Most critical challenge for telecom Cos is managing their cash flows

November 12, 2014

Most critical challenge for telecom Cos is managing their cash flows

Subhash R Ghosh, Founder, Lemon Group is a telecom and digital media professional, who followed his passion to turn entrepreneur after a long stint at senior levels in the corporate world. He has close to 20 years of experience across strategy, product management, and sales & marketing functions in enterprise telecom, wireless mobile and digital media.

In May 2011, Ghosh turned full time entrepreneur and set up Lemontree Consulting, a boutique consulting firm focusing on extending advisory services to technology [TMT] sector, offering technology transfer, knowledge transfer and as well as providing advisory services to the innovation process. Today, Lemon Group has a network covering 36 countries, helping organisations with its advisory services in the technology and digital media space as well as partnering with leading audit companies with its own products and services.

In conversation with excange4media, Ghosh speaks at length about digital convergence in India, Lemontree’s Content and IP Audit services, importance of good content for mobile marketing, and more…

What is the future of digital convergence in India?
The writing is on the wall. Given that we have one of the highest teledensities, which, coupled with one of the lowest tariff structures in the world across voice and data as well as rapid increase in smart phone sales, we can only expect digital convergence to be the default order within the next three to four years.

It is already happening across the big metros, cities, and smaller towns, now rural India is soon catching up to it. I would rather say that we are at the threshold of convergence and waiting to take off with a bang. The content consumption pattern is also moving away from the traditional model to consumption over connected devices. All we need in the country now is quality bandwidth, which, I am afraid, not many service providers are offering.

What are the areas that you focus on while conducting the Content & IP Audit services?
The Content and IP Audit services that we have developed in-house primarily help large content catalogue owners to exploit and monetise the long tail value of their old catalogue over digital media and, therefore, help to create a long term sustainable monetization plan. We focus on motion picture studios and broadcast agencies owning sizeable amount of content.

How did this come about?
One of the biggest challenges for the large content/ catalogue owners is ensuring proper maintenance of old catalogue and at the same time looking for opportunities to monetise the same. The hurdles such content companies typically would face, at all times and in most countries is localising and adopting his old catalogue and make him relevant to today’s consumption pattern. Today, most of them earn their revenues through syndication and partly over digital exploitation.

The second challenge which is prevailing in most parts across the globe is finding out who owns the IP of such content. IP is one grey area where most like to remain silent till such time the content starts making money. Once the revenue starts flowing in, most raise their claim and try to get their share of the booty. CIPA helps content companies address this matter and resolve this.

The third aspect of CIPA is helping those content companies conceptualize, create and distribute products for digital media, where in we commit ourselves with the whole nine yards – in terms of crafting, creating a product with the right mix of tech ecosystem, Business Plans, Distribution and Marketing And Product Life Cycle Management – across geographies.

What is the scope of such services in a market like India and what is the growth trajectory?
We must not forget that India is one of the largest content producers in the world and has its own legacy – which comes in form of talent, performers, varied culture and old content catalogues. All of these definitely add tremendous scope for deployment of CIPA.

How are you expanding your business across the globe?
Given that we have a base in London which is already catering to the UK and European markets for our other products; we are revisiting our existing relationships as well as acquiring new clients in those geographies. We also have existing engagements with one of the leading audit companies of the world, who have partnered with us to distribute CIPA to their esteemed TMT Clients in their region.

What are the challenges faced by telecom companies in their mobile or digital marketing strategies?
I think, today the most critical challenge in hand for the telecom companies is to manage their cash flows – with tariffs at an all time low even as ARPU has not crossed double digits. On the other hand, the companies are bleeding on operational expenses.

How important is good content for mobile marketing?
It’s extremely important and critical to have good content because in spite of highly funded marketing campaigns/hype, you will always find poor content failing on its face and the results are there for us to see.

India for the past 10-12 years have been going through this cycle of poor content, pumped up by high decibel mobile marketing and promotions which even though resulted in higher market share by the respective content producers/ aggregators but the quality of customers and the ARPU haven’t been a long term sustainable one.

Fortunately, things have been changing for the past 18 months now that the regulators have woken up and have laid down stringent rules.

What clients do you currently have and what kind of businesses are you developing for them?
We basically have three lines of consulting practices.

In the first one – we help companies on the Technology Transfer, Knowledge Transfer and Market Entry space across the 36 countries where we have presence. In this space we are working with the big corporate, Technology & Big Data companies as well as start ups.

In this space in India we are working across sections – in terms of a large corporate and in UK we are working with some of the biggest technology and media firms.

In the second one – we conduct “Content & IP Audit” for large content houses –where the acquisition happens through our direct team and/or through our partner audit firms.

In the third – we help technology companies build products and services and help them on product life cycle management where we have already demonstrated success with two major VOD Apps.

Where does India stand in terms of innovation in the digital medium?
The advantages that India has are in the form of talent, adopting technology way faster than rest of the so-called matured markets and the ability to deliver.

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