Television

Cricinfo.com expands portfolio; signs cricket experts

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MUMBAI: Cricinfo.com, which is part of the Wisden Group and provides cricket content across online, mobile, audio, print platforms, has signed on several cricket experts. They will be a part of Cricinfo’s team.

The experts include Ravi Shastri, Ian Chappell, Sanjay Manjrekar and Tony Greig. Cricinfo.com has bolstered its audio service. It is called Cricinfo Talk. One segment is called The round table. This is a fortnightly discussion hosted by Sanjay Manjrekar on a hot issue in cricket. Last Saturday's round table featured all the above mentioned cricketers talking about batsmen. Then there is the Tony Greig Show. He casts his eye on the games, players, issues. There will also be a section called Turning Points.

This offers post match analysis. The cricket experts will also contribute writing pieces to the site cricinfo.com. Wisden group CEO Tom Gleeson said, “As a leading cricket media business Cricinfo has always associated itself with the best in the cricketing world. These names bring a wealth of opinion and distinct viewpoints that are respected by cricket fans
across the world. They also reflect our commitment to develop the Cricinfo brand into one that interacts with our audiences on multiple levels.”

Cricinfo.com editor Sambit Bal said, “ When cricinfo.com and Wisden.com merged in 2003 it was not merely a consolidation of businesses. It was the coming together of two striong ideas. Today the website is not merely the first and last destination for news and information about cricket but has also emerged as one of the games leading voices. Signing up a panel of experts who are known for their independent
and originality is a significant step for us."

"Our editorial mission is simple – if there is cricket it must be covered. But there is much more to our coverage than breadth. It is about depth. It is about speed without sacrificing accuracy. It is about balance without losing the passion," he added.

“Cricinfo has writers from all over the world and they have been trained to look beyond their national boundaries. We aim to provide an objective but informed view. Thanks to the Wisden Almanack archives we have a match report for every match ever played. We call ourselves the home of cricket and we try to live up to it. Our millions of users rely on us to provide the ‘big picture’ because we combine local knowledge with global perspective.”

Recently cricinfo.com launched its blogs section. Bal points out that blogs are proliferating faster than one can say cyberspace. “However Cricinfo’s blogs hold their own due to writers like Kamran Abbhasi and Tim De Lisle. We also have ex cricketers like Tony Greig as well as a current coach Bob Woolmer. However our blogs are also about readers who get to comment on every piece written and are fast forming a vibrant community for us.

"Blogs allows our readers to not just follow the action but also be a part of it. A feature like blogs allows us to break new ground.”

Cricinfo adds that that the avid Indian cricket fan has helped it grow. It claims that five million people globally followed the first India versus Pakistan test earlier this year. One in four visitors is Indian. The UK, and Australia each provide 15 per cent of cricinfo’s visitors. The US with their NRIs is also a significant market for cricinfo. Cricinfo.com says that last month Indian fans read more than 212 million pages of news, scorecards, match reports and profiles.

Globally 151 million page views were recorded from 5.6 million unique users. This refers to different individuals visiting the site during the month. Cricinfo adds that a high point came
in 13 February 2006 when over 1.25 million people wanted news about an ODI between India and Pakistan as well as VB series final from Australia. The classic match between Australia and South Africa where the latter chased down 434 runs in an ODI got 685,000 page views for the match report.

Sachin Tendulkar is the site’s most visited player profile page. Cricinfo says that in one year its home page has got over half a billion visits.

The Mobile Plans: Cricinfo also recently ventured into the mobile sphere. Its short code is 2742 and delivers information and entertainment products across verticals ranging from SMS to Wap. Its site is cricinfomobile.com. It provides content in india to Hutch, Spice Telecom, Idea and Tata Indicom. The
content that it offers includes:

- SMS. This means live scores, wicket alerts, news trivia, statistics and contests.
- MMS. This refers to mwallpapers, games, realtoneas and other java based applications.
- Wap – Wap.Cricinfo,.com offers live scroes, news, statistics, ringtones etc.
- Connected platforms. Cricinfo Genie the firm says is the first connected cricket applicatio0n in India which allows mobile consumers to watch cricket live on their phones in a simulated format.

Cricinfo Trivia Champ meanwhile is a connected trivia game that allows subscribers to compete against thousands of other cricket fans for weekly sweepstakes. Cricinfo Mobile also has dwals with mobile operators in the UK, Australia, Sri Lanka , Pakistan and Bangaldesh. There are now plans to roll out the service in the US and the Middle East since there is a large Indian expatriate community living here.

Now Cricinfo Mobile will also provide match analysis of India matches, the Ashes and the cricket World Cup courtesy Ravi Shastri and Tony Greig.

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