Tunes, he told that AirTel was balancing the both, below-the-line and above-the-line promotions.

However, while replacing the lacklustre 'tring tring' with entertaining notes, Bharti is hoping to clinch a few millions from the expanding Indian mobile base, callers may have a refreshment even while waiting to be responded.

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