ALMA MEDIA TO OPEN MOBILE PORTAL ON 30 APRIL 2000

ALMA MEDIA CORP. STOCK EXC. BULLETIN 5 APRIL 2000, 10.00 (EET) 1/3 ALMA MEDIA TO OPEN MOBILE PORTAL ON 30 APRIL 2000 An operator- and hardware-independent mobile portal will be opened on 30 April 2000 providing access to Alma Media's news, information, entertainment and experience services. The new portal,based on WAP and SMS services, will also operate in GPRS and UMTS environments. Some of the services will be financed by advertising. M-commerce and personalized interface features will be added in September. Alma Media is Finland's leading provider of new media content. Its online services had more than 511 000 visitors in the last week of March. At the same time the AHAA customer database, which supports all Alma Media online services, had over 513 000 registered users, while altogether 1.5 million visits were made to the individual products during the same week. Direct contact with customers is the principle underlying Alma Media's new-media strategy and development of its online products and services. So far, media access management has been possible in online services based on fixed networks. The new mobile portal now makes media access management possible through mobile services. The portal will initially be based on WAP services and short- message services (SMS), but provision has already been made to deploy broadband mobile networks in a year's time. Development of the new mobile portal started in September 1999. The first pilot version was launched at the start of 2000. It is available to all customers of teleoperators operating in Finland and it will provide WAP users with a single point of access to all Alma Media's mobile services. The mobile portal will rely on the AHAA database and its patented features relating to personal privacy and personalized services. NEWS, PROFESSIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES FOR INVESTORS, ENTERTAINMENT The mobile portal will offer a comprehensive range of services when launched on 30 April 2000. MTV3 Internet will provide general news items, sports and entertainment news, and recipes. Information on television programmes will come from MTV3's Teletext channel, while other services will include Iltalehti's news and a calendar of events. Kauppalehti Online will provide real-time business news, real-time trading on the Helsinki Exchanges, and complete service packages related to trust funds, foreign exchange and interest instruments. The portal will also contain a section for pure entertainment allowing WAP phone users, for instance, to obtain a variety of icons. Use of the mobile portal has been made as easy as possible. Users will register via the portal's home page, after which they will be able to access the portal's services by entering their personal AHAA user code. They can also register via Alma Media's other Internet pages. Mobile portal customers will be able to pay for the service through their teleoperators, or by using online banking services or being billed separately. PARTLY FINANCED BY ADVERTISING Some of the mobile portal services will be free of charge. A new feature will also be short-message services (SMS) financed by advertising and therefore free of charge for users. Users will be able to receive free, for example, the latest news headlines, sports news, cinema and entertainment news or even their horoscope by accepting that they will also be sent one advertising message every day. MOBILE TRADING AND PERSONALIZED SERVICES IN SEPTEMBER The portal's range of services will be substantially expanded in September. New services will include personalized products guaranteeing user privacy and a billing system based on prices for individual pages. Both these services will rely on the AHAA database. The first m-commerce service will be the opportunity to make last- minute reservations offered by travel agents. A forwarding service for messages with a maximum of 140 characters will be added to Kauppalehti's service portfolio, while an entirely new service for the mobile portal will be the Luukku.wap Finnish-language e-mail connection. TELEVISION PICTURES AND SOUNDS THROUGH THE PORTAL IN ONE YEAR According to Mr Raimo Mäkilä, President of Alma Media's New Media business area, the mobile portal will ensure that all possible ditribution channels will be made available to the Group's content products. The next step will be linking television pictures and sounds to the services. Consumers will be able to enjoy the audio and video mobile services developed by MTV3 and Radio Nova within one year, states Raimo Mäkilä. Alma Media is already testing new- generation services for wireless mobile terminals with various equipment manufacturers and operators. SEAMLESS LINK TO DIGITAL TELEVISION Alma Media began a concerted programme of investment in new media research and development back in 1993, states Alma Media Corporation's President and CEO Matti Packalen. In 1999 the company became the leading Finnish provider of online products for wired networks, measured in terms of number of users. Most of Alma Media's network services are the result of its own R&D efforts and operate alongside the Group's traditional printed media. The new mobile portal marks a natural step towards GPRS and UMTS environments based on broadband technology and digital television. Central to Alma Media's online and mobile services is its AHAA customer management database. Launched in September 1999, this database supports all these services and enables personalized services without jeopardizing user privacy. The system, which is protected by registered and pending patents, forms a complete entity combining conventional media, online products, mobile products and digital television. The system facilitates development of products according to customers' specifications as well as enabling the use of new commercial applications in content sales and e-media advertising, Mr Packalen states. ALMA MEDIA CORPORATION Ahti Martikainen Vice President, Corporate Communications Further information: Mr Raimo Mäkilä, President, Alma Media Interactive Oy, Tel. +359 09 507 8718, +358 40 546 1892 Distribution: Helsinki Exchanges, principle media
  • Date: 5.4.2000, 08:00
  • News type: Stock exchange release

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