For the first time, RCom to provide novels via SMS

Reliance Communications (RCom) will launch India's first mobile novel, Deaf Heaven, written by Pinki Virani. The novel will come in a set of 90 SMS messages priced at Rs. 30, through a special SMS subscription pack.

"Subscribers will receive the entire novel over a series of SMSes spaced over a period of 30 days. Every day, the subscriber will get to read the novel through three SMSes," said Krishna Durbha, Head, Reliance Communications.

The book will also be launched as an adult audio mobile book. The audio book, which will be available in English, has 60 minutes of audio content. The digital rights of the literary content will be owned by the author.

Meanwhile, Reliance has signed deal with a U.K. based mobile marketing company 3rd Space Services to launch advertising funded videos on its mobile platform.

3rd Space will supply mobile video content to RCom. The content will include 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire', Bollywood songs and films along with the other content on every data-enabled handset in the Reliance network.

RCom customers will be able to access free content online in return of watching an advertisement embedded within the video. The concentration will be on bringing in Indian and International advertisers.

"Our tie-up with 3rd Space will not only increase the viewership but will also enhance the revenue of both the companies. Our initiative will act as a launch pad for ad-funded videos in India," said Durbha.

Value Added Services (VAS) is a growing segment and comprises up to seven percent of the total telecom revenue of the Indian operators. The revenue sharing arrangement is dominated by the operators, as 70 percent goes to the operator; the aggregator gets 25 percent while the content owner receives the rest.

The handset-based novel is part of RCom's strategy to increase VAS revenues opportunities in metro and Section A and B cities. The target is 20 percent revenue from VAS and data services. Here, F1 Racing will be launched live on R-World, talks with publishers and authors are in progress of increasing VAS based on literary content.

"We want to grow the VAS market beyond Bollywood and are looking to launch poetic works like shayari through audio books," said Durbha.