Strategy change and MyToday, which earlier was a house to subscription-based-free SMS content has now turned premium and will need paid subscription for their premium SMS channels (200 in number).
Channels like News, cricket and sports scores, market and stock alerts, Bollywood news, astrology etc starts at INR 5/month.
Positioned as a unique content play ‘tag line: Har Pal… Kuch Zaroori!), MyToday boasts of unique partnerships like content from Rajshri Media, MyIris, The Economist, Knowledge@Wharton etc.
In short, this dizzying variety means that customers will find something fresh, something useful in their SMS inboxes daily for their know-now, know-more moments. MyToday, we believe, will provide Har Pal… Kuch Zaroori!
… an SMS store could fill what I call life’s free moments. You can create lots of services. Can we create a series of, say, 30 packs of SMS’s, where you can educate people on innovation? You send them an SMS at a fixed time every day and it comes with a link so you get a key idea, which you can read in 15 seconds. And then there’s a link where you can explore for maybe three of four paragraphs, 45 seconds to a minute. – Rajesh Jain, Founder of Netcore
Essentially, this is a strategy change from depending purely on advertising to subscription based content, as advertising revenues is taking time to build.
SMS Burn Rate
At the end of the day, subscription based content also competes with bulk SMS content and even though one can sell demographics/contextual advertising on SMS, advertisers do not care so much about it. Lately, Google SMS Channel too has started sending ‘to continuing receiving SMS, send ACTV’, in order to gauge subscribers intent of receiving the SMS or not, so that they can control their burn rate.
SMS burn rate doesn’t justifies the (lack of) advertiser interest, especially with premium content – so maybe subscription is the next bet for MyToday.
Aside, if you go back to how SMS gained mass adoption in India – it was initially free and once people were hooked on to it, operators started charging for the same. Maybe, its the same with such quality content SMSes as well – though the challenge obviously comes to making people pay for the content online (especially for a small as low as INR 5), as opposed to in tegrated billing solution from operators (like Airtel App Store).
But the bigger question is will you pay for the content which was mostly free?