Airtel outsources advertising inventory management to Mogae Media

NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel has outsourced all its advertising inventory management initiatives to Mogae Media, a firm promoted by former Dentsu India chairman Sandeep Goyal, in a first such deal in the Indian telecom industry.

This means Mogae Media will sell all possible advertising space on mobile, DTH and broadband services of the country’s top telecom service provider and run its end-to-end mobile commerce initiative including giving special offers, discounts, freebies to subscribers and negotiating deals with companies, a person familiar with the development said.

Goyal confirmed the deal, but refused to share financial details.

He said his Mogae Media has already begun selling the advertising inventory and that he saw great potential for his new venture. “My dream is to create an Amazon in the mobile space in India,” he said.

Analysts said it’s the first time a telecom service provider has collected and outsourced the complete advertising inventory in the country.

“No one has done that in India so far,” said Prashant Singhal, telecom leader at Ernst & Young.

Other operators such as Vodafone and Idea offer value-added services created by independent application and content and have outsourced some services.

“The model has high potential since the mobile phone is the only medium to reach out to 800-900 million people,” Singhal said.

He says the concept of giving discounts and loyalty points will work among deal-loving Indian consumers. “This kind of selling could generate revenues upwards of $1 billion in two to three years for the industry,” he added.

An analyst who did not wish to be named said Airtel could rake in around 40-50% of the industry’s revenue based on the sheer size of its postpaid customer base.

Bharti Airtel’s advertising inventory includes space on text messages, multi-media messages, IVR and recharge coupons in mobile services.

The default channel, pre-loading screen and messages from Airtel DTH and broadband also form part of the inventory.

Airtel’s deal with Mogae will work on a revenue-sharing model, the person quoted first said.

A Bharti Airtel spokesperson said the company would not comment on market speculations and partner relationships.

Through this deal, Airtel will also offer location-based deals by using advance technology such as geofencing-or tracking users through GPS satellite navigation system-to give discount coupons of nearby retailers to its customers.

Thus, an Airtel user may get a hefty discount on a particular brand or be the exclusive customers to be informed of a sale prior to it being opened for regular retail customers.

Such exclusive and customized ‘Airtel Deals’ target small sample sizes.

Goyal said Mogae Media will invest in creating mobile analytics from data available with Airtel on their subscriber base. For instance, high ARPU clients with substantial roaming and using smartphones would be targeted for high-end car brands and deals in airlines and hotels.

Similarly, youth with high Facebook usage and 3G connection may be targeted for offering deals on apparel, career institutes, cafes, movie theatres and music.

This micro-targeting of consumers gives brand the opportunity to fine tune both their advertising promise, as well as avoid wastage and spillage inherent in other media, Goyal said.

Mogae Media sold 250 million impressions of Life OK, Star TV’s new broadcasting channel that launched mid-December on post-call notification-a message which appears after a pre-paid caller ends a phone conversation showing the amount remaining in the caller’s account.

On the launch day, around 30 crore messages were sent out within four hours, asking subscribers to tune in to the channel.

Airtel’s WAP portal also streamed an eight-hour concert for Life OK and 7 million plus Airtel’s DTH subscribers received mails inviting them to see Life OK on channel 104.

Bharti Airtel is the world’s fifth largest telecoms company that has more than 175 million mobile phone customers in India, the largest share in the industry. Its digital television service has more than 6.6 million customers and more than 1.4 million broadband users.