Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mobile mulitmedia and viral marketing

In Technology and Business on April 28, 2009 at 10:51 am
Video communicaton through fixed online applications has become very, very popular (ex: video skype). Video communication through telecommunication broadband systems has not become very popular (whether fixed or mobile).
Ok, now let’s correct the hickup in the previous statement: Video communication has become popular over telecom networks since skype and a host of other such application software do indeed rely on the telecommunication network.
The question is how did skype and all the other peer to peer applications manage to catch a market in say five years, a market that the traditional telecom companies have been addressing for the last 40 years (remember ISDN video tv? and of course we now have 3G (and later LTE) video call capabilities) without much success.

Premise : Video communication does exist as a succesful service, but through advertising based peer to peer applications that are independent from the telecom providers service offering and billing system!


One possible answer is that   skype (and all the other skypes) offered it for free. The other answer is that they offered it for free to the users that could not afford to pay for the service anyway, the youth segment (well most could but you know..). Another factor that comes to play is that most of these peers understood that this segment relied on the “socializing factor”. Skype (and later applications such as facebook, gmail, msn etc.. ) built in a”gossipy virality” into the actual applications, allowing people to communicate, share, coordinate, incorporate and generally get involved; The key advantage with all these applications is the “social butterfly” aspect of the application. Another advantage is that the users got something in return for actually promoting the application to their friends, family and peers. In other words the application contained a built in viral component.

So while the previous strategy focussed on interconnecting customers (an older generation that really had no time, or care to watch itself on a screen) through video, or mobile video, as is done through voice, the peer to peer applications focussed on using voice, video , text and anything else that was/is at their disposal as enblers to allow people to group into “tribes”. This satisfied an individual’s need to socialize and be part of a group, and simultaneously nurtured their personality’s self actualization factor.

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