Launching a successful appstore requires filing it with enough desirable content to ensure network effects will eventually kick-in and drive sales.
The number of smartphone users in Saudi Arabia had passed 20 million by 2015. It is set to reach 25 million around 2020. As in other markets around the world, the smartphone boom is fundamentally changing the way people communicate and consume content. Users are moving away from browsers and webpages towards apps as a primary method for accessing email, news, information, video, personal management tools (such as calendars and projecting planners), ride-sharing services, games, and social media, to name just a few.
As part of its Innovation and Corporate Venturing into digital new businesses, our client, a leading fixed-mobile telecommunications operator, set up a digital content delivery company. The digital content delivery company launched an operator appstore in 2012. While the digital content delivery firm has a larger strategy for offering a range of over-the-top digital content services, its appstore is focused on meeting the app needs of the customers of its parent operator in Saudi Arabia (For more information on the content delivery firm and its strategy execution management, see our related case study.)
Launching a successful appstore requires filing it with enough desirable content to ensure network effects will eventually kick-in and drive sales. Given blockbuster apps are few and far between, an appstore needs to take a long-tail approach and supply the market with as many apps as possible across multiple content categories – especially if it is to compete with established global providers. It also needs to allow for deliver via multiple network channels, such as 2G VAS, 3G, LTE, and WiFi.
An expansive store requires a massive base of partners. And they can come from nearly anywhere. They might include individual engineers that have created tools for team members, designers, and site managers. They might include entrepreneurs looking to sell communications, platform-based services (such as an auction house), or home management apps directly to customers. And they will likely include retailers looking to help shoppers select and purchase items, telcos wanting to engage clients, government offices aiming to deliver services to citizens, healthcare providers wanting to better look after patients, and business services firms hoping to facilitate use of back- and front-end management systems.
In short, an appstore must have a partner management system that can deal with a wide range of partners with a wide range of goals and financial resources.
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