Sunday, November 05, 2006

Blyk - an ad-funded MVNO

News of a yet another MVNO to tackle the heavily congested UK mobile market has broken. The company, Blyk (further evidence of the fashionable trend not to use vowels in your company name) has funding from Soffinova, and a management team that is hotter than Nokias HQ Sauna. Blyk intend to offer a mobile phone service, initially targeted at the UK's young & fun segment. The key USP and differentiator is that the service will offer free calls (and text?) funded by targeted advertisements. The press release and other available information is short on detail, presumably to maintain an advantage until launch mid next year.

I was surprised to read that Blyk have opted to launch a new MVNO with all the hassle and OPEX overhead of SIM distribution, handset subsidisation, customer service provision and marketing. An alternative approach would be to develop a proposition and product to address the ad-funded model and convince existing operators to market this to the appropriate segment. Although most operators have been taking a very close look at this topic, and producing mountains of powerpoint on the opportunity, most are a long way away from launching a proposition. Blyk could harness this opportunity and provide the operators with a one-stop shop solution that addresses the entire value-chain, from advertiser to device.

As I said, the product details are murky, so we shouldn't go jumping to conclusions assuming that every SMS sent will generate a reply from Coca-Cola. Mobile devices and their associated networks can be very clever things, enabling very smart value-add to an advertiser that traditional advertising outlets and even the web have no way of even coming close to. Location, presence, content purchasing history , device type, roaming propensity and so on cumulatively have the potential to explode CPM rates and finally offer the detailed, auditable and accountable trail that all advertisers and media-buyers crave.

Read more in:
Blyk Blog
International Herald Tribune

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