India Digital Summit: Speakers unanimous on having localised content to take mobile VAS in rural India

India Digital Summit: Speakers unanimous on having localised content to take mobile VAS in rural India

Author | Sumita Patra | Saturday, Jan 20,2007 9:06 AM

India Digital Summit: Speakers unanimous on having localised content to take mobile VAS in rural India

The later sessions of the India Digital Summit saw industry experts discussing ways to grow the mobile market in India. If the morning session of the day deliberated on the state of the MVAS (mobile VAS) industry along with discussions on mobile marketing, the second half of the day was equally enlightening with key panelists sharing their insight on certain interesting topics.

Post lunch the second session of the day dwelt on the topic highlighting 'What is driving adoption beyond Metropolitan Cities'. The session that was moderated by Pankaj Thakar, CEO Cellcast, had in its panel speakers like Mariam Mathew, COO, Malayalam Manorama, Rajiv Hiranandani, Co-Founder and Country Head, Mobile2Win, and Virendra Gupta, Director-Telecom Services, Trilogy.

Thakar while admitting to the fact that VAS is being adopted beyond metropolitan cities, also stressed on pricing, packaging and language as some of the key factors that needs to be taken into consideration.

Hiranandani of Mobile2Win, incessantly laid stress on getting the content right. He said, "There is a huge demand for content related VAS in rural India. We need to get more content push. There is a huge demand for innovative exciting content. We need to move up the value chain."

He also dwelt on the concept of mobile radio, which can also drive the growth of value added services. Summing up his presentation, Hiranandani, said, "You need to provide relevant customised content that appeal to masses in rural India and media, with support from mobile telecos, is going to be a big driver for taking VAS to rural India." Compelling content with local flavour in them is what he highlighted time and again through his presentation.

Mathew of Malayalam Manorama explained her point of view by giving illustrations of certain things that the Group did which worked in certain cases and vice versa. She said, "In metros it is generic what people like but when you go down to rural areas interests are completely different. We have to understand the needs of each market and address them accordingly."

The need to invest in religion, the need for providing topical VAS services relevant to a particular area, reaching out to consumers in local language, making the services user friendly, introduction of cost effective services, are some of the insights according to Trilogy's Gupta, that will drive the adoption of VAS in rural areas.

The third session of the final day of the summit discussed ways as to 'How can mobile VAS be source of critical information interactivity'. Thakar of Cellcast continued to moderate the session, which had speakers like Kaushal Modi, Head-Licensing and Telephony, SET India, Sanjive Sethi, Director-Telecom, Times Internet Ltd and Sujai Srivasatava, Business Manager, Reliance Communication Ltd.

Modi while highlighting the significance of interactivity (with broadcasters using it to the full extent) dwelt on challenges that are there in the form of regulatory issues. He underlined the fact that there should be universal access number, pricing flexibility, critical mass in terms of consumer education.

Sethi of Times Internet started his presentation by defining 'critical', which according to him is 'dependent on demography and profile'. For him dealing with critical information requires 360-degree approach.

The session concluded with Thakar's remarks wherein he said, "Content providers and operators need to think about two way mechanism rather than single mechanism."

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