Tata Docomo to 'pay' users for watching ads

Pranay Parab Posted online: Friday, Nov 22, 2013 at 0000 hrs
New Delhi : Advertisements can be annoying. But Tata Docomo has a solution to make it less so.

The company has launched a service where users will get a minute of free talktime for watching a 15-second advertisement. Normal call charges are applicable after one minute. The service is available for phones running Android (2.3 and above), Nokia S40, S60, Java and BlackBerry (6, 7) through an application called Tata Docomo Get.

“We are working with HTC and Titan, who will display their ads through the app. We have started with the top-tier category, which is smartphones. We have the technology to give users free data or text messages in return for viewing ads. As of now we are offering one minute of free voice calls, but we are looking at ways to give users more,” said Sunil Tandon, Tata Teleservices' head of the non-voice business and devices.

The implications of this service can be far-reaching. Advertisers can use this to generate feedback for advertisements as the app can redirect users to a URL after the call ends. This, Tandon says, could be a feedback URL where users could say whether they liked the advertisement. “It's going to give them (advertisers) more accurate feedback than any survey,” he said.

Tata claims the advertisement videos will play even on 2G networks. “The payload is very small. Ads will play (without stalling) on 2G and 3G networks. The app itself is very light at just 650 KB. We kept slow speeds in mind while designing the app. The first iteration was around 13-14 MB, but we brought it down to 650 KB because users felt the app took too long to download,” Tandon said.