Online video streaming application YuppTV has partnered with Ireland based SLA Digital to enable direct operator billing for its customers in Bahrain through Zain.With carrier billing on YuppTV, subscribers can avail its service either by deducting the amount from their remaining phone balance (for prepaid customers) or the amount will be added to their bill at the end of the month (for postpaid customers). It is worth noting that Yupp TV is also present in UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, among other Middle Eastern countries (apart from Bahrain) and claims to offers content delivers more than 250 television channels in 14 languages, 4500 videos, movies and other content. Interestingly, in the Middle East, Eros Now partnered with telecom operators, Ooredoo in Kuwait and Qatar, and Du in the UAE for mobile billing integration, earlier last month.
YuppTV confirmed to MediaNama that it has no carrier billing partnerships in India, though it’s worth noting that SLA Digital mentions Vodafone Group as a client on its website.
Last month, the YuppTV raised $50 million for expanding its content library through originals and acquisitions, to expand globally and grow its subscriber base.
Carrier billing isn’t always the best way
Karan Bedi, COO of Eros Now during the #NAMA conference noted that carrier large carriers are unfair to merchants. “One of the large carriers we’ve been talking to for one of our other products basically said 50% revenue share. Are you kidding me? But it’s acutually more than that. This is 50% of the gross revenue. So that is about 38%. So the company and the government get to keep more than 62% of your end user price. Which makes any business unviable. But that said, carrier billing offers the most frictionless payment service right now,” he said.
Other carrier billing deals
- In July 2016, Hungama partnered with MTNL to offer entertainment content to its users in Delhi and Mumbai. It is worth noting that Hungama has similar partnerships with BSNL, ACT, Hathway, Videocon and Tata Photon in India.
- In May 2016, telecom operator Idea Cellular announced the launch of carrier billing services for the purchase of apps and content on the Google Play Store
- In December 2015, Sony LIV partnered with Fortumo to offer operator billing on the platform.
Alternative to carrier billing:
With the revenue sharing troubles with mobile carriers, alternatives like card payments are being explored in the market. Recurring payments are now available on credit cards and debit cards. The standing instructions on recurring payments will have to go through a second factor of authentication via an OTP or for the first time. By consenting to subsequents payments through standing instructions to the merchants, customers by pass the OTP for all subsequent payments. If usability is the factor that makes customers choose carrier billing, then card payments without 2 factor authentication could make life much easier especially for monthly subscriptions. It could be a win-win for both users and content platforms.