Mobile based social networking application, RockeTalk, has launched a reality game show on mobile, part of a brand campaign by Nokia, on its platform in India. The campaign is in the form of an audio reality game show by the name, Nokia Antakshri, that lets registered RockeTalk users to participate in the contest which involves answering multiple choice questions and singing, via their mobile phones to accumulate points, win daily prizes and get shortlisted to compete with other winners for a gala prize. The show, which started last week, is slated to continue for the next 4-5 weeks. There’s also a special incentive for Nokia users- the chance to participate in a wild card round open exclusively to them. Interestingly, all above the line marketing is being taken care of by Nokia, which means that Nokia would publicise the contest on all mediums, subsequently benefiting RockeTalk.
Speaking with MediaNama, RockeTalk founder & CEO, Rajiv Kumar, claimed that within a week’s time, over 50,000 RockeTalk users have participated in the game show,while 2.5 million users have seen and heard them on their phones. He added that on an average the contest witnessed 23 minutes of user engagement, however, a participant can only play once. The company expects 200,000 participants by the time the game reaches its final round. In addition to pre-determined questions, there’s also a panel of judges marking participants for their singing. However, the contest is mainly being pushed in the Indian market, with Nokia giving away phones to the best participant, every week. He mentioned that the contest makes use of RockeTalk’s virtual leaderboard capability. It also allows users to share songs with their friends over SMS.
On campaigns: The company runs 4-6 campaigns at a given time but according to Kumar the centrestage is mainly given to one major campaign. These user-engagement campaigns are in addition to display ads in the RockeTalk client. It had recently run a campaign for Sonata watches, and Fanta.
Is advertising a scaleable monetisation stream: ” From a platform point of view, it’s scaleable – a user logs in 10-12 times a month, 20-30 minutes for each session, on an average and we slide campaigns in the social stream, so it’s voluntary – that’s fair amount of user engagement,” said Kumar. He also talked about striking a balance between brand engagement and content, so as to not make it intrusive. He claimed that one of RockeTalk’s campaign for Perfetti witnessed 20 million video views. The videos featured content related to the making of Perfetti products TVCs. He did admit that monetisation through advertising is still at an early stage.
On other possible revenue streams: Kumar told us that RockeTalk is looking at user level monetisation and ran a test user slot, offering sponsored user placements in search results, charging Rs 500 for a weekly plan and Rs 2,000 for a monthly one. The company received a good response getting 150-200 calls in a day, even when the mode of payment was a bank account fund deposit, with more than 90% users actually making payments. Following the trial, the company is now in talks with mobile operators for operator billing for the same service, and Kumar informs that it has in fact cracked a deal with Vodafone, with revenue share at 70:30 in favour of RockeTalk.
RockeTalk had also opened its API to other developers for content. The platform has 6 developers on board, mostly offering free content with the exception of Hungama which also offers paid content. Dainik Jagran also offers hindi news feed on RockeTalk, which is also accessible on phones which don’t support Hindi fonts by using images. Kumar informs that the company does not charge a fee from developers, and although it’s not present at the moment, once talks with telcos conclude, developers will be able to monetize the stream through telco billing. The company had once introduced religious content with payments enabled via prepaid cards on an off-deck platform, but the company did not continue with offline payments since it felt that physical retail was not scaleable as a lot of people were involved in the value chain, diluting margins.
On user base: Till the end of last month, RockeTalk has 16.8 million registered users and 8.6 million active users, with 72-73% of its user base mainly coming from India, followed by Indonesia, Phillipines and other South Asian markets. Between 600,000 to 800,000 users register per month, but this varies with contests and promotions. Kumar says that the company is currently focusing on South Asia and is inking deals with local partners to push the service. The company had earlier said that it also wanted to enter the African market. He also added that there had been a negative impact of the TRAI’s SMS spam regulations on new user addition, as even sharing from RockeTalk via SMS was blocked as Spam. However, the company approached the TRAI and has been unblocked 3-4 weeks back.
Mobile apps: Kumar also informed that the company will introduce revamped iOS and Android apps which will offer a new way to browse user generated content, in the coming weeks. The company has been majorly focusing on feature phones as a large part of its user base comes from tier-2 and 3 cities where smartphone penetration is low. Kumar hopes to see a positive impact of data tariff cuts in the next quarter. On being quizzed about launching an IM app, Kumar said that there are already too many players in the market, and RockeTalk wants to focus on improving its existing product.