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Real taste of home for Indians abroad

MediaBay and the Hindustan Times join hands to exclusively offer a daily digital audio newspaper to a global audience.

india Updated: May 02, 2006 11:28 IST

Are you too busy with work or feel like you are on the wheels forever? Got no time to catch up with what's happening around the world? Here's some good news.

MediaBay and the Hindustan Times join hands to exclusively offer a daily digital audio newspaper to a global audience.

Branded the 'Hindustan Times Audio Digest', the audio content will feature the newspaper's top stories pertaining to politics, business, Bollywood and entertainment news, sports and astrology, and will be available on the company's digital download service, SoundsGood.com, as well as through its growing list of distribution partners including MSN.

Simply download the digital audio newspaper  that will give you all the information about subjects that interest you without the hassle of switching on the radio or Television.

Says Jeff Dittus, CEO, MediaBay, Inc., "Convenience and customization are the main features of this audio. The audio will be automatically delivered to iPod or computer and customers can select only the subjects that interest them for on-the-go listening."

All you need to do is download the Soundsgood Newspaper Manager, a small file, to manage automated delivery. A format that will play on any media player, the audio digest is available at $9.95 --  for about 25 editions per month.

"We are looking at a way to create an ongoing and recurring relationship with consumers worldwide, providing a news product that can be customised to interests; also a way for us to reach iPod owners," adds Dittus.

MediaBay is a vertically integrated syndicator and marketer/distributor of unique premium spoken word audio content in digital formats for multiple distribution platforms, with a primary emphasis on web-based and mobile. It is emerging as a provider of spoken word content to the top US digital music services; strategic partnership with Microsoft on an exclusive distribution agreement with MSN Music; distribution partnerships with Real Networks and MusicNet – Yahoo, AOL, Urge (MTV).

They also distribute classic radio ring tones to Verizon, T-mobile and Vodafone; have a unique and growing content library including newspapers, such as Hindustan Times; growing advertising supported broadcast business with nationally syndicated radio show on 240+ stations and Radio Classics Channels on  XM and Sirius.

Asked whether it was the first venture of its kind, Dittus said, "Newspapers are now offering free, promotional podcasts on their web sites, but we are one of the few services that provide a paid, customized, high-value audio newspaper product."

Regarding the focus, he said, "We are thinking globally, but we want to build this audience in increments - by developing product that caters to the specific interests of various nationalities and demographics."

According to him, the news digest would help "millions of English-speaking Indians living abroad. So we think the potential is certainly there".

When asked whether the digital audio bulletin will be as popular as other forms of news dissemination, like newspapers or online news sites, he replied, "Over time, yes.... it will appeal to a certain audience and word will spread. There are hundreds of millions of hours spent in cars or when 'eyes are busy' -- when people simply are unable to read. News on the radio is increasingly commoditized, and its hard to get a product that makes sense for specific, large subsets of cultures  or interests. In the US, in particular, it's hard to know how to access audio that has an international dimension."

Says SN Bhaduri, Vice President of eBusiness at HT Media Ltd, "providing India-specific news on the go will cater to the huge unmet need of Indian consumers worldwide in a most convenient fashion."

"We are very excited to be partnering with MediaBay on this first of its kind initiative," Bhaduri says.

"Through SoundsGood Newscast, customers around the world may now enjoy what millions of Hindustan Times readers in India are already enjoying," he says.

"The global Indian now has access to news from an Indian perspective, anywhere, anytime," he adds.

So, all you Indians living abroad, what are you waiting for? Log on for this unique experience that will surely provide you a real taste of home.