Mail.com Media Corp, the owner of Nikki Finke’s Deadline.com and other portals, has finally closed and announced its JV deal in India, after working on it for a year: it has tied up with Indian media conglom Zee Entertainment, and will launch a local Indian portal later this year, the two companies announced. What wasn’t announced: that the portal will be on a rather memorable domain, India.com, we have learned. MMC bought the domain last year and plans to use that to compete in the country against bigger portals like Rediff (NSDQ: REDF), Indiatimes, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), MSN, Sify and others. The JV has appointed Arvindra Singh Kanwal, most recently Chief Revenue Officer at local SMS community service SMSGupshup, as the CEO. Prior to that, Kanwal was Chief Revenue Officer at Rediff.com.
It won’t be easy going in light of local competition, Zee’s own lack of digital mojo over the years, and most importantly, the mechanics of running a multi-continent JV. Plus the fact that stateside, MMC and its founder Jay Penske has to sort out its own expansion and funding plans after its acquisitions in the last year, including Finke’s Deadline and bringing in Bonnie Fuller to develop HollywoodLife as a celeb portal.