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Italian VAS Co Dada S.p.A Launches With Airtel; To Bring Dada Entertainment To India Next Year

A consolidation has been pending in the Mobile Value Added Services space, and the last year has seen a few key events – OnMobile listed on the Indian bourses, MIH India picked up 30 percent stake in ACL Wireless, One97 Communications was funded and Bharti Telesoft acquired Jataayu Software. Rumours of other VAS companies being acquired have been floating around, but we’ve not been able to confirm any.

A new set of VAS players, lured by the “India Opportunity” of over 250 million mobile subscribers, have entered India over the past year – including the Italian Dada Mobile, Mango Networks, and some others still in stealth mode.

DADA Mobile launched subscription based services on Airtel yesterday. Available at http://in.dada.dj via WAP on Airtel, it is priced at Rs. 10 per day, allowing users to download 4 non-premium content, and 1 premium content every day. The content on offer includes the usual package – Ringtones, Wallpapers, Screensavers, Games; users are allowed to carry forward a maximum of 28 non-premium, and 7 non-premium credits on mobile. Medianama spoke to Shilpa Dureja, Marketing Director, India, Dada S.p.A about the companys plans:

How has the past year been for Dada mobile?
We’ve done a lot of ground work over the past one year to get the service off the ground. The acceptability for a subscription based model with the operators has come through now, and we’ve signed up Airtel
What made Dada set up operations in a low ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) market like India?
This is a market where Dada sees a lot of potential, and is working the way the Italian market worked initially; from our operations in Brazil – whatever cues we’ve managed to pick up – it seems to be on track. Besides, the number of subscribers in India is huge. It’s apparently one of the countries where WAP traffic is high – there’s an active WAP base here.
How was your first day of launch and how have you promoted the service?
We crossed a 1000 subscribers mark yesterday, which was great. Today’s been better than yesterday. We’re promoting via mobile advertising, off-deck – banner and text – mKhoj, MobileWorx and Buzz City.
Who are your content partners?
We’ve got content from Mobivention (formerly MEF), Mobibase, Telcogames, Seletra. The feedback I’ve received so far that is that the content is fairly fresh. In India, we’ve tied up with Mauj and IMI Mobile for content.
But you’re also competing with IMI and Mauj in the same market because they’re also aggregating and selling content…
While they do a lot of content selling themselves, they’re looking at distributing it via their WAP site or with partners. For us, we distribute across multiple networks and our reach becomes higher by that logic. Mauj and IMI will exclusively have their own content, while we bring in other content. We’re providing content providers with an additional revenue stream.

For Pricing Strategy, Revenue Share, Content plans and Dada Entertainment, click
Your revenue is being shared by the operator and the content provider? What kind of a gestation period would you require before this becomes profitable?
There’s a third component in that value chain – we have partnered with ACL Wireless to manage our connectivity back-end to the operator, who also get a revenue share. While we have a time-frame in mind by which we’re looking to break even, and the number of subscribers, I’d to keep targets off the record. Lets see how it goes.
How did you arrive at a price point of Rs. 10 per day?
We arrived at a minimum price that we can survive at, and we wanted to keep it at something that helps the operator increase the ARPU. From our experience in Brazil, we’d priced at 100 percent of ARPU, and we have had overwhelming success there.
You’ve gone ahead with a fairly standard package of content – Wallpapers, Screensavers, Ringtones and Games. What all do you intend to add to this content portfolio?
While the content portfolio remains standard, we’re classifying it differently. The industry considers Wallpapers and Animations as premium content, with a premium price, for us, wallpapers and animation is non-premium content. We’re giving games which could be branded as premium. As premium content, we have Trutones and Realtones. Going forward we’ll have full tracks and videos.
Would you be enabling advertising on the WAP site?
The service is currently only on WAP, and we intend to launch the Web version of the site by later this year. Next year, we intend to bring in mobile music and entertainment. We have a US Joint Venture with SonyBMG, called Dada Entertainment. It’s DRM Free music for both Laptop and Mobile, for US and Italy, and we hope to bring that to India next year.
How many people are working with Dada India?
In India, it’s only me to start with – it’s been a huge amount of learning – but we have a large staff base in Dada in Italy, and my content, technology and creative teams are based in Florence. We’re looking at setting our own India venture by the end of the year.

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