In many markets of the developed world, the VAS Revenues to Gross Revenues are in the range of 25 to 40 per cent.
With prices of voice and SMS, data virtually getting commoditized, Mobile Operators are left with no option but to enhance their VAS offerings and increase the ARPUs from the subscribers. Lately every Telecom operator has introduced large offerings to enhance their bouquet of Value added services.
In India the VAS Revenues as percentage of Gross Revenues is in the range of 8 to 12 percent. In many markets of the developed world, the VAS Revenues to Gross Revenues are in the range of 25 to 40 per cent. It will not be a surprise for us if we will see India is amongst the top 3 consumers of VAS in the world in coming years.
With the onset of 3G in India, there is a big opportunity towards high off take of Internet on Mobiles. The growth will be similar to the mobile boom will happen for primarily 2 reasons. The cost of handsets and smart phones with GPRS/Internet capabilities are expected to only get more affordable and within the reach of mass Indian middle class market.
As more and more Indians access Internet first time on their mobiles, we are likely to see an explosion of email, applications and content on the mobiles. Some of the applications as IRCTC (Indian Rail Ticket Booking Apps) and other mcommerce/mpayment applications which sell Airline Tickets are likely to see a high adoption. Many Travel Portals have already introduced their specific mobile application like Yatra.com etc…
Mobile TV applications as rendered by technology companies as Apalya and Vuclip are already clocking over 5 Million users, with some Companies tying up with the mobile broadband companies will add on to the huge number.
The Video Calling services which will be available on 3G networks will also see high adoption in India as India is a large country and cost of travel /time taken is high.
Technologies in many parts of the world allow TV viewers to do a video call onto the Live News Channels and it is likely that from the current sms text feeds that we see on TV, we are likely to see the video feeds from the audiences who share their views in real time.
Mobile Videos are the highest growth category. Cooldose.com a venture dedicated to creation of exclusive video content on Mobile is already seeing the Mobile Video views at upwards of 50,000 unique views per month.
We are also likely to see some new categories of Video Entertainment emerge as Video Ring Back Tones and Video Ads may play on your phone as Video Out Bound Dialers.
The Current Voice Based IVR’s which is the only way we communicate with our Banks /Call Centers will all change to Video and Interactive Networks over the next five to seven years. Lately Apple introduced an application that allows people from the Christian Faith to even post their Confessions to priest using the same in an interactive way. Location Based Services and Geo Profiling/Targeting is also likely to see high growth as on real time basis users will receive alerts on their phones from nearby malls on the discounts available.
Also for Mobile and Digital Content creating companies like us, these are exciting times. Just like TV channels have dedicated TV production teams, Web based companies have web content teams, Radio – Radio Production Teams , Mobile Media and Content will have dedicated content development teams and generate huge employment opportunities. Speaking ,from our experience the exclusive shows made for Mobile as Daily Dose presented by Parizad Kolah and Raghu Ram on www.cooldose.com featuring exciting original and Bollywood based fun content is already well received across various online and mobile platforms and has collectively surpassed over 100,000 unique views within 3 months of launch. Basis Findings of a Focused Group Research carried out by our firm with mobile users aged 20 to 28 in Mumbai we have received feedback for more original shows in the genres of Fashion, Cricket ,Health ,Fitness ,Adventure and Youth. Users don’t want to watch the same things they see on TV on Mobiles and are demanding an original differentiated experience. At the same time they are expecting to view content which is TV grade and worthy of their time. Accordingly we have factored the same and have lined up some of India’s biggest stars as Raghu Ram of MTV Roadies Fame, Mickey Mehta in the category of Health and Fitness, Sunanda Wong of MTV Online VJ Hunt fame to develop and render original mobile entertainment.
User’s engagement on Digital Content is different than other media which Cooldose.com has recognized as this gives them an integrated experience to blog/share and upload on their various social networking profiles as Facebook/Twitter. We sense that the model of Cooldose which already has some of India’s biggest brands as Idea, Yahoo, LG Mobile, Croma will further contribute and expand the market of Mobile Advertising and help Overall grow the market.
Vas Opportunity in Rural India is also huge- During my stay in a farm off Coimbatore with farmers in rural India, the villagers and farmers appeared very comfortable with the Phone Book Application to store numbers of their friend. As many parts of rural India have inconsistent electricity the phone is likely to gain more prominence as an infotainment device. Many parts of Rural India have low TV penetration and the Phones are likely to double as TV/Radio/Education device. Some Operators have already launched Learn English and Sex Education on Mobiles in partnership with ILFS Education and the response is very encouraging. Over a Million customers are already availing these services.
These are early days with Mobile Payments and remittances becoming a reality rural India will progress for the better. Quoting the famous line from the old classic Welcome to My World –By Elvis Presley/Jim Reeves all you have to do is “ASK and you will be Given!” will possibly have to adapt with the times to :Ask on your 3G phones and you will be much more given!
The author is Srinivas Gopal –CEO Daily Dose Digital (www.cooldose.com)