Very few companies can throw up a mobile version of their web site and sit back and wait for the money to flow in.
In order to have products and services best marketed to reach mobile customers and deliver revenue streams, many content companies are leveraging the most effective route to market that can deliver a proven monetisation model. They’re partnering with mobile operators. And these partnerships are more than just operators offering a ‘dumb pipe’ to carry and deliver content.
A general rule of business partnerships is that companies only work together if the partnership results in increased revenues for all concerned. This sounds obvious. However, as operators sign up new partners to deliver digital goods and services to their customers, the ability to maximise revenues may well involve entering into exclusive deals in order for an operator to differentiate themselves over their competitors.
So the question is: How can operators attract the type of partners that will help drive additional revenues and give them a clear differentiator over the competition? Having a high speed mobile network that enables the delivery of digital goods and services is table stakes when it comes to working with partners. LTE is becoming mainstream and, as such, it’s no longer an operator differentiator when signing up partners.
What will make one operator more attractive over another to a potential partner is the ability to most effectively maximise revenues and profits and this does not mean just the ability to negotiate the best (or one-sided) deal in a revenue sharing agreement. It requires the operator to have the systems and processes in place that provide effective packaging, promotion, distribution and monetisation of partners’ offers.
The roll out of LTE is helping to drive a modernisation of BSS, from legacy systems that were designed for circuit switched voice and text services, to all real-time, agile systems designed for high speed, all IP networks. This new breed of BSS can provide the foundation for operators to work with a large number and wide range of partner companies.
By offering BSS capabilities to partner companies, operators can become front and centre in digital value chains. They can manage the marketing and monetisation of partner offers and, by providing partner self-service and engagement, they can provide the tools for partners to manage their own offers in a controlled and agile environment.
There are several elements of BSS that can be used to help drive partner revenues and these include:
Controlled access to Offer Catalog – Provide a ‘partner self-service’ portal to enable partners to configure/manage the development and bundling of their offers. The operator would apply tight control parameters in order to ensure that the partners can only change certain elements of offers.
Access to business intelligence – Operators can provide access to usage data and analytics to partners so that they can see the performance of their offers and, when necessary, make the required adjustments in the Offer Catalog.
Direct operator billing/charging – Operators can charge for partners’ offers on the bill or direct from a pre-paid account.
Revenue sharing and reporting – Charging systems can rate transaction multiple times (once for retail and once for wholesale) to produce wholesale charging statements for financial reconciliation.
Policy management – Can be used to deliver services at different speed tiers to ensure QoS (e.g. HD video). It can also be used to control usage of particular services – e.g. a package of 10 hours of TV services, applying parental controls and rules for shared usage (e.g. access to an entertainment service across multiple devices by different members of a group or family).
Offer management – Operators can use their real-time offer management systems to help promote partners offers (e.g. upselling to a subscription music service, or push a sports TV channel service pass).
As we’ve seen with the increase in partnerships between music streaming providers, video on demand TV/entertainment providers and mobile operators, the appetite for mobile content partnerships is on the increase. Turning this into sustainable revenue for both parties requires using BSS to drive marketing and monetisation of content services. This is a long way from a dumb pipe content delivery strategy – It goes way beyond this. The investment in next gen BSS to enable such partnership models is where the smart money is.
Click here to download Openet’s white paper – Not so Dumb Pipes: Opportunities for Telcos to Manage the Digital Value Chain.