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Airtel To Pilot Ad-Funded CRBT Project

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You are reading it here first. ContentSutra has learned that Airtel will be piloting an ad funded CRBT (NYSE: BT) project starting around 8th July in two yet to be finalized cities in Uttar Pradesh with a 5000 to 10000 customer base. In a regular CRBT scenario, a user pays a fixed subscription fee for the CRBT service and an incremental charge in case of changing his ringtone. The fixed fee ranges from Rs 30 per month to free depending on plan while the song costs approximately Rs 15 per change. In case of the Ad funded CRBT, Airtel proposes to turn the tables by using the average ringtime of 10-12 seconds and place an ad in place of the user selected song. Just in case you are wondering, the user gets an undisclosed revenue share from every ad play with possible (not confirmed) performance filters added in case of playthrough exceeding certain timebands (eg: Ringtone played for 30 seconds in place of the average 10-12). Airtel would also enable interactivity, like in the case of press * to copy caller tune, to know more about a particular advertisement (CTR anyone?).

Firstly, the model can be immediately fitted with current new media measurement standards such as CPM and CTR and analogue ad formats such as ad jingles used on radio. Throw in Know Your Customer norms and the enormity of the project’s scope is apparent. Airtel, besides knowing average revenue per user, knows everything from call-duration, peak traffic hours and frequently dialed numbers (to determine uniques) that makes the profiled base a very attractive buy for an advertiser. In addition, being an essentially closed network allows it the leeway to hold proprietary access to high yield data such as geographic profiling and occupation. Add to the fact that payments to users need not necessarily be cash based and a whole new frontier opens up. With 95% of the wireless population still on pre-paid cards, mobile number portability and lower tariffs expected as new GSM players launch, the self-serving ecosystem would be a balance sheet boon and churn bane. Could this be the telecom game changer equivalent to Google’s (NSDQ: GOOG) Adsense? Comment is free.

8 Responses to “Airtel To Pilot Ad-Funded CRBT Project”

  1. Rajeev

    I think stating about any company's plan or launch like this is unethical unless the company has not disclosed it on its own. Right to publish by no means allows an editor to spy into a company's plan and sell it for the sake of website traffic.

    No more is the soul of writers now driven by morality. "You are reading it here first" gleams nothing but arrogance of the contributing writer. Is this what the User Generated Content has come to?

    The publisher should give it a conscious thought if the contributing writers are incompetent to understand their moral responsibilities apart from social responsibilities.

    Hope Content Sutra thinks about it in future

  2. A MEF report estimates the Ad-funded mobile entertainment space in India to generate something like US$ 120.4 million in 2008 and US$ 440.5 million in 2013, with the biggest drivers being CRBTs and ad-funded mobile games. Now to see how well its executed.

  3. vicky

    thats not good news for hungama mobile in the middle of fund raising.. When are they launching their ad platform for vodafone with amobee?

  4. This had been highlighted in the Mobile Advertising and Ad-Funded report which Wireless Federation released earlier this year as a key driver of revenue for Mobile operators going forward. The report highlights a huge number of such initiatives that can work for operators. There are several case studies in the report which show best practices, so that operators dont repeat mistakes made by their peers elsewhere in the world.

    Bharti Airtel was one of the companies that acquired this report from us in India. It is encouraging to see that this has been put to action and is being trialled.

  5. Harish

    It is Such a good and innovative move as it will help all from advertisers till the caller as advertisements can be useful most of the times and the caller will have no choice either except to wait for the user to pick the phone and enjoy the ad by that time. Revenue share will be a catch for all the users willing to enjoy the free talk time or something which comes on there way without investing something. Better than all the broadcasting channels whether it's radio, TV or interactive mediums like internet, kiosks or anything else.

  6. deepak purchanda

    I wish Airtel doesn't end up making mistakes the way Blyk did. This is Airtel's first venture in a media space I think they should take help from their strategic web partner "Google" in launching any ad supported business model.

    Coz only Google knows how to launch and expand ad supported business models.

  7. Rajan Arya

    This is just the begining of brands/ advertising getting onto the mobile bandwagon. This should have happened long back, considering the size of the mobile ecosystem which is easily more than 3 times the size of C&S;households.
    Add to it the fact that provided, the telco is willing to share demographics besides the MSISDN, the advertising brand is literally sitting on a potential gold-mine of information on his TG. makes focussed brandbuilding a distinct possibility and eliminates some wastage from the marketing communication chain. There has to be an opt-in mechansim to take care of consumer courts too and we a have a win-win situation.
    Agreed there are a a lot of pros and cons too but we have accepted TV long back and this should be no different. In your face to in your ear, we have come a long way baby.