afaqs!

NGC eyes additional revenue from mobile

By Kapil Ohri , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | May 01, 2009
The broadcasting company has made its content available on its newly launched mobile portal and on Airtel Live. It plans to push content through paid SMS based service as well

National Geographic Channel (NGC) is eyeing the mobile platform to expand its audience base and earn additional revenue.

To tap the larger audience on mobile, the broadcaster has planned to make available its content on both GPRS and non-GPRS enabled mobile handsets. There are more than 370 million mobile subscribers, of which 20-30 million are active GPRS or mobile Internet users in India.

For mobile Internet users, the channel has launched a mobile site, available at natgeotv.co.in/mobile, where mobile users can download rich media content such as videos, ringtones, coloured logos, wallpapers and animations.

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NGC has also made available its rich media content - ringtones, coloured logos, wallpapers and animations - on Airtel Live as well. In the next few weeks, the broadcasting company will make the content available on the mobile portals of other telecom operators, too.

Speaking to afaqs!, Rajesh Sheshadri, senior vice-president, content and communication, National Geographic Channel India, says, "Rich media content is targeted at high ARPU mobile users, while consumers who own non-GPRS enabled handsets will get the NGC content through SMS." The content service for non-GPRS users will start in the next few weeks.

Information such as fact of the day and environment related news will be shared through SMS alerts. Ringtones and wallpapers, specially developed for low end mobile phones, will also be released.

The content for mobile phone consumption will be developed separately, except video clips, which will be specially packaged for the mobile.

To monetise, NGC will offer a subscription based model for SMS alerts and charge consumers for downloading any content. For instance, consumers have to pay Rs 30 for getting SMS alerts and they have to pay about Rs 10 to download a ringtone or wallpaper.

In the next few weeks, the channel plans to introduce a payment model wherein consumers can pay Rs 30 a month to download a fixed number of ringtones, wallpapers and videos.

Sheshadri says, "Initially, we are planning to earn most of the revenue from our mobile endeavour through SMS subscriptions and download options. Later on, we can explore introducing display mobile advertising on our mobile site." He declines to comment on the percentage of revenue that NGC is expecting to make from its mobile initiatives.