Mobile ad network Vserv.mobi has introduced a paywall feature to its AppWrapper platform, thus allowing application developers and publishers to monetize mobile applications using both advertising and payments. To this end, the company has tied up with Vodafone India for telecom operator billing, and also developers to connect with any billing mechanism – theirs, Vodafones or app stores like Nokia and Android Market. AppWrapper is available across Android, Windows, Java and Symbian platforms.

Partners & Models

Partners currently on board include Twist Mobile (which has raised funding from Matrix Partners), Nazara Technologies*, Indiagames and Jump Games. In addition, Vodafone will allow developers to deploy AppWrapper on apps being distributed through their application store VStore. VServ CEO Dippak Khurana told MediaNama that Nazara has been using AppWrapper for subscription for its Games Club service across multiple operators, and has been on board for 7 months now.

AppWrapper allows the deployment of “Try & Buy”, “Pay per Play” and Micro Subscription models. We found micro-subscription models particularly intriguing, allowing daily, weekly and monthly access to Apps, checking for ‘subscription status’ in real time – this is a fairly significant development, since it gives premium and niche publishers the opportunity to look at options beyond advertising. Billing across multiple telecom operators would be an added bonus, but a few key questions remain. Excerpts from our interaction with Khurana:

MediaNama: For every Rs 10 you charge the buyer, how much the developer or publisher make?
Khurana:  If you have an app, we give you a business model where you can give a choice of an ad free version at a particular price, or offer a subsidised cost of, Rs 2 per session, but you’ll also see an ad. You’re not asking users to pay Rs 50-100 per app. The ads are also powered by us. The wrapper is also able to show ads from other ad networks and now on top of that we’ve added the ad wrapper based transactions. Vodafone is giving 70% revenue share. Nokia already has 70% revenue share on Reliance, Vodafone and Airtel.

For ever Rs 10 that a customer pays, we collect 70% from the operator and pass 90% to the developer, but the operator also cuts a WPC charge of around 15%. So, the revenue share is 70% after WPC charge is cut, and for every Rs 10 a customer pays, the operator keeps 30% of Rs 8.5, we keep 10% of that, and the publisher gets Rs 5.35.

MediaNama: If it’s that small an amount (Rs 0.595 for every Rs 10), how does this work for you?

Khurana: For us, there is the case where the developer is doing the marketing and the promotion, and we have enabled the app with a power of a wrapper for both advertising and payments.

MediaNama: What about in-app transactions?

Khurana: For a lot of apps, we see that people don’t end up making purchases inside the app. While the virtual goods market exists in developed markets, there are many apps which will not have in-app purchases. People prefer complete access for a smaller amount.

MediaNama: How do you ensure that isn’t false billing of customers?

Khurana: There is no one click billing. It’s a three step process, where the user first shows interest in the transaction, lands on a confirmation page, and on confirmation the transaction happens. Within the app itself, he goes through three steps.

MediaNama: How has it been so far? Why are you announcing this after 7 months of deployment with Nazara?

Khurana: Nazara games has been using this platform for 7-8 months, and fundamentally, we introduced this to the developer ecosystem after we got the partnership with Vodafone. Lots of our developers want to give out this to the users for 3 sessions, and then charge.  Large part of it has been try and buy or pay per play, not a full purchase.

MediaNama: How were you billing before the Vodafone partnership?

Khurana: Nazara had their own billing pipe. The wrapper can work with any partner. Jump Games uses their billing.

MediaNama: What about other carriers?

Khurana: We’re in talks with other carriers

Disclosure: Nazara Technolgies is an advertiser with MediaNama

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