Mobile Content Summit 2011 - Highlights - Part II

The post lunch session began with the opening remarks by Deepak Halan, Group Business Director, IMRB. He pointed at the excessive fragmentation of the telecom market with far too many content providers. He also contrasted the Indian telecom scenario in the international context where telecom operators dominate the revenues, unlike other countries, such as China, where content providers dominate the major chunk of the revenues.  

In a refreshing change of discussions amidst the pressing concerns of the telecom market, Mr. Keith Curran, CEO, Steadings Group (UK) presented a very thought provoking session on the future of networks, personalized to the level of the individual who wields the control in today’s digital world. Aptly titled, My Life, Keith Curran walked the audience through a world of possibilities when the current push approach to business evolves to pull, handing over the reins back to the consumer.  He addressed the importance of grappling the dynamics of a typical hockey stick revenue curve with persisent efforts to reduce churn and sustain growth in a market that has not yet been saturated.  Inorder to increase the ARPUs it was essential to shift the current mindset from Value Added services to Essential Added services. He highlighted the dimensions of the My Life starting from My Number, where customers could opt for preferred numbers which would strongly resonate with their identity to My Payments and My Convenience. He also envisioned the creation of My Profile which would encompass the entire digital identity of the user and establish a habit monitor that could target the right product based on the pattern of habits. This profile would be empowered by a secure system tagged to the mobile phone of the customer, validated by a PIN across the wide spectrum of networks. He averred that the centralized, secured control of the consumer’s digital footprint, facilitated by My ID, would redefine segmentation in its truest sense by optimizing to the customer’s choice to the highest granularity. The audience pointed out the concerns of centralized security, drawing parallels with the Unique Identity project being carried out by the Indian Government.

This was followed by a panel discussion on Targeted Multi Channel Content which would bring about additional revenues. Kunal Behl, Founder, Snap Deal showcased his firm’s recommendation engine which helps in pushing coupons to the customers depending on the contextual significance. He also highlighted the fatigue involved in the traditional selling of the regular advertising content.  Keith brought in interesting examples from UK where operators offered free calling plans with specific advertising for callers. Deepak stressed on the need to explore innovative business models. To a question on the current power relationships between the telecom providers, he pointed out the Indian business context in perspective where the telecom players have more muscle power than the media houses which provided content.  Kunal contrasted the shifting preference towards performance advertising vis a vis brand advertising.  Keith also explored the possibility of reverse advertising based on the habit monitor tracked by the consumer’s digital foot print.

Amit Singh from Tata Docomo presented their strategic approach to mobile content with the addition of EFG E-Education, F-Facebooking, G-Games to the traditional ABCD A- Astrology, B- Bollywood, C-Cricket, D-Devotional of Mobile Content. He also showcased Tata Docomo’s successful initiatives such as Prayers, Rock, Paper & Scissor game and Social Networking in bringing the common man to the VAS Ecosystem. He classified the content into fresh and hygiene content with the former focusing on differentiated content and the latter focusing on hygiene content across the Mobile Content Networks.  

The summit then shifted towards the regulator’s perspective with a panel discussion comprising eminent personalities from TRAI, C-DOT and regulatory affairs of telecom companies. The panelists focused on the regulator’s roles across contentious issues such as IPR, User Abuse and Pricing of services in the context of User Generated Content. The big question over whether content should need regulation was also raised by the panelists. With the barriers between broadcasting and telecom getting reduced with digital convergence at different levels, panelists debated over the existence of independent regulations demarcating broadcasting and telecom. They also brought to light several regulations where networks are mandated with information security providers.  Various challenges that have emerged in the open source platforms such as Android where it becomes increasingy difficult to take any action on the concerned parties incase of any malpractice were addressed. In response to questions from the audience about the misuse of customers’ privacy through telemarketers, the panelists highlighted the various penalty measures that are being levied upon telemarketing firms. They also pointed the regulatory distinction imposed on the numbers by limiting the specific telemarketing numbers to 70 series.

The final panel discussion of the day focused on the challenges and benefits of providing a great mobile user experience with the best content. The panelists focused on the value and content being a function of depth, breadth and height of experience. They also addressed the infrastructure issues that stand in the way of providing mobile experience.

The event concluded with networking drinks as the delegates thanked the Virtue Insight team for putting their efforts in making Mobile Content Summit a grand success.