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EDITOR’S BLOG 05-05-16 Diversification

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Skeldon2014BWsmallThe telemedia business has always been a tough business – on paper it should be a no brainer, but because of the many parties involved and their conflicting needs, it has been beset by regulatory and compliance issues and various scandals. But today it faces some of the toughest tests to date – and they don’t come from the regulators.

The threat today is from other forms of messaging and payments tools that threaten to overshadow the benefits that carrier billing and PSMS bring. It seems that, without marketing these advantages, they will lose out to OTT messaging services, social media and more.

But as ever this presents an opportunity. Those mobile aggregators that have stayed the course are diversifying and looking at where they can take their technology and their nous to create new revenue streams.

SMS aggregator Veoo is a prime example. It still does aggregation but it is currently pushing an intriguing way of placing offers into mobile wallets and then updating them. On the face of it, it seems to be a nifty little add on for brands and retailers to make couponing every so slightly more efficient, however it could also just be the thing that retailers have been longing for.

The ability to generate a URL that can be sent out via SMS, email or any other way that can then place something into a wallet that the brand can effectively update and control could well be what is needed to mobilise the loyalty scheme market.

And boy is it in need of updating: it currently relies on plastic cards, paper coupons that come through the post and the user having to remember to use the card and the coupons.

The tech rolled out last week by Veoo promises to overhaul this, tapping into location data and more to keep the things updated and to remind users to use them.

This is quite a break away from the telemedia business.

And then again it isn’t.

Having covered this sector for too many years that I care to recall, the path to today is littered with spin offs like this by players in the market. And many of them were a success. Nine years ago I met up with a chap called Andrew Fisher who had started a business based around some algos that could recognise songs. He pitched it as a sort of value-add for all sorts of services… today it’s worth a billion dollars, is the basis of selling stuff on iTunes and is poised to revolutionise how consumers interact with adverts. It was – and still is – Shazam.

Could veoo’s tech be another Shazam? Potentially yes, but even if it isn’t it shows the way ahead for any telemedia player looking to get on in the OTT world.

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