Mobile content providers have always made me wonder about the economies of mobile computing – they run extremely expensive ads, sell very bad programs and yet don’t die off.

I recently had a cup of tea with somebody from this industry who wants to remain anonymous but nevertheless wanted to talk…here’s what our buddy had to say:

Do you sell subscriptions only?
We advertise subscriptions only. However, individual downloads can also be bought via the web sites.

Does the heavy MTV, etc advertising pay?
Well…first of all you must look at it this way. We buy huge amounts of airtime…so our total cost is much lower than what you see on the rate cards.

On average, well, we pay a few hundred thousand euros a month…and it obviously pays out for us.

What’s your average user?
Dumbphone user – no heavy-duty smartphones in here. Age ranges from 13 to about 19…and the users arent too smart. This actually makes our life easier, as piracy becomes a non-issue.

One more facet you will likely be interested in is that we have over 90 percent female users for some love or partnership related fun apps…

How long, on average, does a customer stay bound?
I don’t want to say more here as this would give my identity away…but it’s about four and a half months for all of the industry.

What happens if users are on prepaid and run out of cash?
We try to bill his card for about two months…and then give up eventually… . Our company is not too big on lawsuits…they don’t pay out for us…

Do you do native S60 or PPC apps?
Hell gee, mate. Covering all S60 boxen gets you 20 percent of the market at best. J2ME is king here…and also keep in mind that most of the sales come from music or photos.

How can an ISV do business with you?
Not at all – find an aggregator.

You have to think of it this way: we sell hundred thousand and more positions. For us, 60 items is nothing…we usually wont even negotiate with you.

Why not offer individual apps as subscriptions?
Please don’t say that I sound haughty if I say that all business models possible have been tested. The current model works best – believe me on this one.

Did the German Jamba lawsuit affect your ability to do business with minors?
I have to say that this is largely irrelevant to us, as it was limited to a single county of Germany. We sit in a different county…so no impact here.

After that, my informer was picked up by a mate…so the story ends here. Nevertheless, much of this was new to me, and hopefully was interesting!

What do you think?

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  3. Creating/Selling Palm/mobile shareware…what do I need to do
  4. VentureBeat on App Monetization effects
  5. IDC: HTML5 “planned” by almost 80% of developers

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