The biggest challenge for new social networks is to get users to even look beyond the mighty Facebook and Twitter. And the fact that most celebrities people like to follow and connect with are on these two platforms does not help their cause. But mig.me is different and it is no upstart.
Actually, mig.me — known as mig33 when it was launched in 2007 — has a very different model that has helped it grow at a rapid pace in geographies like Indonesia. Now, the Australian company is venturing into India and bringing in its unique artiste engagement programme to the country. Artistes who sign up for the same get to create a fan base on mig.me, which, in turn, offers it a share in revenue generated via virtual gifts and other premium interactions.
“No other social network offers artistes or celebrities any incentive for driving up their user base. We are different,” Steven Goh, CEO & co-founder, told IndianExpress.com. And by getting some key artistes to sign up exclusively on the platform in Indonesia, he has been able to drive adoption in these markets. In fact, mig.me grew from 5 million monthly active users in May 2014 to 16 million, powered by these celebrities.
For example, Indonesian singer Cinta Ramlan, (@cintaramlan) incidentally has more followers on mig.me than on Twitter at the moment. She even went on to launch one of her videos exclusively on mig.me, thus bringing in new users.
Now, Goh is bringing in the same model to India and has signed up seven local artistes to start with: Composer Pritam Chakraborty, along with singers Sreeram Chandra, Nakash Aziz, Monali Thakur, Akriti Kakkar, Aditi Singh Sharma and Natalie Di Luccio. Goh says his platform lets artistes have a business model, and this is why some names in Indonesia and The Philippines have even dropped out of other sites.
But the bigger question in India is whether users will end up buying the virtual gifts and pokes that are essential for this business model to work. “What matter here is not just the ability to pay, but also a strong reason to do so. We need to give them the right reason and Indian users will pay as much other others,” says Goh, drawing upon his experience from a few years ago when he was able to monetise the platform on Nokia phones. Then, the draw was cricket and, Goh says, he has a good idea about what can be successful. “But we want to start with movies and music.”
Composer Pritam Chakraborty, among the first to sign up, said in a release that he was excited about the changes mig.me is bringing to the Indian music scene. He said that, on mig.me, he will “be able to engage with music lovers in a deeper and friendlier way”.
Mig.me is available on Android as well as iOS and feature phones along with a web version. Goh says there is still a considerable base in India, especially in the north-west and he will concentrate his energies on these pockets, to start with.