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
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
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
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
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
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
Vice President, Corporate Communications
Mr Raimo Mäkilä, President, Alma Media Interactive Oy,
Tel. +359 09 507 8718, +358 40 546 1892
Distribution: Helsinki Exchanges, principle media