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EDITORIAL How the Netflix generation is going to make DCB mainstream

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Anyone with a passing interest in Football may have wanted to watch Spurs get beaten by Ajax. They may want to see how ‘the real final’ between Liverpool and Barcelona goes tonight. They probably, though, having just a passing interest, not want to actually pay for an annual subscription to a Sports channel just for the odd big game.

Likewise, not everyone wants to sign up to Netflix, but they may want to watch the latest Episodes of Captain Underpants, or just the latest doc about mysterious bluesman Robert Johnson, just in case it reveals just what actually happened at that crossroads that night…

The point is, TV and content consumption has undergone a massive shift in the past five years, moving from watching, reading or listening to what is happening at the time you want to watch, read or listen, to a world where everything is available on demand.

This Netflix model extends from TV and movie content, to podcasts (the ‘new radio’), music, games and more. And underpinning this model is subscriptions. You sign up and fill your boots – unless it’s Amazon Prime or iTunes, but that is a different matter: even they are coming round to the idea of one subscription and the boots can be filled.

However, as the Champions League, the odd boxing match or a few key games in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A prove, not everyone wants to fill up; many just want to watch something when they want – and are willing to pay for it.

This opens up some interesting areas for telemedia. Firstly, carrier billing offers a perfect way to charge for one-off access to content. We’ve been here before with it: DCB is the main tool for selling access to digital things such as content and quasi-digital things like parking and tickets to ride. Selling goals, matches, fights on a one-off basis is a perfect fit for DCB.

And moreover, DCB is a perfect fit for the likes of BT Sports, Sky, Twitter and anyone else who wants to monetise access to content.

But where it gets interesting is where you take it next. Sure, I want to watch Spurs get knocked out of the Champions League at the rematch at Ajax next week, so I can pay using carrier billing to get one off access to the match on Sky or BT and sit back and enjoy.

Only now, Sky or BT – or Twitter or whom ever told me I could use my phone to pay for access – now knows I like the odd match and they have my mobile number. It doesn’t take a marketing genius to work out that (a) I might want to be sold a full subscription (b) may want to watch the other big games on an ad hoc basis (c) I might want to change my broadband supplier, (d) may be interested in other products from other related suppliers and (e) all of the above.

So, from a simple scratching of an itch – my desire to watch one match – has at the very least earned the content and rights owners some extra money, but potentially has made me into a repeat customer or made me buy something else. It has also opted me in to be sold to hereafter, if all done correctly.

At a recent Fonix event in London on just this subject, it was really refreshing to hear how many content owners and rights owners are now getting this idea. While, the subscription model for OTT is here to stay, the incremental revenue and marketing opportunities that mobile interaction and carrier billing afford around one-off or occasional interaction is now a reality.

Consumers used to pay to interact with TV shows. Now they pay to have access to what they want when they want it. Now they can have both of those things and the ability to try things, control how they access stuff and be even more free to enjoy entertainment under their own terms – and that means spending more money. Happy days…. Unless you support Spurs.

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Editor and content creator for Telemedia – for 18 years and counting

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