Time to ACE

The key lies in Analytics, Collaboration and Experimentation
Analytics, Collaboration, Credit card payments, Customer experience, Digital services, Entrepreneurial, Experiment, Iflix, Media delivery, Start up mentality, Telcos and OTT, Columns


Take risks. Ask big questions. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. These are statements which are more easily said than actually put into practice. And especially when big corporates or government agencies are concerned, and a lot is at stake, the hesitation of ‘what if’ can’t be ruled out. But then on the other hand, one also wonders how to move forward without being ready to take a risk.

When a huge transformation is the agenda, organisations could often end up at the cross roads when they either choose to play safe and stay stagnant or take a risk and be ready for what comes next- be it a huge success or a terrible failure. Well, there’s a chance to succeed that we can’t ignore.

The relationship between OTT players and telcos has been constantly the subject of discussions and analyses since the popularity of OTT services set new benchmarks for customer experience. Recently, when a panel of experts at CABSAT 2017 gathered to dwell upon the topic, one thing was very clear- the focus now is not on who’s more powerful or who’s better; rather it’s about how the various players of the ecosystem, be it telcos, OTT providers, or pay TV companies come together and complement each other’s strengths to provide a compelling value proposition to the customers.

With a huge proportion of youth population, the MENA region is a hotbed for new digital services be it in terms of video, messaging, sports, academics or entertainment; and that instantly means there’s an enormous opportunity for organisations to tap into and monetise.

The appetite for content is constantly on the rise. It is the best time to think about collating various services and providing those to the customers through unified platforms. As a viewer myself, I would wish to have the privilege to see what are the shows on offer on Netflix, StarzPlay, Viu, Iflix, and Icflix when I am thinking of what to watch next. I might find something of interest on more than one of these platforms; but do I wish to download and pay separately for each? I don’t think so. However, it would not be a bad idea if a telco provider collaborated with these players, allowing customers to choose from an interesting selection of packages depending on what all they wish to see, and the billing is conveniently handled along with the mobile bill.

There have been certain complaints regarding payment methods when it comes to certain services, wherein the argument is that not all customers would necessarily have credit cards to pay with. Well, that’s definitely something to look into- as in terms of content, customers deserve to have access to multiple methods when it comes to paying for services they wish to avail. And let’s not forget this means a win-win situation for all; what customers seek is variety, ease, convenience and novelty, if this is what they are given, it would be possible to convince them to pay a premium for the same, and all the stakeholders stand a chance to benefit from that.

Another point which comes up constantly is the fact that telcos either don’t realise the value or don’t do enough to exploit the big data they have access to. That’s non-negotiable to say the least. None but the telcos have the biggest databases- what’s needed is usage of apt technologies and skillsets to analyse this data, make sense of it and use the insights to design the right service offerings for the customers. It’s high time telcos make this a priority because this is where their future growth is going to stem out of.

Nader Sobhan, head of MENA at iflix, made an excellent point when he called upon telcos to be a little more entrepreneurial and less hesitant of trying new things for fear of failure. It’s time to try new things and it’s time to collaborate and bank upon the USPs of each other to create something bigger and better than what one could do single-handedly. The disruption has begun. As digitisation sinks in worldwide across all segments of the society and businesses, it’s time to take a risk, do the new thing and see if it works. If it works, we have in place an innovative new business model, and if at all it fails, we learn of one thing that doesn’t work, so we try something else next time.

Experiment. Fail. Learn. Repeat.


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