Entertainment to fuel Airtel's growth

By , agencyfaqs! | In | July 06, 2004
With 120,000 game downloads/month for Airtel alone, the segment is set for explosive growth

Mobile downloads have never been so sexy.

When Airtel launched Airtel Live - an entertainment portal for downloading content as diverse as films, music, images, ringtones, mobile games, sports, etc - it was not just another service for its consumers. Instead, this concept of mobile downloads goes much beyond the hackneyed notion of entertainment.

Airtel sources say consumers download on an average 4,000 games per day, where the applicable tariff can be as high as Rs 150 per download. This is not all. GPRS downloads (which includes pictures, ringtones, movie clips and others) have seen a whopping 300 per cent jump in the past three months.

The numbers may look impressive in the Indian context, but actually insignificant, when viewed against the global trend. A report by W2Forum, a London-based telecommunications market research firm, says the Asian mobile content market was worth $3 billion in 2003, and is set to double to $6.5 billion by 2006. Similarly, the Europe and the US markets will grow to $4.9 billion during the next two years. The UK firm said, value added services such as downloadable games and music will be the key market drivers for the projected growth.

Airtel is exactly banking at this prospect. While a clear picture on the current share of downloads vis--vis total revenues is not available, sources informed that Airtel earns 6-7 per cent of its revenues from mobile content (downloads and SMS). A section of industry executives pegged this mobile content market at around Rs 1,200 crore per annum -- growing at 45 per cent.

Some recent examples like Airtel consumers downloading "The Day after Tomorrow" game some 10,000 times is proof enough that the target customers are an excited lot. That by itself is a good enough reason for advertisers (movie production houses, music companies and others) to use this interactive medium to reach out to customers through mobile marketing.

The nature of the relationship that Airtel enjoys with its advertisers is not clear. Possibly, Airtel does a few deals where the content is free of cost. In future, however, there is a distinct possibility of Airtel getting paid for promotions. Welcome to Mobile Direct Marketing.

Evidently, there is a huge scope for Airtel and others of its ilk for growth in this sector. And that explains the rationale for the launch of Airtel Live.

Content on Airtel Live can be accessed by more than 7.5 million customers through voice (by dialing 646), SMS (sending key words to 646), and GPRS (Airtel Live mobile portal). Also, mobile coupons service has been launched on www.airtelworld.com, where discount coupons can be generated for outlets like movie theatres and restaurants.

The story of Airtel Live does not end with downloads. In future, through this interactive feature, Airtel promises to deliver live cricket commentary as well.

Airtel also launched the first ever GSM phone customised especially for its customers - Nokia 6220. The phone comes with exclusive Sachin Tendulkar wallpapers, A R Rahman tone, pre-installed GPRS, MMS settings, embedded bookmarks and links. © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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