Toll based Syndicate Internet has arrived in Canada

For $5 per month I subscribe to a TV service on my Blackberry Pearl. For another $3 per month I can get unlimited access to Rogers Newsclip which delivers syndicated content and related media to my Blackberry Pearl without using a mobile web browser. For $10 per month I can install TeleNav GPS Navigator which promises to provide voice guided turn-by-turn driving directions.

If I go the Rogers Vision route, embedded in the plan is Video On Demand for access to the top commercials (cough cough) sorry videos on YouTube, plus news updates, (sponsored) music videos, (sponsored) movie clips and more. Further you can access Rogers music store and purchase and download unlimited music without paying the download cost. And if I'm running late, I can watch my new TV shows with my 25 stations of live TV on the go.

In another year I'll probably be able to lease an application for $15 a month that allows me to connect to all of my favorite social networks, integrates my instant messenger platforms under one app, and interoperates with my device content and functionality.

Until Canada gets some more competition in the wireless space the Toll Based - Syndicate content internet is here to stay. And it’s going to be ushered in VIA mobile carriers who are trying to monetize every aspect of their digital delivery systems.

Why would I want to purchase video from the Rogers Music store when I could download from iTunes or xBox Live? Why would I want a limited assortment of YouTube clips when I could just subscribe to Joost? Why would I want “syndicated content” over being able to browse thousands of sites and pick which blog or article to digest? Why should I pay for TeleNav GPS Navigator when I have a GPS built into my phone, and can integrate that into Google maps for free (expense of data)? If I have digital cable at home, why should I pay extra to have TV service on my blackberry on the go when I could pipe it over broadband?

All the above alternate technologies are feasible given one thing: unlimited network bandwidth (or the wireless equivalent of broadband: HSDPA).

The carriers don’t want to give you unlimited bandwidth because they already subsidize your phone, the network is anything but cheap, and to be quite honest, because there is no competition forcing them to provide these plans. So they will continue to charge end users fee’s to access syndicated content.

The people providing the phones don’t want to give this to you because it nominalizes the value of their service offerings, limits their growth to hardware innovation, and will result in more support services being required (say, to help install a mobile video player on their phone). So they continue to work with the carriers on digital delivery channels.

These digital roads are just being paved in Toronto. They require collaboration between the carrier (Rogers), the hardware supplier (RIM, Nokia), the software vendor (creator of mobile application), and the content owner. Once all of these people can agree on the details – you have a service offering you can sell to consumers.

As mobile continues to grow, services will become the differentiator that closes the deal when an end user purchases a phone and then a plan. It is just a matter of time before we see phones (or even wireless data plans for laptops) sold around recreation or lifestyle based service offerings. For example you can get a Blackberry Pearl for Financial Analysts – where tons of financial information is delivered to the advice. A Blackberry Pearl for Media Lovers Plan which comes with a bigger memory stick – and an unlimited pipe to a bunch of media sources – and possibly online storage. People will decide to purchase an iPhone with a Media Lovers Service Plan because the screen is bigger, but others would rather the Sidekick.

As these roads, or Service Plans, become more popular - they get more crammed – they have to build bigger roads – then they have to build entirely new highways. In urban planning when the costs of the transportation system outweigh the budgeted value of its inputs, roads are turned into Toll roads. Consumers are charged to drive on these roads as a consequence of getting to where they are going. They have no option.

For any content owner, content delivery is a priority. If these mobile carriers continue to pipe service offerings through their digital channels (specialty roads), then content owners will eventually be forced to pay service providers to allow their content to travel down the carriers roads. These fees are like Tolls on Toll roads, just the only difference at this point is the only content you can gain access to without paying an arm and a leg is syndicate content.

Kind of like living in a city that has highways’ connecting a bunch of disconnected roads. The only way you’ll ever get anywhere is to pay the highway toll.

Over and Out

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