Emerging OTT major Line Corporation, a free call and messaging app, is becoming a threat to telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications, etc.
Statistics – Line’s achievements – is a proof.
Its 10 million users assisted Line to achieve a phenomenal 3,200 percent growth in voice calls, 1,800 percent increase in usage – driven by stickers. Messages have touched 700 percent increase since June 2013.
We are unable to guide our readers on the exact impact on Indian telecoms since Line does not share its revenue figure.
Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif is its brand ambassador in India. Signing up of Katrina Kaif is a major breakthrough for the free call and messaging app provider. Only major corporate could hire Katrina as part of their marketing strategy.
Threat from OTT players to Indian telecoms does not end here. Line, which has major expansion plans in India, will bring high-quality communication to Indian users. Recently, it rolled out free video calls and video sharing capabilities.
Recently, telecom market research agency Ovum urged telecoms to define their strategy regarding OTT players.
“Over the next five years, service and tariff innovation will be key revenue-generating strategies, while LTE rollout, network optimization, and creative approaches to partnerships will become focal points for cost savings. Telecoms need to monetize new business models, leverage customer data by investing in analytics, and define their response to over-the-top (OTT) players,” said Shagun Bali, analyst for Telecoms Technology at Ovum.
Line is now more ambitious. It is aiming to become the No. 1 smartphone communication app in India, and is shoring up its plans for further marketing development.
Line will be releasing free India-exclusive stickers featuring photographs of Katrina Kaif. Line hopes that Katrina will assist the messaging company to achieve 20 million users in India.
“Since launching Line in July of 2013, the number of users in India has skyrocketed to an astounding 10 million, far exceeding our expectations. We haven’t experienced such rapid growth in any other countries to date” said Akira Morikawa, CEO of Line.
Talking about the association with Katrina Kaif, Morikawa said, ‘With the help of our marketing partnership with Katrina Kaif, along with other partnerships with entities in India, we are confident that we can easily surpass 20 million users by the end of the year.’
Sony India, who will pre-install Line on their flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z1 and Xperia C, as well as launch a cooperative marketing campaign.
Sony Music Entertainment is opening official accounts with Line which will cater to fans of major genres of music including Bollywood, Indipop, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi and International music.
In order to connect with a large audience and provide localized content Line is also partnering with major Bollywood films, such as Krrish3 and Dhoom:3, giving exclusive content to customers.