The end of OTT and the risk of not partnering

“The risk now,” said industry strategist Hugh Roberts, “must be not partnering or considering it, rather than considering partnerships – against the tide.” This remark, made at last week’s IIR’s Pricing Data and BSS conference, rang true with the panel of ‘OTT’ players and operators.

The tide has certainly turned.

As well as the presentations from operators, those from ‘OTT’ players provided valuable insights into how these new friends view operators and what value they can offer. Deezer, the music streaming company that sees 80 percent of its music flow across mobile devices, views their role as value adder and brand freshener. Deezer does not have a five year vision, they are too young, operators tend not to have a fashionable brand. Together that is valuable.

Although there are definitely revenue sharing opportunities, both Deezer and Telenor admit that it is too early to see a stable way of settling these into established relationships and models.

To find the real benefit, “think loyalty bringer and tool for customer retention,” said the speaker from Deezer. This was echoed by Rory Kenny of Trip Advisor, who has worked with Telefonica to “offer roaming as a service not a barrier, a cost.” With an untapped market of $1.2 billion – represented by the 50 percent (of 75 million) roamers who do not use voice abroad and the 70 percent who switch off data, he is keen to get his customers to keep data on.

94 percent of travellers use local searches, 75 percent check restaurants and an embarrassing percentage simply get lost. So TripAdvisor is a valuable service abroad.

They have already rolled out some valuable brand associated services with Telefonica (more of which later) and are integrating services such as Uber, the taxi finding service.

Interestingly, Mr Kenny is using their own transaction platform, and while he has certainly considered using Telefonica’s in-app billing capability, he said that until he can “build it once and roll it out everywhere” he would not go down that route.

As many operator executives lie in darkened rooms trying to work out how to differentiate their services from their competitors, both Deezer and TripAdvisor provided some good use cases into how to do just that.

It will be fascinating to see what next year’s event will bring.

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Alex Leslie
About Alex Leslie 400 Articles
Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet.

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