It’s been an all-new MSN experience for users in India for the past fortnight. Besides navigating through a neatened homepage, they can now sign in to Facebook and Twitter and get their friends’ feeds without leaving MSN. They can also check what’s on TV for seven channels from the time they log on.
According to Sanjay Trehan, head of MSN India, change has been on the cards for the past two years and the US version went live six months ago. “As opposed to MSN.com users in America, who can be called 'information seekers', our research showed that our Indian market segment is largely comprised of ‘connected socialisers’. That’s why Orkut and Facebook are growing so dramatically in India,” he said.
For advertisers, while innovative online advertising solutions are on the agenda, the bestselling spots – 728x90, and 300x250 on the right - along with online video will still be available. Trehan said, “We also offer contextually relevant sponsored links on the home page and partner tabs. For instance, we have a long-term deal with Shaadi.com for our matrimony tab and a couple more sales deals are being worked on.”
The revamp is the first step of a greater long-term plan. “The idea is to deploy the best-in-class user interface first. With satisfied customers, the next step is hopefully an increase in page views, better stickiness, and, as an end result, better revenues,” explained Trehan. “It’s important to get the sequence right. We can’t disclose numbers but we are projecting a double digit growth by the end of our financial year [June 30, 2011].”