Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I Was Just Talking About This

I don't want to toot my own horn, but TOOT TOOT. I was just mentioning how Virgin could dominate the music download space, gain mobile customers and capture the valuable 18-34 yr old market at the same time.

Make the Virgin MegaStore mobile with a Virgin Mobile phone service.

I state my reasoning here.

It would be huge if they implement.

Could this be the "killer app" that drives 3G in the States?
Would every service provider want to offer this ability?
Sprint, Verizon wanting an application that generates data revenue. The ability to download music anywhere, anytime with your cellphone?

From Silicon.com Virgin Megastores to shake-up music download market.

Virgin Retail, known for its Megastores brand in the UK, is to launch a digital music download service above and beyond current Virgin offerings.

Tony Johnson, CIO of Virgin Retail, told silicon.com the company is currently working on "a very compelling offer" which consumers will be presented with in "weeks rather than months" – though he was tight-lipped on many of the details.

Adam Thomas, media research manager at analyst firm Informa, told silicon.com: "Virgin is very well placed to offer a download service, as its music assets offer great opportunities for cross-promotion."

Johnson told silicon.com the company will be focusing more on a subscription-based model, offering customers the opportunity to listen to as much music as they like for a monthly fee – a move which Informa's Thomas believes makes the most sense.

However, Johnson would only offer a 'wait-and-see' response to questions on whether the service will be offered in association with other Virgin businesses, most notably Virgin Mobile, which further down the line would enable it to compete in the market for downloads over handsets.

Certainly closer co-operation with Virgin Mobile would make sense and could prove very lucrative, according to Informa's Thomas.

"In the mobile sector, Virgin targets a younger demographic than many of its competitors, which could also give it an edge in terms of reaching its target audience."

Vodafone today demonstrated the extent of demand for music downloads on mobile with the announcement that it has hit the million-download mark for users of its 3G services since November 2004.

Virgin mobile doesn't currently offer 3G services, though its network, provided by T-Mobile, does provide it with the capability to roll out such services in the future.

And Thomas believes it is important Virgin embraces one service across its brands if it is to increase its chances of success.

For example, while the current 7Digital service for V2 does offer micro-payments via SMS, Virgin Mobile users are actually blocked from using that option, along with those on 3, while Orange, O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone customers are free to pay by reverse-billed text.

Informa's Thomas said: "Virgin has suffered in the past because its various companies have had a reputation for wanting to work independently of each other. But if they've now found a way to co-operate, then the service will have a much better chance of success."

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