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Subscription based Mobile Entertainment not profitable?

Mobile entertainment is slowing down and subscription based model doesn’t seem to work for content creators.

Star India’s mobile interactive division, Star Mobile Entertainment launched mobile serials (called as mobisodes) last year and users were charged Rs 30 per month for unlimited usage after. This was in additional to the SMS and data transaction cost (Rs 10 for 1MB of data). However, having realised that the Indian market is not very conducive for such services, Star now offers this service for free.

Hungama too has faced a similar challenge with Dus Kahaniya (10 short films) which was launched last year [source].

The reasons for this is quite obvious – Indians do not buy music (piracy is a bn $ industry), then why the heck will they subscribe to entertainment content? Moreover, there are form factors associated with mobile, in general that deters people from using it beyond the basic needs (text/voice/some amount of data)

To add to the woes, 3G infrastructure seems like an utopian thought.

What’s your take on mobile entertainment? Is advertising the only way out?

Aside, VAS players in India are lobbying to get a better revenue sharing agreement with the operators.

Google states: “Google believes that it is of the utmost importance for the government to state in unequivocal terms – in the form of a directive or guideline… its preference for more equitable revenue-sharing agreements that align properly with true value added to the consumer. More specifically, TRAI might consider articulating a revenue-share band or a minimum floor price based on service type. Such thresholds, benchmarks, and point of reference – while perhaps not mandatory – can add enormous value as revenue-share agreements are finalised.”  – source

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