Operators can make serious money off digital content

Content paid for via carrier billing will provide operators with more than $14 billion (£9.41 billion) in revenues over the next five years, new research from Juniper Research has found.

This growth can be attributed to the dramatic rise in carrier billed payments made on devices like tablets, consoles and smartTVs, the ‘Digital Content Business Models: OTT & Operator Strategies 2015-2019' research says.

According to the research, existing deployments of carrier billing on app storefronts have produced a marked increase in paid conversion rates (more than 30 times those of credit cards in some instances).

They have also enabled first-time monetisation of unbanked consumers and younger demographics.

Furthermore, the greater sophistication of third-party carrier billing solutions now permit subscription billing, allowing for ongoing content monetisation.

In addition, many storefronts had found that carrier billing integration resulted in an uplift in average transaction values as well as volumes, partly due to higher sales of bundled in-app virtual items.

The research also found that OTT (Over The Top) content providers such as Amazon, Netflix and Hulu were now adding value to their subscriptions through the addition of original content such as Transparent, Bosch and Ripper Street.

The next step would be the acquisition of major sporting rights, the research claims, adding that the high cost could scare them away.

"Even for free streamed sporting events, audiences are rarely in excess of a million – to recoup the cost of a successful bid, OTTs would need a paying audience of perhaps 10 million in some cases. But by 2021, when the NFL (National Football League) rights are due for renewal, we would be surprised if one or more OTTs did not bid for an exclusive live package,” says research author Dr Windsor Holden.