Atul Madan, senior vice president, digital services, Mahindra Comviva speaks to CommsMEA on innovative ways to monetise content in an era of massive digital disruption.
What kind of growth do you see in content and content services in the Middle East?
We are now observing an increase in non-linear viewing of content, with an increase in catch-up and on-demand services, allowing consumers to view content of their choice on the mobile device of their choosing at the time of their convenience. There is a growing focus on local content, with Arabic content emerging as an area of enormous potential as it is the native tongue of the wealthiest and most influential segment of the population. Operators have also understood that the diasporic population provides an untapped revenue opportunity. Until now, there was hardly any dedicated content for them, which led to a higher inactive customer base and thus loss in additional revenue opportunity.
With so much of digital content coming into play, it is increasingly becoming important to bring all the stakeholders – content producers, distribution channels like broadcast, online and mobile, and app providers – onto a common platform. A digital management system thus becomes important in the emerging ecosystem.
What kind of innovation does Mahindra Comviva bring to the table in this space?
Backed by our strong presence across various geographies from the far-east to LATAM, we have been able to develop partnerships with numerous content and service providers from across the globe that offer contents catering to various ethnicities, across the age groups.
By aggregating content and productising it, we are able to create new monetisation opportunities for various stakeholders in the system across multiple geographies. For example, we partner with various telcos to offer white-labelled content-based services to the telcos’ subscribers. In addition, we provide a full bouquet of services that includes segmentation, promotion and pricing of these services. Services are priced strategically keeping in mind the other entertainment media as well as the attractiveness to prepaid and post-paid customer base.
Subscriber uptake is driven through telco networks where Comviva does the promotions and digital marketing to fulfil the latent needs of subscribers without being intrusive. We have helped a telco in the UAE to double the revenues from content based services in just six months.
Can you elaborate on digital services management being offered in the region?
Any successful strategy in the Middle East requires collaboration with existing ecosystem partners, a deeper understanding and insight into consumer behaviour and preferences and the ability to design, deliver, manage and refine winning service propositions and promotions. As the market also has a large number of expats from various parts of world, who want to stay abreast with what is happening in their respective countries, so there is a significant scope for services tailored for their needs also.
We provide an end-to-end digital services management suite that includes procurement, programming and discovery, usage reports and analysis, thereby facilitating a vibrant ecosystem. With this, we are helping operators to save as much as 20% of their CAPEX by optimising hardware resources and capital allocation according to current needs. Our expertise in tailoring content for expats has helped a leading operator to reduce its base of inactive subscribers and thus helping in generating additional revenues.
We have also helped operators in streamlining new service launches and feature upgrades improving time to market for new services by 60% to 75%.
What are your future plans for this region?
We aim to help the operators in the region address OTT challenges by providing end-to-end services under a single digital platform. Our comprehensive digital services management strategy helps in managing operator risks by managing the entire content life cycle from procurement to copyrights to monetisation and dissemination.