Blyk Media plans to launch opt-in mobile messaging services in India in partnership with telecom operator Aircel on Friday. Blyk specifically targets the youth with opt-in messaging services and content, and by the looks of it, they’re looking at making the most of India’s “demographic dividend”. Aircel will be Blyk’s third telco partner, after Orange in the UK and Vodafone in Netherlands. Aircel has, at last count at the end of September 2010, 46.5 million subscribers in India, and has so far been focusing on driving mobile Internet usage in India.
SMS based marketing is rife in India, but most of it is spam, partly due to the low cost of messaging; brand advertisers tend to shun the medium. Judging from their website, Blyk tries to offer brand advertisers an option. Internationally, they’re offering opt-in mobile subscribers access to content like fashion tips, music news – content of that is of interest to them, along with promotional messages, and freebies, promising brands greater engagement.
Opt-in advertising has been attempted before in India: MyToday has tried free content updates, SMS GupShup created brand specific communities, and mGinger offered to pay users to receive promotional offers. Where Blyk’s will need to be different, is to play the role of an agency, and develop brand specific campaigns. The other interesting angle to Blyk’s model, is that they’re partnering with telecom operators to offer mobile marketing, and not offering the service independent of telecom operators. Going through telcos might limit scale, but then it might also mean a lower risk of services being blocked.