Kagiso Media to run MSN South Africa

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Microsoft and listed media house Kagiso Media have signed a deal which will see Kagiso Media take over the running of Microsoft’s MSN portal, currently the second largest online property in South Africa.

The deal is the first step towards localising the MSN portal and giving both parties “a greater slice of the South African online market”, says Burak Gokmen, Microsoft’s General Manager for its Consumer and Online activities in Middle East and Africa.

“With Kagiso Media as a strategic partner, MSN South Africa will be focused on becoming South Africa’s top portal,” said Gokmen. “Our aim is to provide the best user experience for MSN users with rich content and easy integration with our Windows Live suite.”

The largest local website in the country is News24.com, attracting almost 3-million unique monthly browsers during April 2010. MSN South Africa comes in second with almost 2-million unique browsers and IOL third with about 1,5-million unique browsers. During April, all local Online Publishers’ Association (OPA)-registered websites attracted almost 19-million world-wide unique monthly visitors and served 431-million page impressions, of which 10-million users were locally based. (Nielsen//Netratings audited).

Kagiso Media also owns consumer media brands such as Jacaranda 94.2 and East Coast Radio. It will be taking full responsibility for marketing, sales, and content on the MSN site. The Johannesburg-based media company will also become the exclusive sales partner for all Microsoft’s Windows Live properties –- including Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger — in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Microsoft will continue to provide the systems which run the portal and its advertising.

Kagiso Media’s CEO, Murphy Morobe, said the company would be investing in enriching the user experience through more engaging content offerings.

“We’re always looking to excite our audience with great, south African, content, and provide advertisers with the right medium to engage with targeted audiences in South Africa,” said Morobe.” This deal furthers Kagiso Media’s digital media and convergence strategies.

The new MSN site will be officially launched in September, says Nevo Hadas, Head of Media Convergence team, but readers will be able to notice changes from the 1st of July.

Gokmen said the deal contains “significant growth opportunities”. The parties have the option to extend the deal into the mobile space and into the Sub-Saharan African region for MSN portals.

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