One of the ideas I have been thinking about is paid microcontent subscriptions delivered to the mobile — via SMS or mail. The key word is “paid” — will people pay, or will it have to be free forever? The mobile is different — see the success of Blackberry and push mail, and also mobile operator-promoted VAS services. The question is: is it possible to build a direct-to-consumer model for content subscriptions, a sort-of iTunes for microcontent. Here are some starting thoughts from me.Pushed content has a charm of its own on the mobile. It just comes to us. Because of the immediacy and 24×7 availability, we welcome it – as long as it not spam. Consider email, for example. It is available on PCs, but people are willing to spend a lot of money to get it pushed to them on the mobile. Pushed content eliminates latency and can also fill free/empty moments.
Microcontent too has its own charm. Look at how taken up people are with Twitter. We have also seen the same reaction with our MyToday free SMS services – the snippets of news and various kinds of tips are so useful and timely. A Daily Delight.
Payment by subscribers is what makes the mobile so unique. Mobile users are willing to pay for content and services. The same music that is perceived as free becomes paid in the form of its micro ringtone version. Operators too have benefited from paid SMS subscription services – it is again the combination of push and microcontent delivered on the mobile that elicits the money. What do you think? Will people play? If so, for what type of content?