Seems that Cellular Operators are going through a tariff reduction wave as they are introducing one after another bumper scheme that have only one goal: reduce tariffs. We told you about Tata Docomo introducing the BuddyNet program and and how all cellular operators have moved to providing one paisa per second tariffs.
Things have become bigger now and the next major innovation that Telcordia (a pre-paid mobile platform from US) plans for the Indian mobile segment is that subscribers will get free usage minutes (airtime) and SMS for receiving personalised advertisements on their mobile phones including calls that would advertise a product via it’s jingles. Its been reported that these advertisements will only be shown / played according to subscriber needs, likes and preferences – Targeted Advertising in other words. In the current scenario, the users are literally sent spamvertisements! (read:spam advertisements).
Telcordia feels personalization is the new mantra. The degree to which our product is user friendly totally depends on how well it can be personalized by each user according to their needs and taste.
This might sound very nice initially. But have you ever thought about the circumstances? You may get calls at times that you would least want one to come. This again depends on how customizable do the providers make the advert system. Getting free airtime to listen to adverts is like selling your valuable time in the first place. Secondly, you are officially allowing providers to send you advertisements. You may think: What will happen If I receive an adcall, just take it and keep the handset aside. Well, things may not be as simple as they seem to be. There might be a possibility of a system wherein the ads are interactive and unless and untill you speak something relevant, you won’t get any airtime at all!
For brands, this seems to be the next big thing in product advertising and marketing. This kind of a system (as described above which is to be introduced by Telecordia) makes sure that a product reaches a targeted crowd rather than a bunch of people who are least bothered in the category of the product. For eg. A Biotechnologist will definitely not want to see or hear ads about the latest & cheapest cement company in the town. Subscribers would rather want to have ads of things that would benefit them in their daily work.
Unless and until this system is implemented properly and on a large scale, we have to remain skeptical about it’s success and usefulness to the subscribers!