MEX have a very interesting article about Blyk, a new MVNO in the European cellphone market who are aiming to gather up the 16 to 24 market with the promise of free calls and texts. Due to launch in the UK mid-2007, the deal is that in exchange for all this freeness you are
bombarded presented with a variety of demographic-targeted marketing messages; in other words, it's ad-supported. Blyk are envisaging the income from advertisers being far greater and steadier than the traditionally low ARPU (average revenue per user) user group.
On their blog, Blyk issues a challenge:
"But are you ready, marketeer?
You will get feedback. What’s good and what’s not. You will be told how to develop your offering, products and services. And the feedback comes directly from your customers, real-time. Not from traditional market research.
Are you ready to co-develop your products? Can you change your campaign within two hours, if it doesn’t work? How will you have this dialogue with Blyk users? How will you respond to the feedback?"
It's an interesting concept, and one which feels very foreign to the typical model of cellphone revenue generation. From what I can remember, past attempts in multiple fields to use advertising as a cost-offset have varied in result from shaky to outright failure; are there any advertisers who can change their campaign within two hours?