MTN has just awarded a tender to Austrian advertising company, Out There Media (OTM) to bring ads to millions of mobile phones in 21 African countries where MTN has presence.
Out There Media owns an advert serving technology platform called MoBucks. This is a platform that allows mobile operators to make extra revenue by serving adverts from third parties to their subscribers. In short: if you think SMS ads are annoying, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
Your Smartphone is a very attractive piece of glass and metal for folks who make and/or sell products. You always have it on you hence it tells them where you are, if you are in their neighborhood they want to tell you they are there too…
It’s obviously attractive because you are always looking at it even when you are driving (stop it!). MoBucks allows network operators to make more bucks by showing you ads every now and again. Kerstin Trikalitis, CEO, OTM says:
At Out There Media we have the three key ingredients that mobile operators need to target audiences and increase revenue streams. We provide the technology, ad operations and ad sales in-house, offering our blue-chip clients and agencies unprecedented expertise and convenience. This partnership with MTN will also bring to market a pan-African solution improving SME viability via more effective and engaging, real time advertising and kickstarting a digital revolution across the continent’s markets
The MTN South Africa Chief Digital Officer, Ernst Fonternel is excited:
Through OTM’s proprietary platform, Mobucks™, we will enable brands and agencies to reach their target groups in a highly effective and engaging manner at scale, while creating an attractive proposition for our subscribers to receive relevant offers targeted to their preferences
Mobile operators need this
Mobile network operators need to keep looking and probing at new revenue streams. What they can charge for connectivity will keep getting less and less and hence they need to beef up their revenue streams to remain viable and maintain growth.
Advertising is a no brainer when you own access to a device that is in front of every face every other time. The MTN Group CEO Digital, David Gilarranz puts it in an interesting way:
Our mission is to become a driving force behind digital advertising across Africa and the Middle East. We want to empower advertisers to reach their target audience via mobile whilst simultaneously unlocking new revenue streams for our group. To achieve this, we are delighted to be partnering with the market leader in this space, Out There Media
It’s interesting that he talks of their mission thus: ‘to be a driving force behind digital marketing.” Business models for telcos are now beyond just the mere subscription for access.
Econet could be looking this way
Already Econet has engaged the services of South African mobile monetisation company, Hyde Mobile. They are the guys that are doing the content based value added services like Twitter Trends and the soccer content service for them.
The Capetown based firm is mostly into monetisation through gaming and content for example the news via SMS stuff happening at Econet. It makes sense if Econet follows suit and integrates advertising into all of this. They already have the big advantage that they are their own big advertising customer.
Econet and their sister Cassava have several products that they want to push. They could test out advertising for these products themselves first and kickstart a two sided market for other brands to buy into.
Yes, we will have a few more ads to be annoyed by but hey Econet also has to remain viable. Who knows, maybe subscribers who opt in to ads will get cheaper rates.