nexGTv, a subscription-based video-on-demand platform has entered into a carrier billing partnership with telecom operators Dubai Telecom, Dialog, and Ooredoo in UAE, Sri Lanka and Qatar respectively. The release notes that the company also plans to soon enable carrier billing in South East Asia and Europe.

In India, nexGTv has partnerships with Airtel and MTNL to offer Mobile TV to its subscribers. With Airtel, nexGTv charges users Rs. 75/- per month or Rs. 20/- per week or Rs 5/- per day to provide access to Live TV, replay TV and video on demand. As for MTNL, nexGTv seems to offer a wider range of plans including a subscription package for 52 channels, individual channel subscription and video on demand at different prices points ranging from Rs. 5 a day to Rs. 99 per month. We have written to the company on other telecom partnerships in India. Will update the post when we hear from them.

update: The company’s response:

We have carrier billing from all the leading operators be it Airtel , Vodafone , Idea , Aircel , Reliance , BSNL. We are working as offdeck partners with most of them with white-labelled apps for Idea and Aircel.The price points are around Rs 99 – 125 for monthly packs , Rs 35 for weekly packs and Rs 5 for daily packs.

Carrier billing may not be the best payment option

Though carrier billing option could offer content platforms easy access to a subscriber base, it comes with its set of challenges. With telecom operators taking a large percentage (sometimes even 50%) of the gross revenue, the business would become unviable, as by noted Karan Bedi, COO of Eros Now speaking at the #NAMA conference. Essentially this would mean that the carrier and the government would take about 62% of the end user price. However that said, he also added that carrier billing offers the most frictionless payment service at present. Other alternatives including recurring payments on credit cards and debit cards are being explored by players in the space.

Other carrier billing partnerships in India

  • In November 2016, online video streaming application YuppTV partnered with Ireland based SLA Digital to enable direct operator billing for its customers in Bahrain through Zain.
  • 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.