(By Diwaskar Chettri & Preethi J)

Updated below

informateInformate Mobile Intelligence, a division of Mumbai-based Cross-Tab, a market research and analytics firm, has brought out a report on mobile consumers. “We have to meter the third screen,” Kedar Sohoni, President, Informate Mobile Intelligence, told Medianama at the the launch of Informate Mobile Metrics Report. The other screens being – Television and PCs (Internet). While the former has an industry accepted standard called Targeted Rating Point or TRPs for channels, the online medium has been afflicted with a number of audience research agencies that offer differing numbers, causing ambiguity and confusion.

The Methodology

IMI uses a metering software called Smart Meter that is voluntarily downloaded onto handsets, which records all activities on the device and transmits the logs to Informate’s servers daily via GPRS.

At present the company stated that 2500 people in India, 1600 people in the US and 500 people in China have registered with it. In India, the company tied up with Vodafone Essar to conduct the survey and is in talks with other operators for future surveys. Informate offers these incentives to users who participate in the survey:

  • Security feature for phones, such as tracking in case of theft,
  • Itemised billing for prepaid users: an interface will let the user know how much she is spending
  • A token recharge every month

Informate combines usage data with demographic and attitudinal survey information (such as brand awareness, purchase intention, brand satisfaction and preference scores) using its Informate Quest product to deliver a complete user profile to the cellular provider. Telcos already have been attempting to understand patterns and preferences of users when it comes to VAS, which is today a highly competitive arena and cause for churn. With the arrival of mobile number portability next year, such information will increase in value for operators seeking to retain consumers.

It believes automated data on VAS will be very useful intelligence for operators to decide new deployments for 3G in India. The company plans to expand its service to Brazil very soon.

Update (Nikhil adds): A few key things to keep in mind regarding Informates reports:

— It primarily takes into account GPRS enabled handsets, and not the lower end handsets that do not support GPRS. In that context, inputs related to trends among the urban-poor as well as a significant population of rural consumers will not be available.
—  2500 is a rather small sample, when you take into account that India is believed to have almost 500 million mobile connections. I don’t think a sample of 2500 can be extrapolated to such a large number of users.
—  At the same time, the richness and authenticity of the information available here is key. What would you rather have: 10,000 people filling out forms on their mobile usage patterns (which may also not be filled accurately by the surveyor) or rich, accurate information from 2500 users? I would say, the latter.

Highlights of the Report (April – September 2009)

Download: Report (PDF, 928Kb)

–Time spent on calling is comparatively high but shows downward trend.
–On an average, 25-30 minutes (per day) of active time is spent on voice calls.

graph-001

–Almost 15-20 minutes (per day) of the active time is spent on messaging.
–On an average 40-45 minutes (per day) is spent on entertainment activity.
–Time spent on multimedia activities is almost 5 times as compared to time spent on Games.

graph-002

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