I met up with my good friends Plus Eight Star (they usually abbreviate it as +8* ) from China at the Mobile Monday Beijing event where I presented this Monday. We had our usual fascinating discussions ( +8* are a very competent resource for any Western company to get to understand the complex and often hidden facts relating to IT and telecoms in China as well as South Korea, Japan etc, and their people are very nice)
I was reading one of their recent reports on QQ the biggest instant messaging provider in the world, and one of China's greatest internet success stories. And in the report there was a nice story about an internet musician in China, Yang Chengang who is a music teacher in Hubei Province and who released a song, Mice Love Rice. The song was released on the internet in China and became very popular in late 2004 and generated 100 million free downloads.
Now, how do we monetize the fixed internet? Those who have read our book Communities Dominate Brands know for example from the Habbo Hotel case study, that the easiest way to monetize content on the fixed internet is through mobile phones. Here at this blog we give countless examples from Cyworld in South Korea to Flirtomatic in the UK to MyNuMo in the USA. But Mice Love Rice offers yet another cool variant on this.
Here is how they did it. After it became a hit on the web through free downloads, Mice Love Rice was released as a ringback tone (waiting tone) for mobile phone networks. NOW we get into some serious money. In a country where content piracy rules and extremely low cost music CDs and movie DVDs are available everywhere, the mobile networks can generate real revenues. How much? The record label earned 170 million RMB (about 21.5 M USD) out of ringback tones for the song ! Or to put it in another way, the equivalent earnings of bonus 20 cents for every free download !! This is the way of the future !
This story and very much more including all kinds of statistics and facts about the Chinese market and their largest internet success story, are in the new report on QQ by Plus Eight Star ( +8* ). You can get a free sampler to the report if you write to info at insideqq dot com or go to their website at www.plus8star.com for more.