Steve Yelvington writing in E-Media Tidbits, a group weblog on online media/journalism and publishing says:
One of the issues publishers have with RSS (a.k.a., webfeeds) is that it can divert usage from the home page -- where we have control of presentation and can include advertising -- to an unpredictable set of RSS software where we get no branding and no ad slots. The Times of India is working on something that could make those issues moot. It's a custom RSS reader that the Times intends to make available to its users. Nikhil Soman provided a brief peek over the weekend at one of the NEXPO sessions in Washington, D.C. Providing a branded RSS reader makes a lot of sense, although there's always the possibility that Microsoft will seize RSS the way it seized web browsing, building a reader into Internet Explorer.
In India, with awareness of RSS being very low amongst the general Internet audience, will Times of India (ToI) be able to push its branded news reader to the masses, given its huge marketing reach through indiatimes.com as well as its print dailies? If ToI is able to do it sufficiently quickly, there's a good chance that they can own the newsreader space for some time to come.
It is interesting to see ToI coming up with interesting initiatives like this. I didn't imagine any Indian media group would be thinking along such lines.
If and when ToI goes on a marketing blitz to push the RSS reader, that could be the big boost required in India to take RSS usage to the next level.