Monday, November 16, 2009

The Mobile Hotness | India | Courtesy of Samir Bangara

The Mobile Hotness is a new series on Cabana Mobile in which leading mobile entertainment voices provide a quick summary (10 to 15 bullet points) of the latest trends they're seeing, and industry buzz they're hearing, in their part of the world or specific market segment. The inaugural post, which covers India, is courtesy of Samir Bangara, Chief Operating Officer of veteran, Mumbai-based, mobile and online games publisher Indiagames.
  • Ringback Tones Are Crashing: After a couple of years of ringback subscription hyper-growth in India, reality is setting in as the regulators crack down on 'aggressive' sales techniques
  • Pay-As-You-Go Data Access: Data access is now available to non-subscription customers giving operators a massive dollop of new data usage revenue… this move was a no-brainer, but it took awhile to implement
  • Publisher’s Share Is Still Bad, Maybe Worse: As a result of this new data protocol, not only are revenue shares on content lopsided in favour of the operators (as they have been historically), but now the data usage charges are off-bounds for content publishers
  • Data Subscriptions Are Stalling: Despite a rapidly growing overall subscriber base of 12-15mil per month, data subscribers aren't growing as rapidly, mainly due to limited network capacity pre-3G spectrum allocation
  • 3G Will Lift Data: 3G spectrum licensing, expected in Jan 2010, is a watershed event that will enable networks, currently overloaded just on voice, to support more data traffic
  • Per Second Billing Hurts Operators: Tata Docomo pioneered pay-as-you-go on a per-second basis in India and now regulators have mandated that all operators offer this option. This will hurt the incumbents, who were getting an estimated 40% of their gravy from 30 sec and 1 min pulse charging
  • Finally, Rationalised SMS pricing: Despite falling tariffs for every other service SMS remained at the same level it was 5 years ago. Now, Tata Docomo is rewarding those who keep their texts brief by charging Rs.0.01 (.02¢) per character!
  • Audio Cinema: UTV group has pioneered a rapidly growing service powered by OnMobile that allows users to HEAR abridged versions of 300 Bollywood titles for 30Rs (60¢) per 30mins
  • New Operators = More Competition: At least 4 new operators will launch in India in 2009. Massive competition will lead to further price reductions in a market that is already at USD 4 ARPU and 1 cent a minute voice rate
  • Ad-based Models Still Maturing: Ad-based ringback tones and ad-supported games have been tried and tested in India with very limited success. The model and the ecosystem of the content owner, operator and brand have yet to evolve
  • Long-Term Content Opportunity in India is Huge: The outlook for mobile value-added services (VAS) in India is still very strong, but the last 2 quarters have been, and possibly the next 2 will be, very challenging for the entire GPRS data services ecosystem
  • Billion Dollar Questions: (a) Given that at current growth rates, mobile subscribers in India will peak at 700-800mil in about 2-3 years and only then will operators need to focus on value-added content services to grow revenues & margins... how many incumbent publishers in India will survive until that day arrives? (b) Will the ad-based model, which intuitively seems apt for India, ever become viable and provide a real alternative to the ever diminishing wallet of the pre-paid consumer?

1 comment:

  1. What about the new "Games Club" offered by Airtel?

    Some Question to Samir from my site:
    1. How big is the Indian mobile entertainment market - splitted in ringtones, pictures, videos, games, apps, etc.?
    2. What is the market share of India Games in India?

    Thanks for that information.