This business group currently has two elements: MyToday SMS and Profiled Database Push.
MyToday SMS comprises the 40-odd channels that we run, which offer free daily updates ranging from news, cricket and stock market, to astrology, health tips, a new word a day, jokes, and more. This service has grown to over 4 million subscribers in India, almost entirely via word-of-mouth. People subscribe by sending an sms (eg. START NEWS to 09223050606) and they can opt-out anytime by sending an equivalent STOP sms.
All content is editorially created by an in-house team. Over the past year, we have partnered with multiple media companies to broaden the content channels. Monetisation is via ads that follow the content on these SMS channels. So, content is typically about 75 characters, and ads are about 75 characters in the 160-char SMS that is sent out. SMS Ads are still a new media category so it will take some time for this business to achieve scale. This is where the second element comes in.
We have a large profiled database of mobile users in India which can be used to send relevant messages to people. This business has shown very good growth over the past few months. Much of this is due to the segmentation and the targeting that can be achieved. SMS is a powerful communication medium, and as long as the communication can be made more relevant to people, it is welcomed by most people.
We also have a set of mobile internet portals (MyToday.mobi and NayaNaya.mobi), but this requires a lot more focus for growth. Though we get a few million page views each month, it is not a business that has achieved scale. It is something we will be looking at more closely in the months to come. Mobile internet portals will become especially important and monetisable once 3G is launched in India – which I think will only happen a year or so down the line.
Tomorrow: Digital Services Operator