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Updated: January 10, 2014 00:33 IST

Micromax woos users with cash offers to watch ads

  • Anuj Srivas
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Rahul Sharma.
The Hindu
Rahul Sharma.

The ad engine is aimed at users of sub-Rs.10,000 mobile phones

Smartphone and tablet maker Micromax is planning to roll out an internal advertising system that will allow users of the company’s phones to view advertisements in exchange for money that can be used as a mobile phone recharge coupon (top-up voucher), in a move that is set to drive up revenues for the whole telecom ecosystem.

The advertisement network, which has signed up companies such as Coca Cola and Toshiba, will be rolled out after the next ten days, according to company co-founder Rahul Sharma.

“It’s quite simple. We will pay you money to watch ads. Before customers make a call, for example, they will be given an option to view a 30 or 60 second advertisement. Once they watch, they will be given points which can be cashed in and used to top up and so on,” said Mr. Sharma, in an interview to The Hindu on Wednesday.

He and his team were here at the International Consumer Electronics Show to showcase LapTab, the company’s first dual-boot tablet.

“Let’s be clear about what this does. It’s not for business people, who are on the move and don’t have time to watch advertisements. This is aimed at the youth, who could use the cash and don’t mind watching advertisements,” he added. The company is now calling the advertising engine ‘MAd’ or ‘Micromax Ad’, and is being aimed at users of sub-Rs.10,000 mobile phones.

According to Mr. Sharma, this move could solve the whole ‘ARPU (average revenue per user) problem’, and would eventually help the profitability of the whole mobile ecosystem. When asked how telecom operators had responded to Micromax’s impending move, Mr. Sharma refused to comment on specific operators.

“We designed the whole advertising operation in-house, but some of it was outsourced in order to execute. We are encouraged by looking at low-ticket data deals such as Aircel’s Pocket Internet offer,” he said.

The company also expects to sell around 100,000 units of its LapTab over the next two quarters and has something “big and surprising smartphone-wise” planned for the second half of this year.

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