Thursday, May 15, 2008

MNC moves into mobile advertising

By LAALITHA HUNT

KUALA LUMPUR: MNC Wireless Bhd is expanding its business into mobile advertising with the setting up soon of a digital media unit, Digital Kung Fu Sdn Bhd.
Chief executive officer Jasmine Lee said the new company would use the digital media format. “The change in our business model from being just a mobile value-added services provider is important to stay competitive and relevant,” she told StarBiz. It was also planning to open a similar company in Singapore this year, Lee said. She added that MNC was combining its efforts with its joint-venture partner India's Cellebrum.Com Ltd, a subsidiary of Spice Corp Ltd, to develop contents for mobile advertising.

“Mobile advertising is said to be the next big area for the Malaysian and Indian markets as it is still under-developed, unlike Internet advertising which is now more established,” Lee said. On its partner, Lee said Cellebrum was a leading provider of mobile value-added services and solutions to major telecom players and corporations such as Airtel and Vodafone.

Telekom Malaysia Bhd has a 39.2% stake in Spice Telecom, which is a flagship company of the Spice Group, one of the largest business conglomerates in India. MNC would be the sole distributor of Cellebrum's mobile platforms, applications, content and services within the country, while expanding its offerings of value-added services, mobile solutions and applications to the Indian market with an estimated 250 million mobile phone users.

MNC also plans to launch Elven Legends, which is a massive multi-player online real-time game targeted at the youth market, by the third quarter. “We are testing the product with a few mobile operators in Malaysia and Singapore, besides Telenor of Norway,” Lee said. It plans to launch the product in Saudi Arabia and China this year.

MNC reported a net loss of RM1.35mil on turnover of RM8.95mil for the financial year ended Dec 31 (FY07) compared with a net loss of RM1.68mil on turnover of RM9.85mil in FY06. The poor performance was due to the slowdown in the business tied to the mobile application industry, Lee said. She expects the company to return to the black in FY08, driven by its foray overseas and the launch of its new product.

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