Ronnie05's Blog

New Revenue Models Augments Social Gaming.

Posted in Gaming by Manas Ganguly on October 7, 2011

India’s gaming industry is set to grow from Rs 4 billion in 2007 to a projected Rs 14 billion in 2011. India’s Social Gaming Revenues would top $1B in 2011.

Social gaming already is big business in Facebook and the top social gaming companies are making anywhere from $60 million to $ 1 billion per year on Facebook Games.

The stickiness and the traffic generated by Facebook games is the engine driving the social games economy

Of the 33 million Indians registered on Facebook (these form a third of the India’s internet population), an estimated 40% indulge in Social Gaming. That’s 13.2 million Indian’s engaging on Facebook as a portal. And a large and influential mass of people to be discounting for any brand based activity. Interestingly enough, Entertainment related brands which are more relevant to digital media are beginning to make their presence on Facebook. Two interesting instances are

1. Launch of Don2, the social game on Facebook in parallel with the Don2 movie featuring Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta, Kunal Kapoor amongst others. To leverage on the huge popularity of SRK, and the legacy of the Don movies, the Don2 game involves dark and gritty 2D art style gaming with Photo-realistic representations of locations, characters from the movie, weapons and vehicles, Interactive mini-games with multi-layer gaming to unlock special items, weapons and missions with friends, Leader-board system, Global and social ranking. The games include Real and virtual goods received as gifts which could be used as virtual and real monies. The gaming model closely resembles a mash up of Cityville and Mafia Wars. In the true social essence the initial draws will be based upon Facebook Ads, post which the viral effect kicks in, which is fortified with awards and other meet and greet events.

2. Another global launch that is also being worked out through Facebook is the launch of Enrique Iglesias’s new Album through context relevant advertising through the Facebook’s No.1 game: Cityville. The effort is to drive traffic to the Album’s facebook page including the exclusive video and audio snippets of the album’s numbers. That’s a seamless way of integrating awareness, trial, likes and recommendations about Enrique’s new album across 73 million monthly users of Cityville. Earlier we had Lady Gaga’s Gagaville lord over Farmville for the same set of purposes.

These events are particularly interesting as means through which Social Games are evolving from just being a game to a engagement-led and experiential media for brands to talk to its customers. There would be more such integrations as we go forward. If at all, this medium underscores the importance of traffic and stickiness as pre-cursors to revenue generation mechanisms.

Telecom success inspires Indian Policy Makers

Posted in Industry updates, Technology impact on economy and population by Manas Ganguly on October 6, 2011

Inspired by the success of Telecom sector and the advent of mobility, the Government of India is relentlessly pushing for better services, reach and depth of telecom services as a economy support, enabler and growth engine for India. The policy makers think of Telecom as a medium to reach out to the far and inaccessible corners of a rather large state.

A couple of new initiatives are worth mentioning in this regard.

1. The Ministry of Human Resource development (mHRD) along with a UK based device maker DataWind have produced the cheapest tablet/ computing device in the world. Called Aakash (meaning Sky In Hindi), the 7” tablet combines Android 2.2 Froyo, a 336 MHz processor, a 800*480 WVGA resistive screen, 256 MB RAM and 2GB flash memory along with 32GB expandable memory with a 2100 mAH battery in what could be best termed as Frugal Innovation targeting the bottom of the period. The product is priced at an unbelievable $38 and the government is subsiding a lot of it to make it available to colleges and universities.

Not only does this mark the entry of a computing devices to Sec C,D and below consumers, it also opens up a new avenue for internet penetration. It is also expected to spawn off a hundred apps and other value added services

2. To support services through wireless, the government has also at least five new frequency bands, including the 700 Mhz band, for telecom services (mobile broadband). The 700MHz digital dividend was earlier being used for analogue TV signals. The other major spectrum allocation is the use of S-band has been opened up for broadband services. This band, falling between 2.5 Ghz and 2.6 Ghz, is being currently used exclusively by INSAT systems for satellite based services including meteorological data dissemination. If the Plan is implemented then telecom companies could get access to about 200 Mhz spectrum more, which could boost broadband coverage. However, the NFAP is only a broad guideline outlining the future roadmap for spectrum usage in line with international standards. The actual implementation of this Plan depends upon inter-ministerial negotiations.

Yahoo! Present Tense, Future Unsure!

Posted in Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on October 4, 2011

There are two separate and contrasting reports on the fate of Yahoo! post the exit of Carol Bartz. Yahoo!’s which could be regarded as the largest Web 1.0 dinosaur has possibly seen all its glory days and is simply unable to find its niche in the fast changing, quickly evolving Web 2.0-3.0 space. That is a pity considering that Yahoo! Was one of the first social companies (Yahoo! Chat anyone?). But then it lost the plot in SEO (Search Optimization) and then again in SNS (Social Networking). By the time Yahoo! Moved away from its display advertisement focused domain, the landscape had changed very nearly completely and the likes of Facebook and Google were well past it. Yahoo again had the first movers in Mobile space with some early link ups with Nokia- Yahoo on the go! but again lost the plot. Read up on the Fall of Yahoo! here

Coming back to the reports: the first one was about Yahoo! Preparing for a strategic sell-out and the fact that Yahoo! board should have sold out to Microsoft long back when Ballmer made a very generous offer. Yahoo’s long-time advisers Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co are preparing to give potential buyers financial information which is a sign that Yahoo is about to put itself on the auction block. Sale appears to be the best way forward ro get rid of the biggest millstone about the company’s neck – its board.

Yahoo has been consistently underperforming and made some howler decisions. Attempts including a very aggressive positioning effort (by Ms. Bartz) to turn the company around failed and the share price is much lower than it was when Ballmer made his bid.

In this context, the second report quotes Shashi Seth, who heads the Yahoo!’s global search and marketplaces business and the efforts around Yahoo!’s (yet again) turn around. This comes at the face of the fact that key executives at Yahoo! are leaving in hordes. Seth re-emphasizes on focus on making great products, experiences and learn how to monetize them. The key according to Mr. Seth is redefining how search has traditionally been understood and breaking the old paradigm of search to focus on new growth engines. Yahoo!’s new growth mantra focuses on
• Creating a search engine for Apps
• Focusing on Mobile search
• Ability to search through integrated user linked information across Flickr, Picassa, e-mail accounts, tweets, FB updates

With due respect to Mr. Seth, the plan sounds nice (as did every other Yahoo! turn around plan) but there are huge many gapping large holes in the scheme of things that Mr. Seth puts. Firstly, the mobility space is taken… Androids will push Google, WPs shall push Bing and Apple doesn’t care, because the whole app experience in terms of App look up and search is so well integrated in Apple that they won’t need Yahoo! to give them the solutions. That kind of rules out Points 1 and 2 listed above as the platforms will inevitably push their native search engines. The UX of Yahoo! search could also be a dampener. This applies to the two of the largest device platforms: Smartphones and Tablets.

Ability to search through integrated user linked information across user accounts is a great idea, but I suspect that the Google’s of the world are already doing it in some measure and are integrating things faster. What really enables Google and Bing is that they have a teams of developers working on their platforms using the native Google and Bing search apps. Yahoo seems to have realized the potential in mobile a little late for any real action coming through to them.

Yahoo seems to be serially missing out on another huge property that they have in terms of 12+ years of content. A content management system with optimization could bet Yahoo!’s answer … much like the Guardian example. However, I don’t think that it has the ability to turn Yahoo! around.

BSNL hangs up on WiMAX: Death of WiMAX in India?

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on October 1, 2011

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) which was provided with a largesse of 2.5MHz Broadband Wireless Spectrum for its WiMAX launch is reported dropping the business case for commercial launch of WiMAX and is surrendering the spectrum back to the government. At the same time, BSNL has also assured the government that it is willing to continue its rural WiMAX offerings as part of its social obligations. BSNL has so far deployed WiMax technology using this spectrum for connecting the Community Service Centres envisaged under the Government’s e-governance programme.

BWA licences were given away last year, to Airtel, Reliance, Aircel and Qualcomm through an open bidding process. BSNL was the only Telco which was doing a WiMAX over BWA implementation. The other players have announced their BWA networks on 4G LTE. Neither of these players have so far launched services using this spectrum.
BSNL losses have tripled to about Rs 6,000 crore for 2010-11. BSNL had paid Rs 8313.8 crore for broadband access frequencies last year and it is currently seeking a full refund.

The following reasons are being provided for the roll-out failure

1. BSNL plans to rollout WiMAX-based using BWA through the franchisee model flopped over procedural, legal and other punitive charges.
2. BSNL also doesnot want to stretch its resources into LTE and is now focussed on better rollout and consolidation in the 3G space.
3. BSNL being just a single company adopting the WiMAX platform, was also confronted with the possibility of isolation from an interoperability and roaming perspective. Besides, if BSNL were to offer 4G services on the LTE platform in the future as a natural evolution for its existing customers, the telco will be confronted with a redundant WiMAX network.
4. BSNL also offers competing CDMA EV-DO services that are an alternative to the services it might have offered using BWA spectrum.

Thus, the surrender of BW Airwaves by BSNL effectively means the death of WiMAX in India. It will be available as a part of the government rural connectivity plan, but commercially WiMAX may not be rolled out in the country.

Tagged with: , , ,
%d bloggers like this: