Zee group owned video platform Ditto TV is now allowing potential customers to buy subscription packs through their telecom operator, via a partnership with Estonia based billing service provider Fortumo. Payments can be made both by postpaid and prepaid customers, for content from 70 LIVE TV channels and on-demand video capabilities.
Fortumo has also partnered with TenSports, to allow them to sell access to sports events on a pay per view basis in India for around Rs 10 per game online, and is in the process of rolling out a partnership with music streaming service Hungama. After its partnership with Times of India group owned Box TV, the company has also enabled subscriptions for Box TV in Singapore and the UK. Box TV said that enabling international subscriptions through telcos helped drive subscriptions up threefold in India (thought it hasn’t commented on the exact number of subscribers and active users).
Excerpts from a conversation with Gerri Kodres, SVP of Business Development and Carrier Relations at Fortumo, where we discussed how things have changed post Boku’s acquisition of Qubecell, why companies would partner with Fortumo when telcos in India (like Vodafone) are offering billing, and
MediaNama: What are the challenges that you’re seeing in India right now?
Kodres: We have around 10 big companies, and many others. For us, India is a market with a huge potential, and this is why we decided to set up an office there. We see games integrating with our payment, and also streaming music and content providers. Why they want to integrate with us because our payment has superior conversion, and many Indian companies use our payment to monetize on India, but there are lots of other countries that want to use our payment. There are lots of middle eastern countries. BoxTV has integrated us in India and also in Singapore. We helped arrange a promotion with Singtel with Box TV content, in Singapore.
Hungama is another company that will go international through us. Right now, the amount is 5-10 companies. This is one specific value which we have, in terms of good and direct connections with telecom operators. These are companies with reach out to directly for sales, but there are also many other companies from India who sign up directly with us in India and integrate our API.
MediaNama: How have things changed in India after Boku acquired Qubecell in India? Boku is competition for you…
Kodres: We were working through Qubecell for some operators in India in the beginning, but right now that is not the case. We have direct carrier partnerships there. The Indian market is so big, there is room for everyone. We are confident in our ability to provide high converting service because we can do 1 click billing in most countries. Secondly, we are able to arrange special partnerships with carriers.
MediaNama: We’ve seen Vodafone in India come out with a carrier billing platform in India. Why would a company not partner with them directly?
Kodres: One reason is that if they do an integration with Fortumo, they do one integration. If they go with every telco directly, they would need from 4-10 integrations. Also, we have taken care of all the commercial negotiations, so they don’t need to do this one by one. If they integrate with Fortumo, with exactly the same integration, they also get 80 countries, not just one operator.
MediaNama: How many operators do you have in India?
Kodres: We have four operators in India. (Ed: Idea Cellular, Vodafone, Airtel and Tata Docomo.)
MediaNama: Why not the others?
Kodres: Because the others are yet smaller, and some of them do not have a direct carrier billing platform. This is not acceptable for our western premium content providers.