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MARCH 25, 2007
 Cover Story
 BT Special
 Back of the Book

Mobile Security
Today, it is all about information and how the right information is sent to the right people at the right time and right place. Uncertainty about how to secure mobile phones in the face of increasing threats is slowing individual adoption of mobile applications. There are many facets of mobile security, including network intrusion, mobile viruses, spam and mobile phishing. Analysts expect big telecom companies to develop security solutions on various security platforms.

Rough Ride
These are competitive times for the Indian aviation industry. As salaries zoom, players are scrambling to find profits. Even the state-owned Indian is now seeking young airhostesses to take on the competition. It is planning to introduce a voluntary retirement scheme for airhostesses above 40 years. On an average, they draw a salary of Rs 5 lakh a year. The salaries of pilots, too, are soaring. According to industry estimates, the country needs over 3,000 pilots over the next five years.
More Net Specials

Business Today,  March 11, 2007

Ticket To Ride
You could buy your ticket to the next gig in town online.
Ticketpro’s Grimaux: India focussed
Globally roughly 90 per cent of tickets for music concerts are sold online. The us-based Ticket Master and the Czech Republic-based Ticketpro are two of the global leading names in this business. Ticketpro, which provides both online and offline ticketing services (the latter via its owned points of sale), soft-launched with two Bryan Adam concerts and one Deep Purple gig, all in Bangalore. As of now, e-ticketing is not possible in India as each physical ticket has to be stamped by the tax authorities. So, access codes were installed at the entrance of the venues, which read the tickets purchased offline that had unique barcodes-the first time such a concept has been introduced in India. Says Serge Grimaux, Chairman & CEO, Ticketpro: "I believe the ticketing business is poised to grow in India as much as the live entertainment industry. There is a change in consumer mindset." Industry players estimate the global ticketing services industry to be worth $40 billion (Rs 1,76,000 crore), and Ticketpro's strategy is now to focus on emerging markets. Ticketpro's revenues are generated principally from a service charge on each ticket sold (sponsorships and web advertising are other revenue streams). In India, the service charge is 10 per cent on all tickets. For the immediate, Ticketpro will soon start selling tickets in India for Iron Maiden. Grimaux expects to sell 500,000 tickets in India by the end of 2007.

Beyond the Nylon Curtain
The launch of DuPont's India R&D centre is well timed.

The company that introduced the world to nylon will flag off its first research & development (R&D) centre in India by early next year. DuPont Co, the 204-year-old American chemicals giant, has zeroed in on Hyderabad, where it will have 300 employees at full capacity in a unit that will soak up Rs 100 crore in investment.

The 15-acre centre, which has been christened the India Knowledge Centre, is likely to focus on basic research and applications, specifically for the local market, although global markets will not be ignored.

If you're still wondering why India, the answer, of course, is the good old domestic advantage of quality research staff now bolstered by a strong domestic market. "We believe in going where there is growth," says Balvinder Singh Kalsi, President and CEO, E.I. DuPont India. The centre will help the company adapt to market requirements faster. "The response time of innovation for Indian market from anywhere else in the world is very long," says Homi Bhedwar, Director at the India Knowledge Centre.

Fortuitously for DuPont, its interest areas of research match the sectors that are booming in India. "DuPont India seems to mirror in its product profile a lot of the growth areas in India," says Bhedwar. For instance, if the company is looking at newer packaging materials such as breathable films, India's upcoming retail chains are looking for innovation precisely in those areas. The same is true for infrastructure development and construction, agriculture and nutrition (mainly rice and corn), renewable energy such as photovoltaics, and nanotechnology. Other areas of interest for DuPont such as automotive industry too are poised for immense growth. And if that is not enough, the company has a safety consulting business. Indian corporates such as Tata Steel and Tata Motors are using DuPont's services to analyse and improve their safety track records.

No wonder then the company's India subsidiary is already clocking revenues of $360 million (Rs 1,580 crore) even as it is looking to maintain an over 20 per cent growth over the coming few years. "Our global aim, which we adhered to last year, is that new products (those that are less than five years old) should contribute a third to our revenues," says Kalsi. That can only be good news for the India Centre.

Surviving Planet Earth
Discovery raises the stakes for niche channels.

When you sink Rs 100 crore into a series, you'd expect results to show. And Discovery Channel, which flagged off its big-budget, 11-part programme, Planet Earth at the beginning of February, is beginning to score in viewership. Now ratings of 0.21 in the prime time 8-9 p.m. slot across Indian cable & satellite homes may not sound awfully impressive but then Planet Earth has helped Discovery move comfortably ahead of competitors like National Geographic Channel (NGC) and History. For instance, according to rating agency tam, Discovery's relative channel share in the sixth week of 2007 stands at 44 per cent as against NGC's 26 per cent, History's 19 per cent and Animal Planet's 5 per cent. Says Deepak Shourie, EVP & Managing Director, Discovery Networks India: "Planet Earth is a stunning television experience. The series takes viewers to an unforgettable journey through the challenging seasons and the daily struggle for survival in earth's most extreme habitats. Using a budget of unprecedented proportions, HD photography and unique filming techniques, Planet Earth has taken audience to experience sights and sounds that they may never experience again."

For Planet Earth, Discovery has roped in advertisers such as Pepsi, Amex, J&J, Microsoft, Parle, Sony Ericsson and ICICI Prudential at average rates of Rs 2,000-2,500 per 10 seconds. Rahul Johri, Senior Vice President (Advertising Sales), Discovery Networks India, says: "Planet Earth has been a resounding success. Not only has it recorded a 100 per cent jump in the slot average (the average viewership of the time-band during which the programme is aired) but has also augmented Discovery Channel's market share, consolidating its supremacy amongst international channels in India." However, media planners point out it's still early days. Says Girish Upadhyay, Associate Media Director, Starcom Mediavest: "Though Discovery has shown an increase in channel shares, following the launch of Planet Earth, it's too early to say that Discovery is on a high. We have to wait and watch for a few more weeks to see if it is a continuous positive trend. Having said that, in the conditional access regime, and after the expansion of the tam panel (to 7,000 peoplemeters), niche channels have gained a little bit." Discovery Channel wouldn't be complaining.