VIRGIN MOBILE'S NOT SO SWEET DEAL!
Watch ads and get free mobile minutes ...if you've been reading my blog or my articles in trade pubs or consumer magazines online and off you know that I love FREE! BUT in this case it may not be such a sweet deal that Virgin is offering with a new program they are calling SugarMama. Here's a link to what BUSINESS WEEK had to say about the plan: A Sweet Deal for Virgin Mobile?
BUT it's not so simple, here are the hurdles I see from this project gaining users and speeding up adoption of video on mobile for Virgin (a pre-paid MVNO).
1) You have to watch the commercials on your PC (what percentage of pre-paid customers are going to run off to their PC to watch commercials is a big questions)...some of these folks may not even own PCs and may use their pals or the local library -- remember Prepaid users tend to be either cheap or broke according to my personal experience with folks who use pre-paid.
2) You don't just watch the commercials and then get freebie minutes -- you have to answer a quiz after the commerial? Lots of work for only 75 minutes (max) of free airtime.
3) Or you have to text message answers to the quiz. As my bro would say -- who's paying for the text messaging on this gig -- in otherwords, prepaid users like my brother who are on a budget hesitate to even start text messaging because it is an expensive addiction.
HERE's what I had to say when imediaconnection asked me for a comment on this new service: Check out their story at: Virgin Mobile: Watch Ads, Earn Minutes imediaconnection.com:
PARTIAL QUOTE FROM JOYCE SCHWARZ, JCOM about :Sugar Mama's deal for free airtime in return for watching ads looks sweet at first. but my concern is that when users realize they can only earn a max of 75 minutes per month, it may turn sour. Average use on cell phones is about 700 minutes per month -- 'working' to get 75 minutes of that free may just not be sweet enough," says Joyce Schwarz, iMedia contributor. "This is a case where a little bit of marketing may not go a long way. Recently announced competitor Xero is promising to go whole hog in the fall giving away phones for free and dangling the carrot of free service for watching TV-type ads. There's no doubt that advertising offers great revenue opportunity for mobile carriers, but my call is that it's much more valuable when it fully subsidizes services such as watch ads and you get free games or free texting. Even free cartons of Pepsi might be a better incentive."
Adjab.com -- always ROFL: .....Over at Adjab.com they have this great quote from Virgin exec Howard Handler, who describes SugarMama as "someone who shows up and gives you some extra gratification and gets you over the hump."