Put another way, on the mobile, VAS 1.0 was all about generating revenues from consumers. In India, this is a billion dollar business. VAS 2.0 will be using Free SMS Subscriptions as the anchor for monetising the right of way to consumers in multiple different ways. What will be valuable in this case is the Subscriptions Engine. What Search did on the Internet Subscriptions will do on the Mobile – generate an audience and create revenue streams.
The World of Subscriptions: Creating Right of Way, and Combining Invertising and Advertising
Now, the next question is how big can this be? Or put another way, what can users Subscribe to? And what’s the business model?
Free Subscriptions can be of two types: Content subsidised by Ads, or Content as Ads. In the first scenario, content is what subscribers want, and advertisers pay to reach these users. This is Advertising. Content can be professionally created or user-generated. Professional content can be regular content (“dailies”) or event-driven (“alerts”). In the second case, there is only promotional information sent primarily by brands – and that is what subscribers want. Think of it as Invertising.
SMS Subscriptions don’t necessarily have to have all of the content in them – given the limitations of 160 chars, they cannot. Instead, for some of the messages, we need to think of them as Signals, or Triggers – which can get the subscriber to act. The action can be a click, response back via SMS, a phone call. And the response on the SMS can also be followed by a voice call. So, essentially, the SMS becomes the starting point for generating engagement (when it is required).
(To be continued tomorrow)