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The legendary toy brand Meccano has entered into an agreement with My Baby Excels to market its product in India
Aspiring engineering kids can now take a few lessons at home soon.
My Baby Excels has entered into an agreement with Nut and Bolts to sell its iconic brand Meccano in India.
Meccano, established in 1901 by Frank Hornby, is a model construction system comprising re-usable metal strips, plates, angle girders, wheels, axles and gears, with nuts and bolts to connect the pieces which enable the building of working models and mechanical devices.
My Baby Excels is a premium toy label, representing international bestsellers like Leap Frog, Disney Plush and WowWee in India. Meccano will also launch its extensive product line including the construction range, tuning range and multi-model range, among others.
"We are pleased to partner with Meccano and forward their cause in India. India is a hotbed of engineering talent and we look forward to leverage the demand here. Moreover, the brand enjoys a cult status among enthusiasts in India. We will be focusing on widening the reach and base of the product line,” said MN Kapasi, managing director, My Baby Excels, in a release.
Excel Productions Audio Visuals owns Excel Interactive (a leading gaming company and India licensee for Electronic Arts and Disney Interactive Studios).
The toy, earlier known as "Mechanics Made Easy" is based on the principles of mechanical engineering. The construction kits gained immense popularity, which later became known as Meccano.
In September 1907, Mr Hornby registered the Meccano trade mark, and in May 1908, he formed Meccano Ltd.
Meccano caters to children above 5 years and young adults.
The products are priced from Rs599 onwards and will be available at all leading stores across the country.
Exports from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are growing despite rising cost of raw material and international competition
Exports from the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are increasing, despite high raw material costs, difficult global markets and stiff international competition.
According to a survey conducted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), 42% of exporters recorded a rise in volumes during the first half of FY10 while about 50% exporters saw an increase in volumes in the second half. It said that around 56% exporters expect an increase in exports in dollar terms while 42% foresee a decline.
The survey revealed that rising cost of raw material, international competition, price competitiveness and delay in payments are the key impediments limiting the growth of exports.
The top five regions for exports by Indian MSMEs are Europe, North America, South-east Asia, the Middle-east and the Far-east. A majority of them anticipate that Europe and North America are the markets with most potential for their exports.
A recent Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) study said that SMEs are expected to contribute 22% to India's GDP by 2012, up from about 17% currently.
The Indian government has recently announced that it would raise Rs1,000 crore for developing MSMEs under the 11th five-year plan.
WorldSpace subscribers from India are shocked that the music offered by the satellite radio service will go out of their lives. A number of music buffs want the services to be revived – they are not clamouring for refunds.
Most Indian subscribers are not agitated, but rather aggrieved that WorldSpace India will be off the air from the New Year. This speaks volumes about the quality of service that WorldSpace has been providing.
“WorldSpace was my companion when I used to be alone at home. We will really miss ‘Jhankaar’, ‘Farishta’, ‘System’, ‘Maestro’ and ‘Falak’,” said Parimal Raj, commenting on the previous Moneylife story stating that the satellite radio will terminate its services from 31 December 2009.
Interestingly, Mr Raj had renewed his subscription as recently as 16 December 2009. However, more than the refund, what he really wants is the service. “I only hope that it gets revived and this turns out to be good news for WorldSpace subscribers in India in 2010. I am hopeful and hence will keep the receiver safe,” he added.
“Please do not terminate the services. I will be shattered. I am really not worried about my subscription being refunded. I just want the service to continue,” commented another subscriber, Usha Sunderasan.
“It is a pity to lose this good service. Indian FM channels are nothing compared to the quality WorldSpace offered. We sold our TV as we found WorldSpace more enlightening. Don’t we have a single entrepreneur who can spot opportunity in this venture and ensure that the satellite radio makes a great comeback into our lives?” commented another WorldSpace fan, Ravi Krishnamurthy.
With subscribers themselves suggesting a way out, the question remains if any corporate entities in India will spot the potential. To get such a faithful clientele without any advertising, would be dream come true for any radio services provider, especially the Indian FM channel. Some of the channels—like Red FM, Radio Mirchi and Big FM—spend considerable amount on advertising.
WorldSpace, on the other hand, has managed to tap into the local market very efficiently—Indians make up more than 90% of its total subscriber base. This base is believed to have trebled recently, thanks to Airtel which offers WorldSpace radio services through its direct to home (DTH) platform.
WorldSpace initiated its advertisements—endorsed by music composer AR Rahman—a few years back, only to mark its Indian launch. It has managed to improve its subscriber base purely on the quality of its service, with a number of subscribers renewing their subscriptions automatically.
Surely, a takeover of WorldSpace operations in India would translate into a huge business opportunity for any entrepreneur. On offer is a huge, loyal customer base with a pan-India presence.
An investment banker, who is also an ardent WorldSpace listener, believes that an operational takeover is most likely to happen. However, any possible business deal will have to ensure that the quality for which WorldSpace was famous does not get diluted.
For example, the service was entirely free of any commercials and was driven purely on revenues from subscriptions. Any entity planning to take over WorldSpace will have to operate on a similar—if not the same—revenue model to retain subscribers.
A few subscribers are trying to keep the service alive. “Join hands to keep the service alive. Can some enterprising subscriber initiate action to keep the service afloat?” asked subscriber Ashok Dullu. “I have started to surf the Internet to see if somebody in India will buy the assets and continue the operation,” added another subscriber, S Devarshi.
So will WorldSpace—or at least, its Indian operations—make a comeback? Subscribers can only wish that their hopes strike the right chord with some corporate entity.
It is amazing to know and witness the kind of goodwill and customer base Worldspace enjoys amongst its Indian customer base. Around 90% of the total Worldspace subscribers are from India. The kind of goodwill and customer base that Worldspace India, a prodigy of a US based company could enjoy across various parts of India, could be any Indian FM channels envy.
However, now on offer is the time to change this envy into the best ever opportunity that FM radio channels in India could cash on for quite some time. With subscribers also willing to pay multiple times, of the tariff that they are currently paying for the service, is the icing of the cake.
Ideally, what would an FM channel in a competitive market like India, can ask for. Currently, most of the FM channels in India are predominant in particular geographic region, but failed to achieve a pan-India presence.
As of now, one can only speculate on the future of the Indian operations of WorldSpace.