I am very excited about this. In my scale of innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship, this is as good as it gets.
For a while now I've been telling stories about a mobile operator who is basing their business model on advertising, Blyk. Well these guys have announced the launch of their service in the UK.
The reason this is very exciting is because (A)- it puts to test the notion that mobile advertising can energize a mobile operator to have a compelling service and take away a lot of the monthly subscriber fees and (B)- you know Google is watching this very closely. Blyk are a virtual operator, based on Orange UK, targeting a specific age group, 16-24 (does this sound similar to T-Mobile USA's sidekick target crowd, who just announced the deal with MySpace?). They have interesting concepts and learnings they've accumulated during their pre-launch research:
(Blyk's About Page:) "Blyk has built a service around what young people want and need – free communication, ease of use and relevant messages from brands. Blyk has developed its offer by finding out what its members consider most valuable – this will evolve over time as their needs do."
(from the press release:)
“We found that what is 90% familiar and 10% new leads to the best user experience. So, the Blyk communications formats are based on the most dominant and most familiar pattern among 16-24s: Getting a message and responding to it. Both picture and text.”
"Our free offer is 217 texts and 43 minutes every month and this could mean no more phone bills for up to 4.5 million young people in the UK - with no contract. We have the brands that want to speak to them too, with more than 40 already signed up for the launch. This group represents almost every industry sector there is.” "
"For brands, Blyk is an innovative, new media channel, providing direct access to the 16-24 year old market; enabling them to create awareness, build relationships and drive sales to this hard to reach audience. "
This can truly change the way we think of the operator-vendor-subscriber game. it would introduce new forces into the game, with a lot of energy. this is all very exciting.
GOOD LUCK folks!!!