Mumbai: Nothing sells better than sex and religion. In keeping with that maxim, mobile content providers are now looking at bolder revenue opportunities, beyond ringtones, contests and games, to grab the country’s 100 million cellphone users.
So, by the beginning of 2007, Indians may lose their shyness in the bedroom-and the under-exercised couple may turn closet gymnasts. Their teacher will be the ubiquitous cellphone. It will offer a peek into 25 sexual positions from the Kamasutra for a pittance-Rs 2 per position. That’s after paying Rs 99 to download the Kamasutra package on the phone.
The positions, content provider Mobile2win assures, have been aesthetically designed. “This is not pornography. The Kamasutra is an age-old way of life. If it can be accessed in the form of a book, why not on the cell,” says Rajeev Hiranandani, CEO of Mobile2win. Another content provider, Nazara Technologies, chooses to bet on religion instead. Its software application helps keep track of the number of times one chants a mantra.
If one is interrupted in the middle of a session, it will help you start from where you left. Some 18 mantras, at Rs 30 each, are offered in this series. One lakh people downloaded it in the last six months.
The company also offers ‘planet’ mantras that correspond with the planet of one’s birth, based on Hindu astrology. It costs Rs 30 per mantra and within a week of its launch, there were 900 downloads, says Nitish Mittersain, CEO of Nazara Technologies.
As for sex-related products, Mittersain says the market is huge, but they would like to see how other companies fare, before they explore this avenue. Mobile2win too has a few spiritual products. Earlier this year, it tied up with Shri Shri Ravishankar’s Art of Living to offer wallpapers and bhajans as ring tones. A specially-created WAP site provides video clips of Shri Shri Ravishankar’s discourses. So far 1,40,000 people have downloaded these at an average cost of Rs 7-8 per product.
Mauj Telecom, lets you SMS a prayer request to Siddhivinayak temple. Within a week of its launch, some 10,000 SMSes were sent daily as prayers, which were printed and kept near the idol of Lord Ganesha. Now it averages some 70,000 SMSes per week, each SMS costing between 80 paisa and Rs 3. There are plans to export these services to countries with a significant population of Indian origin.
It has also started a service for Muslim worshippers, called qibla. This enables a cellphone to display in which direction Mecca, Islam’s holiest site, lies as well as send an alert for the five daily calls to prayer. It is available for a one-time download fee of Rs 50. According to Arun Gupta, CEO of Mauj Telecom, they have started exporting the product to some 20 countries.
Vishal Gondal, CEO of Indiagames, feels that there is a market for adult content but everything depends on the way it is developed and marketed. Currently, the company is keeping off adult content and is focussing on marketing Ganesh Stuti, Jai Hanuman and Shri Ganesh prayers for Rs 50 per download.
The market is valued at Rs 450 crore and is expected to rise to Rs 640 crore by April next year. That’s because the current mobile user base stands at 100 million, which is expected to shoot up to 240 million by December next year