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EDITORIAL World Telemedia Marbella show: a maturing industry uncovered

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Another World Telemedia show is done and dusted and, bags unpacked, it is clear that the industry has come on in leaps and bounds. The delegates and speakers at the show indicate just how mainstream the industry has become – and just how mature it is.

TUNE INTO THE FULL SHOW WRAP UP PODCAST HERE

Carrier billing, the delivery of premium content and value added services (VAS) and the messaging that creates demand are now all intertwined into a coherent and efficient offering.

All there is left to debate is just how to refine it, how to create more services and how to get people out there engaged.

As our overviews of the key themes at the show reveal, carrier billing, value added services and even tackling fraud – and all the rest of it – show just how together these strands of the telemedia world are. The thing that is missing, to my mind, is that buy in from the consumer.

In that regard, it was a tale of two shows: talk about Africa, Middle East and up and coming Asian markets and carrier billing is on the up. Hell, even Google and Amazon use it. Consumers are very much down with carrier billing and mobile VAS.

Cut to Europe and the North America and other ‘developed’ markets and you still find the carrier billing, premium content and, to some extent, VAS markets are still dogged by a poor image.

The difference is that in developing markets there is no history with premium rate and carrier billing. There is also a lack of choice. Everyone is mobile, no one has Apple Pay and everyone wants to stream Netflix – no brainer: carrier billing makes it happen.

In the developed world, it is a different story. Recalcitrant network operators who, to be fair to them, don’t want the cost and hassle of bearing the brunt of complaints are backward at coming forward about promoting DCB.

Aggregators, while keen to get it out there, have little means at their disposal to get the message across. The brands themselves that may use it also shy away from it because… well because they are either unaware or also worried off by the lack of buy-in from MNOs. A vicious circle.

But slowly this is changing. A whole new generation – is it X, Z or millennials? I am now at that age where they are all just ‘young’ – are not so aware of premium rate’s dubious history. They are also wanting to be sated now. They are ripe to be offered carrier billing.

The brands and content publishers that they interact with are also desperate to monetise as much of their interactions as possible. They ideally want those long-standing and repeating subs, but will increasingly settle for mopping up all the one-off hits they may get.

It seems, on paper, that we just need to bring the two together.

And slowly, but surely, this is what World Telemedia in Marbella does – and what we do here at Telemedia Online on an ongoing basis. The BT Sports of this world need to see that some people (me included) would pay a one off, DCB charge, to watch, say, the UEFA Cup final on my mobile.

I would pay for parking. I would pay for the bus. I would pay for pretty much any one off and want to do so as easily as possible.

Getting this message out there – along with showcasing just how brilliant the minds of the telemedia industry are – is imperative to its success. And this show has taken the whole industry a huge step forward in that regard. Roll on 2020 – and get that message out there people.

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Paul Skeldon

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

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