Will Hispanics Love an Ad-Supported Mobile Phone Service? (UPDATED)
What: Mobile platform Unlockd has partnered exclusively with Boost Mobile, one of Sprint's prepaid brands, to launch the first of its kind Android app Boost® Dealz that will help customers reduce monthly phone payments in exchange for viewing ads. (Interview with Sprint's Oscar Meza and TruMC's Alice Ovadia-Updated).
Why it matters: If succesful, an ad supported mobile phone service could be trendsetting and relevant for advertisers who want to avoid ad-blocking and target Hispanics and Millennials.
Mobile platform Unlockd has partnered exclusively with Boost Mobile, one of Sprint's prepaid brands, to launch Boost® Dealz - an Android app available for the U.S. market that's the first of its kind that helps customers reduce monthly phone payments in exchange for viewing exclusive content and offers when unlocking their smartphones.
Once they unlock their phones, customers are shown a full-screen ad which will show up every two or three unlocks. Geo-targeted ads, offers, discounts or content from brands such as Starbucks, Levi's and Lyft, are shown at various times as consumers unlock their Android smartphones. Users can interact for further information or dismiss ads with a simple click on the X. The app will download on average about 120 MB of data per month, which is the equivalent of streaming music for about three hours.
Boost Dealz is available to Boost's current and new customers. The app connects users with relevant brands and offers, and users receive a US$5 credit each month. Although the new app plan currently limits the amount of ads that people can see, the carrier could decide to increase or decrease that cap based on customers' feedback, CNN Money reports.
The Hispanic segment is a big target audience for it. Also, we are looking for a future product release to provide a full product in Spanish for both the app itself (Customer Experience) and the ads.
This is a major breakthrough as the model provides not only benefit back to consumers, but is breaking new ground for global telcos through the creation of new revenue streams from high-profile publishers and advertisers."
New Revenue Streams
Portada: Is a substantial target audience for this new offering Hispanic?
O.M: "We have launched this product on Boost Mobile and a substantial portion of Boost's base is Hispanic. The Hispanic segment is a big target audience for it. Also, we are looking for a future product release to provide a full product in Spanish for both the app itself (Customer Experience) and the ads. More to come on this. No dates have been determined yet."
Portada: What unit of Sprint sells advertising into this new service?
O.M: "Sprint is not selling advertising into this. Our Partner, UnLockd, has partnerships with big ad networks to sell advertising space through this property."
Portada: What are the expectations regarding this new product in terms of subscriber count?
O.M: "This is the first time any top tier operator is trying an ad supported business model so we are expecting to learn more about consumer behavior and how much it appeals to them. It could be a smash hit and numbers can go through the roof but we are not yet ready to put a count to it. We will learn and apply those learnings to evolve the product and continue to provide best value to the customers."
Portada: How is the new offering going to be marketed/What media is going to be bought?
O.M: "There is no media budget dedicated to this initiative for now, however we have a full marketing plan to promote this product."
Portada: is there a tie in between Boost Deportes en Vivo and this new "ad driven" product?
O.M: "Our existing boost TV Live Sports bolt-on (“Deportes en Vivo” in Spanish) and there is currently no tie between these two products. However we are contemplating promoting boostTV and other products via Boost Dealz either directly ourselves or by engaging our vendors/partners. International Connect for example is another product that is currently targeting our Hispanic segment and that could benefit from promotion via Boost Dealz. More to come on this as well."
More Options for Consumers
Alice Ovadia, VP Brand Media and Insights at Dallas based TruMC, whose clients include MetroPCs, notes that "giving consumers the option to receive ads on their home screen in exchange for a $5 off discount is a good way to incentivize users to view ads while giving Boost an opportunity to monetize their wireless networks and profit from mobile advertising dollars that are going to other companies such as Facebook, Twitter or publishers direct. It will be interesting to see how much traction their “Boost Dealz” app has with consumers and brands.”
Carriers need to stay on their toes and continuously find new revenue streams and ways to innovate.
Ovadia adds that an in an ever-competitive environment, wireless carriers need to stay on their toes and continuously find new revenue streams and ways to innovate. Leveraging their rich customer data base and network seems like a great way to do just that."