Graham Moore Graham Moore Product Director - Telsis

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Content Discovery: the next source of revenue for operators?

  • Mobile operators are continually seeking ways to maintain their revenues as their user base evolves and customers demand new types of services. Compared to previous generations, younger people are far less reliant on traditional services such as voice. Indeed, making a call is one of the last things such users would consider doing with their smartphone.


    Revenue from voice calls peaked in 2011 and has been falling ever since, even though call volumes have not declined. SMS revenue also peaked not long after that, and many now believe that data revenue is about to experience the same fate. Although data consumed by mobile devices grew by 63%1 last year , revenues are expected to fall in the coming years due to competitive price pressure and the increasing use of Wi-Fi offload. In fact, greater access to Wi-Fi at home and at work, combined with the increasing number of Wi-Fi hot spots in public locations, means that 60% of all mobile data was offloaded onto Wi-Fi in 2016.


    So, given that mobile operators have exhausted growth opportunities in their three major sources of revenue, where do they go next? The answer is that they need to get a bit more personal.


    As part of their migration towards becoming digital service providers, mobile operators already know a great deal about their users from metadata they have gathered about websites users visit, which apps they use, the different types of content they consume, and so on. This metadata can be used to understand a user’s behaviour and identify services they might want to access, and content they might want to consume. By providing personalised recommendations, mobile operators can trigger the purchase of premium paid-for content without requiring the user to find the content through their own conscious effort.


    For example, many mobile operators now provide IPTV and video-on-demand services. By analysing the content that a user watches, the operator can provide recommendations to the user, allowing them to discover new shows and videos of which they were previously unaware.
    By offering premium content, or free episodes of premium content, as part of the user’s recommendations, the network operator is able to increase sales of such content, opening up previously untapped revenues.


    This is not without its own challenges, as operators need to find ways in which they are able to classify the content to which they have access in order to make decisions about which content to promote. Given that content providers take different approaches to classifying content and presenting the information, operators need to look for ways in which they can provide a simple, consistent feed to their backend systems.


    Of course, this does not just apply to IPTV and VoD content. Such an approach could also be used to offer other subscription services or apps to the user or to provide targeted paid-for advertising to selected customers.


    What all services have in common is that they allow mobile operators to monetise the information they already have about their customers. This also allows operators to personalise their users’ experience, in turn giving them recommendations based on the things they are interested in and allowing them to discover content that is relevant to them.


    1 Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update.


    Graham Moore
    About Graham Moore Graham Moore works as Product Director at Telsis
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