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EDITOR’S BLOG 080218 Time to tap into the “attention economy”

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With PSD2 now in force and a flurry of activity around the world to leverage carrier billing in all manner of mainstream offerings, it seems that its time has finally come.

Live ticketing with DCB is set to go live on the Cowes Floating Bridge, thanks to Fonix, is just the start. What carrier billing offers to the ticketing, transport and events industries is huge – integrating the payment, the ticket and the mobile experience to deliver a much more secure and rich experience for the user. It also throws up a ton of lovely data for the merchant to get their teeth into (assuming they sort out their GDPR compliance) to develop better and even new ways to service customers.

Media and content providers are also set to benefit from carrier billing. Publishers really need to get on board with it – the arguments in its favour are huge for publishers. They too can make digital consumption of content easier, richer and more joined up experience for consumers and, again with all that data, develop new and better services for them – proper rich experiences for which they will pay (more).

But is this all just a short-term notion? If you look at the outer reaches of the adult industry – a place where it has long been worth looking for innovation years before it hits the mainstream – shows that the idea of charging for content, funding it with ads and even the free-mium model that combines the two is starting to wane.

Consumers are wanting to have their attention valued instead. This idea of the ‘attention economy’ is nothing new – games companies have long used it as part of their freemium app model: the player has to stop to watch videos or ads to garner more points or coins to carry on – but it seems to be catching on as a more substantial economic model.

Adult company Vice Industry Token Inc. has launched the cryptographic  tokens – called “VIT” ‑  that can be redeemed to view premium content and other products and services from a range of partner websites and adult entertainment platforms.

The cryptocurrency – for that is what this, and all those games, powers, swords or what have you in games and other apps are – is, naturally, run on Blockchain to prevent fraud, but that is by far the least interesting thing about it.

This marks the first real move by a content company to bring together the ideas of attention reward/loyalty with cryptocurrencies and rewards. And I think this is a big deal.

This model doesn’t in any way have to only work with adult and I could well see it applied across all manner of media, content, games and services. Heck, I should be giving you tokens for reading this!

Where it gets really interesting is where you take these VITs or any other cryptocurrency derived from any game or interaction. They all have a value. In this case, it is access to premium adult content. Usually you have to pay for that with ‘real’ money, so doesn’t this mean that these tokens are worth something?

What if you could exchange them for other things? I may have 20 of them, but don’t want to watch any more premium adult content. Maybe you want them, so you can watch some. So I swap them with you for two more lives in Jelly Splash, or a fraction of a Bitcoin, or even some money. Or it could be credit on my phone. Which I can then use to pay to watch Netflix, say.

See what I mean? We are only a few short steps away from a totally new way of spending money – a way that, for now, is devoid of regulation, that avoids all the established banks, state, government and more. As a committed malcontent, I love the idea. It is the ultimate opt out, without having to go live in a tree and knit my own yoghurt.

Joking aside, cryptocurrencies have such massive potential (possibly why there is so much ‘fake news’ about Bitcoin knocking about right now – fake news cuts both ways, don’t forget) and they could really shake up ecommerce in its widest possible sense and change forever what is seen as value.

After all, the money in your pocket is no more real, it is a promisary note. And it is an interesting space for telemedia. We have the billing tech and reach into all sorts of content services. Why not do it with more than just Jonny Yen?

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

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