Blog

18 Mar 14
There is change in the air, imperceptible to some (mostly waves of spectrum) yet it’s all encompassing. In short, a cool, welcome breeze that's known to us collectively as “streaming music”. The marketing surveys show it, the music artists know it –and consumers are already basking in it.

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Seizing the moment then, InternetQ proudly announced the launch of its co-branded "WIND Akazoo" unlimited music streaming service (featuring as many as 20 million songs) for their entire customer base, which equates to roughly 3.5 million people.

The flexibility of the model was key, and in this case, Akazoo offered a "stand alone" tariff, meaning users could get one month free streaming and then enjoy a competitively priced subscriptions thereafter. Given today's multiscreen world, they could also ubiquitously stream music across several channels (mobile, tablet & PC) as well as utilize ‘offline’ listening through mobile.

To make this easy, users download the application (which is customized for WIND customers) through Google Play and Apple Store. Most invitingly, all users got to enjoy unlimited data streaming with Akazoo (basically zero-rated charges on data) until June. Operators realise that data suppression is a hot topic in today’s OTT environment and they are aggressively using this tactic to encourage adoption of premium value added services, something emphasized by a certain Mark Zuckerberg in Barcelona!

On that note, to date, WIND itself has invested more than €2 billion in its infrastructure and new technology. This strategy has established the company as the only Telecommunications provider in Greece, offering Mobile, Fixed Telephony and Internet services.

Given the above, it is a sure sign that the 'Wind of Change' is upon us and yes, that now comes without any sting in the tail for subscribers thanks to Freemium and data suppression business models.

Why? Because offering unlimited music across multiple devices for consumers is a model that trumps all others. By way of an example, you could enjoy listening the Scorpions – without physically having to own, download, rip, convert, store and back-up your copy of ‘Crazy World’; access is key, whereas digital ownership is actually considered a burden in this day and age.

For the record, Forbes magazine highlighted that music streaming was up 32 percent in 2013, while digital download sales were down about 6 percent. "People prefer convenience when it comes to technology, and streaming is so much more convenient than any other type of music consumption method that there’s no contest. You’re going to see streaming explode for real in 2014."

Boom! We agree, so keep checking this blog and listen out for Akazoo’s explosive growth this year.

6 Mar 14
In the golden afterglow of the Mobile World Congress, it's worthwhile speculating as to why the Mobile Industry in its various forms was just so bullish in Spain. Perhaps, the biggest gold rush was toward Hall 8.1 – and its expanding world of App discovery and innovation. 

Spaces were bigger, stands grander and above all else, InternetQ's own twin peaks featuring Minimob and Akazoo stood head-and-shoulders above the rest of the exhibitors, with attendees often stopping in their tracks to take in the chic messaging as they casually wandered-by.

Not only that, the local TV station gave InternetQ a ringing endorsement by shooting its “piece to camera” news segment opening right in front of the Minimob "This Is Money" headline, asking (in Spanish) whether the App economy itself was capable of generating the kind of cash that exhibitor confidence seemed to be suggesting it could?

For its part, and by any measure, the InternetQ team was a hive of activity with visitors from around the world dropping-in to close deals – or enquire about the best way they might take advantage of the smartphone future that is rapidly enveloping the world about us. A lengthening list of clients and potential clients spanning the six continents meant that the comfy seating area was often jam-packed. As such, InternetQ’s company experts were in high demand when it came to outlining the opportunities for mobile publishers and advertising networks via Minimob; as well as illustrating the glittering potential for social music implementations globally through its Akazoo platform.

Major speeches came and went and the crowds likewise ebbed and flowed, as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg referenced the compelling nature of OTT services to extend and expand the Operator relationships with its subscribers. He did a fine job of showing how MNOs could work with Facebook to generate revenue. Likewise, Akazoo is fully intertwined with Facebook and stands to gain from this tacit acceptance of its networking power to benefit and not bind operators.

In truth, the main theme of the show pinpointed that OTT services and low-cost, high spec hardware are radically altering the shape of our business. Those providers that offered a hand of friendship and a road map for success to mobile network operators would be in prime position to inherit the future: The creation of wealth in Mobile is best done through collaboration and not by limitation.

Indeed, the pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow can almost be touched, with numbers suggesting that USD$77 billion will be generated specifically by the App economy alone. Reaching-up to grasp this innovative future –and thereby creating ‘what’s next’– is what InternetQ is all about; as such, its rapid ascent will continue unabated.

17 Feb 14
In one's weeks’ time, the ever-increasing scale of the Mobile World Congress, held annually in the Mobile World Capital (otherwise known as Barcelona, Spain) is going to hit its highest ever point in history. But, is this journey to a Spanish El Dorado paved with Gold?

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Well, the various tech and telecommunication treasure maps show us there will be a glittering array of announcements by the corporate 'conquistadors' – that should in turn, send the trade and mainstream media into raptures of excitement; mostly revolving around the GSMA’s thematic driver: Creating what’s next? So, given all that, what do we actually think is next? Well, it depends where you explore:

For veterans of this annual mission, and a myriad of bloggers too, we appear to have an exciting, heavily-laden chest of shiny handset launches and OS announcements leading the way; with Samsung possibly launching their Galaxy 5 –or their Note 3 'Neo’– or both! A resurgent LG is likely to offer up a “G Pro 2” to the media and blogging Gods. Maybe even HTC will somehow be reborn with its 'Desire' strand of smartphone – plus, in an almost ironic change of direction, the Microsoft and Nokia team may produce a ‘cheap’ Android phone to potentially dazzle the crowds.

For our part, we have been closely following the alternate providers of smartphones, especially in emerging markets, such as those in the New World where the legendary El Dorado emerged. With nicely branded and low-cost smartphone variants burgeoning, this year's adventurous trek should drive InternetQ's business closer to the source of society's modern-day riches than ever before.

The sheer number of pan-handling exhibitors (1,700 at last count) means there will be plenty to see and do, but more importantly, no better opportunity to proposition clients from all parts of the ecosystem. It won't be a quiet show, there are upwards of 72,000 visitors expected to descend on the city of Mobile gold and that in itself should generate sizeable revenue outcomes.

So, what is InternetQ doing to raise its head above the parapet in the ritual that MWC represents?

Well, its products are incredibly prescient and offer future-proof capability that can assuage any tricky MNOs challenges such as OTT services. They can also help to mine mobile business in effective ways for developers through Minimob (which developers will find out about at the enlarged WIPJam event this year) – providing the type of services that can link and leverage the massive movement towards the App economy.

The stats on this market are absolutely staggering (with $77 billion in revenue predicted by 2017), just like the numbers will be in Barcelona. Fortunately, perhaps unlike El Dorado – at least we can turn them all into solid Gold! Ask us how at our stand (Fira Gran Via 8.1 i40) or at the upgraded WIPJam event at the old location (Fira Montjuic Hall M5 #5). See you there!

24 Jan 14
The homely and picturesque seaside town of Cannes has long held the glamorous lure of a film festival of some note, and yet probably some of the biggest digital multimedia shindigs in the realm of TV, Sports and especially Music - are just as likely to draw a globetrotting crowd of A-list hipsters, producers and artists (closely followed by lawyers and accountants) who are looking to "monetize" their human creativity and artistic endeavour.

MIDEM is a scion for the industry and – for as long as executives can remember – albeit their memories can get hazy, this conference event has provided the backdrop to a week of non-stop meetings, partying, playing (and listening) to every flavour of music. Then perhaps inevitably, waking-up wondering where you actually are?

Somewhat at odds with this prevailing A&R sentiment, those vendors and platform providers like InternetQ who conscientiously fuel the ever-growing digital dissemination of the best music the world has to offer, endeavour to press-the-flesh and meet-the-people that matter; whilst also clocking the artists that are either breaking through, breaking-up or trying to change your world!

As such, our crew from InternetQ is all set to pay regular homage to the great and the good in Cannes, with the team looking forward to meeting with all the leading digital catalogue providers that collectively service the 20 million strong playlist of songs that feature on Akazoo.

Meetings with the usual and not so usual digital denizens always refresh the senses and likewise update the musical selection consumers can enjoy through unlimited streaming.

It is a complex business, particularly when it comes to licensing and the often misunderstood challenge of providing high quality, subscription based streaming music services in disparate parts of the world. That said, in recent years, a greater realisation of the extraordinary potential for the legitimised, protected, universal distribution of an artist’s work; which gets appropriate return in places where only piracy had prevailed is truly a game changing moment.

The well-known champions of the streaming cause, such as Pandora, Spotify, Deezer, Rdio (and most recently Jimmy Lovine & Dr Dre's Beats Music) and of course, our beloved Akazoo continue to make waves by the seaside -- and uphold the growing base of music lovers who are happily digging all the benefits of the so-called "jukebox in the sky".

Fortunately, these are the smartphone Apps which are getting music into the furthermost reaches of the planet, and probably more importantly these days; other GPS sensitive Apps that will enable A&R guys to quickly locate themselves ‘the morning after the night before’.

13 Jan 14
InternetQ recently announced the successful acquisition of fast-growing mobile aggregator and media specialist Interacel, which is primarily based in Argentina – and has ever-expanding business in at least 11 other Latin American countries.

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As such, this red-hot investment officially puts InternetQ “in play” across the effervescent Latin America market where it can apply its proven formula for hitting the target – already profitably employed across Asia (with the i-POP acquisition) and late last year in Central Europe (with the Atlas Interactive M&A).

When you think of Latin America, readers might obviously focus on Brazil and the upcoming World Cup 2014. But from a Mobile perspective, all industry observers have become fans of the whole of Latin America – as one of the fastest growing, least exploited territories in the global footprint. Overall, a quick look on the Wiki team-sheet will tell you that there are roughly 20 countries in the Latin American dugout and perhaps even more excitingly, a population that ranks in excess of 558 million hitting the milestone of having “more phones than people” soon after the last World Cup!

The immense scale of the mobile populous is typified by Interacel’s footprint of countries, including; Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Indeed, a recent report in the Guardian highlighted that all Latin American countries (barring Mexico) had achieved 100 percent mobile penetration and more especially that the market for social networks alone would equate to 325 million within three years.

As readers can imagine, the excitement levels are reaching fever pitch for the football, but over at InternetQ - it’s actually the vast crowds of mobile users across continental South America that are providing the most compelling reason to jump into the match.

This timely strategic move is an important one as Latin America is set to become the fourth biggest smartphone market by 2017. According to the GSMA, Smartphone penetration is growing rapidly across the region. In Brazil, market-leader Vivo noted that smartphones accounted for 78% of contract net additions in Q3 2013, up from 55% a year earlier. Smartphone penetration at rival TIM Brazil doubled year-on-year to reach 39% of the total base over the same period.

As such, InternetQ can see that the wholesale adoption of smartphones provides a great opening to score some game-winning goals – no matter who wins the World Cup!

10 Dec 13
It's the time of year when giving, caring and sharing with our families are foremost in our minds. As such, InternetQ PLC has initiated another CSR project to help people in distress at this time of year. In this case, for the unfortunate victims of Typhoon Haiyan which violently struck in the Philippines just four weeks ago.

Following on from the company’s successful implementation of an SMS charity donation service for the Singapore Red Cross after the horrifying and cataclysmic Tsunami which ravaged North and central Japan in 2011 – where nearly 3/4 million dollars was raised through Singaporean mobile devices. The donation line, launched today, is once again is aiming to raise a substantial figure in support of the recovery work taking place in the devastated areas and islands around Tacloban, Cebu and beyond. In providing this material assistance to the Red Cross, InternetQ has also partnered with the Rotary Club of Singapore (part of the global Rotary International movement) to lend maximum Social Media and newspaper coverage and support to the nationwide SMS campaign.

Those haunting pictures from CNN and other cable news network’s brought home the stark reality of what Christmas will be like for families and survivors who have lost so much, their kith and kin – as  well as victims not even having the basic material to “get by”. The loss is palpable and all NGOs and agencies helping the recovery process will need more assistance than can be garnered from official sources. It is hoped this campaign will at least provide shelter and additional comfort this Christmas. An enduring message which has resonated across the World for some 2000 years...

6 Nov 13
An excellent ‘state of the union’ summary of the Mobile was just released by well-known industry pundit Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans), it’s worth taking a look – as it really sets the perfect scene for what is happening second-by-second across the mobile domain.

His summation? “Mobile is Eating the World”. Without question, the accession of mobile to sit atop the throne of all personal and corporate communications has taken place – it’s just spiking everywhere and at greater pace. As if by reflection, the interest levels from all aspects of our global economy are sharpening, with ‘all comers’ seriously investigating what mobile can do for them; mostly through conferences, exhibitions and even ‘fireside’ chats with be-suited investors. In this regard, InternetQ’s presence is in high demand and our expertise is therefore being shared equitably across the globe.

First and foremost, opening today is the East Coast version of ad:tech (New York, Nov 6-7). After a very successful run out in San Francisco the Minimob team will be demonstrating the extremely timely use of the Smart Advertising platform to developers, publishers and advertisers alike. Given the rapid acceleration of adoption of the platform and it’s faster-than-expected commercialisation, it’ll be an interesting marketplace, so close to Madison Avenue and all the traditional advertising money can buy.

Next up and also in NYC, an Investor’s gathering of a significant scale with speakers representing the very pinnacle of the TMIT industry sector, including CBS, Etsy, Priceline, Yahoo! and of course, InternetQ PLC. We’ll be having a fireside chat (live streamed over the web) with conference organiser RBC and offering some insight into the mobile world that presently thrives outside the USA. A short hop to San Francisco follows this appearance, with InternetQ joining the mobile industry elite at the exclusive MEF Global Forum, the first ever held in Silicon Valley. Another range of top notch speakers are on the card and looking to outline the industry’s future scape with a mix of innovation and education.

If industry watchers are still hungry, then an exotic trip to Bangkok Thailand awaits with the impressively located ITU telecom World at the IMPACT Arena. It should certainly have a sizeable impact with up to 1,000 telecommunications delegates attending - and also there being a special forum for telecoms’ developers taking place to highlight the proximity of the App Economy to Mobile Operator’s futures.

To round off the selection of delights, InternetQ will make its way to London and the Canaccord Investors event to be held on November 20th, a whistle-stop tour of some of the world’s telecommunications hot-spots and meetings with ‘movers and shakers’ in the business who are trying to work out just how much of the World is being eaten by all things Mobile. Should be quite a feast!

29 Oct 13
Last week Akazoo launched its industry-leading music streaming solution, in partnership with top Greek ISP & broadband service provider, Hellas Online (hol). 

Regular visitors to this blog will be aware that in the fast-moving world of social entertainment, a new era has begun: with pioneering social music service Akazoo paving the way for an innovative form of distribution – often with partnerships that bring a compelling dimension extra to the deal.

For expanding broadband service providers, such as "hol" the importance of consistently delivering the best sounding service for subscribers in all conditions is front-and-centre. Akazoo features arguably one of the industry's finest streaming platforms available anywhere, enabling consumers in 22 countries to enjoy the benefits of unfettered access to the music they love with unlimited content, On-Demand, On-The-Go.

Akazoo allows blue-chip brands such as "hol" to natively offer unlimited social music streaming services to their customers from any browser and via its stylish mobile applications for Android phones, tablets and devices including the iPhone. Complete with a music catalogue of more than 15 million tracks –featuring top-name artists from major and indie labels as well as a strong catalogue of Greek artists.

Importantly, Akazoo's cloud-based platform is further enhanced with hands-on digital marketing expertise to drive monetization and boost subscriber loyalty. This proven marketing insight and commercial sophistication truly sets the service apart from rivals in this space.

Thanks to its exciting partnership with "hol", the foremost ISP and broadband services provider in Greece Akazoo will exclusively power the "hol music club" with some incredible offers and incentives for those charter customers signing-up. But hurry! All users who will register in the "hol music club by Akazoo" before 31st October will be entitled to 3 months free trial use, without any commitment. And that's something great to be able to share with all your friends on Facebook. After all sharing is caring!

1 Oct 13
If business growth is all about gaining, escalating and managing momentum; then InternetQ has delivered recent headlines in a big way, filing consecutive year-on-year reports of positively increasing 'organic' revenue numbers.

The good news reflected not just an increase in revenue, but enhanced profits and stronger cash conversion too. Overall, revenue for H1 was up 31% to €43.0 million, earnings per share rose 80% to €0.10 and underlying earnings (EBITDA) surged 25% to €5.2 million from €4.1 million the year before, while profit before tax climbed 90% to €3.60 million from €1.89 million.

InternetQ’s overall progress has already been cited in a previous issue of Shares magazine (29th August) which featured a supplement called IGI-Innovation & Growth Investor (see pages 14&15). IGI goes out to ‘over 15,000, UK-based, sophisticated, high net worth, private investors and is focused on companies that are led by innovation, technology and human capital.’

Of course, for a public-listed corporation it’s always nice to be mentioned in despatches, and further market analysis is available from a range of popular sources; such as Proactive Investors.

Broker Canaccord Genuity notes InternetQ has built a strong position in Eastern Europe and South East Asia across all of its products. “The rapid increase in smartphone penetration should accelerate growth opportunities in both mobile marketing and music,” says Canaccord’s Simon Davies. The shares have already had a great run this year, rising 86% by Davies’s calculations."

Given the lofty momentum afforded by such strong performance, it doesn't take much to believe the sky is the limit for a company intent on taking flight.

20 Sep 13
As InternetQ PLC proudly announces its exciting co-marketing partnership between Akazoo and Sony Mobile in Malaysia, it seems a good time to briefly take stock of the 'state of play' for smartphones (and music) across the mobile industry as a whole.

Thanks to the advent of low-cost, Internet-ready handsets, we are looking at one of the most significant changes in human access to entertainment yet seen during the dramatic rise of all things mobile. In this regard, the branded purveyors of some truly desirable, high-spec devices still continue to dominate the marketplace.

Not just that, but the ability of those gigantic companies like Samsung and Sony to bring multiple additional layers of content and services – has sparked a whole new realm of creativity that benefits all those who buy their devices. Consumers who implicitly trust such brands to deliver an inclusive entertainment ecosystem -and most certainly a music player- that is fully loaded and ready to play with a single tap. Even more importantly, with Wi-Fi everywhere in Asia, and LTE implementations expanding rapidly - side loading is gradually being overhauled by streaming on demand.

So, this recent announcement by InternetQ of its streaming music co-marketing partnership for Akazoo, signals another harmonious change-up in the evolving industry dynamic of securing 'partnerships' for success.

Certainly, Sony Mobile has ambitious plans for the burgeoning Malaysian market, which features roughly 30 million people and an oversized mobile penetration level of 137 percent. The dramatic shift playing out across Asia (known as the "flip") from feature-phones to smartphones means that Sony itself, with its well-received Xperia branded series of phones – is right at the centre of the consumer adoption of a cloud-based smartphone future.

This year, InternetQ PLC has announced handset-related partnerships with Samsung, Sony and more specifically in Asia, Gmobi (an MTK investee company) which provides its integral App Store to more than 30 own-brand device distributors globally. In short, it sounds like the right mix of partnerships for Akazoo to be swiftly embedded and activated in the rapidly growing smartphone World.