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Perceived value

I was going to write about the premise of identity in terms of creative industries and entrepreneurial ventures in which the many multiplicities of day to day interaction require an individual to wear a minimum of a dozen hats or titles per day.

All that fell by the way side after reading the article in the Herald today  titled Phone movies a big turn off.

So let’s instead talk about the misguided identity crisises that the telco’s appear quite visibly to be having.

With the initialization of 3G both companies made a concise effort to transition from being a telecommunication provider to being a content distributor.  Now that is a quantum leap of sorts.  It would be like Briscoes feeling obliged to become a motel in order to utilize all it’s bedding department products.  There is just something highly illogical about the equation.  Frankly it shows.  The 3G providers are still caught up in the gimmick of 3G rather than providing a functional and entertaining environment.

Then there is the argument about content.

It is all about perceived value.

You can rank the quality of content based on what you as a consumer would pay for it.  This completely debunks the telco’s approach that people ‘don’t want to pay for content’.  Let me tell you this – as a consumer I am more than happy to pay for my content whether it be a magazine, a dvd, or cd, I therefore also have no issue in paying to watch content on my mobile phone.  It all strangely enough however comes down to the quality of the content.

Say you see a trailer for a new movie.  You then assess whether:

a) You’ll block out an evening and go and see it at the movies.
b) Wait for it to come to new release on DVD at the local rental store.
c) Wait for it to go to weekly on DVD at the local rental store.
d) Wait for it to come on SKY.
e) Wait for it to come on free to air television and have an excessive quantity of advertisements stuffed into it.

There you go – you’ve just ranked the implied value of the content.  Now this is a very personal experience for each and everyone of us all.

At the bottom on the ladder we have the free for all.  This is where the populace of YouTube reins supreme – you have clips watched hundreds of thousands of times with no real merit of any form.  I guarantee you however that if you were to charge for that same content – you wouldn’t get any takers on the majority of it – it would filter out the junk.  It’s like if someone offered you free chocolates for a lifetime – you wouldn’t be fickle about the specifics of brand.  However if you were told you could only afford one chocolate a day or a week you would be a bit more decisive and selective about the quality of the actual product itself.

The solution for the telco’s is simple.  Stop trying to be a locked down portal.  Promote your data plans (including killing off those excessive casual rates) and open up the mobile internet and let the consumer decide.  You are a service provider.  You are an ISP – accept it and move on.