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July 2017


    The Digital Explosion: How VAS Business Aggregators are reshaping content for the Digital Era


    The Middle East market is primed for the upcoming wave of digital growth.  Key digital growth levers already in place, such as a growing base of mobile subscriber, increasing data connectivity, as well as young and a tech savvy millennial population hungry for digital content.

    In order to make the most of emerging opportunities, both operators as well as content providers are in need of innovative service and offering that are able to cater fully to the evolving customer needs and service dynamics.A Digital VAS business aggregation player provides a critical service and platform to operators by enabling them to innovate and transform their digital growth journey through a bouquet of mobile based entertainment and infotainment services, calibrated carefully to the needs and requirements of the end user.In Digital VAS business aggregation model, end-consumers get seamless & personalized experience with best fit and recommended digital content which is completely controlled, technology-proof and driven, based on defined KPI’s and SLA’sSo, why do operators need VAS Business Aggregation Services in the first place?
    Problem of plenty: Today, we are creating as much information in two days as we did from the dawn of civilization. In every minute, 300 hours of video are uploaded, 400 hours of new videos are shared, 3,567,850 messages are sent, 86,805 hours of premium video content is streamed (Netflix).

    So there is a problem of plenty!
    How do we make sure that the right content reaches the right audience? With an aggregator, telco can enable access of best recommended services to the right customer by providing digital products and services, be it entertainment, infotainment, utility, kids special, etc.

    Faster go to markets: A strong go-to-market strategy builds customer advocacy which helps to improve customer experience. Key to this strategy is to identify attractive target segments, and catering to this segment with better value proposition than the competition. An aggregator’s key objective is to do due diligence of current live service and figure out gaps in service/ content currently live with telcos. An Aggregator ensures that the services are launched with minimum timelines. They have readily available API which is provided to new Partner to integrate and launch with bare minimum effort to go live.

    Syncing end user requirements with partner offerings: Once end-user has acquired an aggregator, he keeps track on each activity of on boarded user to ensure that the content offered for consumption is relevant and best fits to specific user. Content experiences have to be shaped around the customer. This means segmenting and profiling the customer base – i.e. understanding which user did what, when, where and most importantly why, to serve them better.

    CAPEX Rationalization: The aim is to shift costs towards the end customer with the aim of creating more value proposition for the company. Other costs, such as infrastructure and H/W costs should be rationalized. EBITDA is one of the critical KPI for telcos where they don’t have space to do experiments with currently live business and invest more in BAU, aggregators invests in infra and H/w setup. Most of Digital Business aggregators propose commercial that suits various expectation and defined budgets.

    Bringing in best in class practices: Since aggregators hold in-depth domain knowledge and carry extensive experience of various markets and clients, they bring in their best practices and experiences while working with operators.

    July 21, 2017 0 comment
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    Typically, millennials are highly individualistic and dissatisfied with vagueness of information, something that almost never concerned previous generations. The millennials want to experiment with new story formats, form factors and payments mechanisms. In short, they want to stir the hornet’s nest and make it work to their own advantage.

    Millennials see technology as a window to the world; real and virtual isn’t much different, as for them the process of communication, for most part, is carried out through technology. Everything nowadays is shared and liked and commented upon, from their most private feelings to their day-to-day encounters. They have long established a sense of comfort and collectiveness when it comes to the digital world—especially social media. Millennials are extremely individualistic, tech savvy and quick to adopt new technology trends. They are the first generation to have grown up online, and mobile device has become their favorite channel for online viewing.

    According to TNS Global, millennials in the APAC region are spending the equivalent of almost a day on social media. In Africa, as well as Latin America, millennials are cutting the cord to their TV, and using social media for all their information. Often screens overlap, as multi-screen behavior is in, with 57 per cent of millennials stating that they are consuming content on their smartphones while they are watching TV.

    Social networking applications, gaming, instant messaging, banking/finance, education and health and fitness applications are very popular in Africa. In Latin America, millennials prefer Snapchat and Spotify in particular, with Facebook also high in popularity.

    Their virtue as consumers makes them difficult to market to and hence, marketers have realized the importance of staying relevant to this segment. This is, simply put, as millennials count for majority of their consumers. This generation is highly aware and cautious when it comes to purchasing anything online, and why not? They know they can access a wide range of options and they are capable of grasping when someone’s just trying to sell them something. However, their presence on a variety of digital media provides marketers to get them engaged through innumerable ways, offering marketers a plethora of opportunities.

    They want to be included, they want to participate and connect, be heard and responded to. They seek authenticity and an exchange of value, that too, on their terms. Millennials’ yearning for social connectedness is based on good storytelling. But, in today’s context, content has to be hyper local, delivered on the user’s mobile at the time and place of their choosing.

    It is not enough to tell any story.


    July 13, 2017 0 comment
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    Piracy has been increasing day by day, making it a challenge for producers to keep their work safe. They suffer a loss of approximately $2.7 billion each year.

    Around 70 per cent of online users find nothing wrong in online piracy. The reason for content piracy is the increasing demand for content consumption compared to the limited supply.

    Internet piracy statistics show that the illegal file sharing is prevalent around the globe in all markets – both developed and emerging.


    Majority of the pirated content consumed in the mentioned countries is mostly by people from age groups of 18 to 24 years. Approximately 58 billion visitors online were to stream pirated content, with 28 per cent via mobile streaming piracy. A 25 per cent increase has been observed in the number of sites converting YouTube music videos into mp3 formats. The consumption of pirated content on mobile devices has overtaken piracy from desktop devices, growing by 46 per cent last year.

    Net, net, piracy is a long-standing challenge facing the digital content space. However, the good news is that millennials are willing to pay for content.


    July 11, 2017 0 comment
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    The application economy is less than a decade old and has already begun to revolutionize the software industry. This is opposed to the history of their services, when much of their revenue opportunities were derived from adding features to existing software production. People have access to mobile phones in developing countries more than they have access to clean drinking water, electricity, secondary school education, or even sanitation. With data becoming accessible and affordable, more people are consuming digital content than ever before.

    An application is ultimately a mode of transport that we need, to communicate a service. Today, along with the swift growth in the usage of smartphones, the usage of applications has exponentially increased. The mobile handset will continue to scale rapidly in emerging markets. Going by GSMA’s report on the state of the Mobile Economy, the total number of mobile subscribers in Asia pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle will grow to 4.6 billion by 2020.

    For example, applications are in demand in the Middle East. Almost 85 per cent of mobile internet users have downloaded an application. Top applications include email, social networking, news and weather, sports news and hobbies. In a demographic split, female mobile internet users were found more likely to use photo and video streaming websites, while their male counterparts favored gaming websites.


    And this demand for digital content will only grow in the future as income level rises and the lives of the people gets more finely ingrained with digital developments across the world.

    According to Flurry Report Brazil, Mexico and Argentina are the three largest application users in Latin America, which is in line with their respective market share in the smartphone category. Utilities and productivity applications were the most downloaded, followed by sports, messaging and games.

    The application economy in Africa is also buzzing with home grown applications finding good traction. Local messaging applications, food takeaways, courier services, coupons and deals are also finding favor with the locals. The Asia Pacific region leads the application economy, which is not surprising as it has the largest share smartphone users. In 2016, the region accounted for almost 800 million of the 1.4 billion applications installed.

    The growing application economy is a good indicator of the health of digital content ecosystem, as it leads to better user experience as well as monetization opportunities.


    July 10, 2017 0 comment
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