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Digital Students - How to extract value from this market?

Yesterday I met with Peter Miles, CEO of Sub tv media - a remarkable ‘media’ company with much that telcos, brand advertisers and others in the value chain can learn from.

Their market is the 2.2m higher education student market in the UK - ABC1 18-24 year olds with a spending power of £20 billion (GBP) per annumn (of which £1bn is on mobile phones). Sub tv have secured exclusive 10 year service contracts with 95 institutions across the country, representing 85% of this market. They provide a golden combination of:

1.) Broadcast services straight into student bars and rest-places: Nests of plasma screens with forward-stored tailored content, VOD, and regular TV delivered over ADSL and managed via a PC console. Free for the university, funded 100% via advertising, configurable by student entertainments officers.
2.) A mobile phone service, ‘the only one just for students’, with some unique tariffs vs regular operators, sold via on-campus sales teams.
3.) An ad-funded online portallinking the two together, with a strong emphasis, of course, on stimulating user-generated content.

This market is highly attractive…
* It represents 32% of all 18-24 year olds in the UK
* 70% are from ABC1 households
* 87% have moved away from home to study
* 40% of 18-21 year olds leisure time is spent in the union bars
* 30% of the audience is “refreshed” annually
* The average student spends £10,000 per annum (total market = £20 billion)
* 30% of the audience is “refreshed” annually
* Most students enter university as pre-paid customers, but leave on contracts
* Many students start life-long brand associations while at university (newspapers, banking, etc)

…but they are a very difficult to reach through conventional channels.

But with its the broadcast services alone, Sub tv can offer the twin pillars of nirvana to advertisers - Reach and Frequency. This is because 1.155 million students visit their union bar on average 3.2 times per week; they spend approximately 2.5 hours in the bar per visit; providing a net OTS of 4.878 per visit. So, as a result, Sub tv has become a major media channel for many brand advertisers.

Sub tv is proving successful because it has made sure, through constant ongoing research, that it deeply understands what motivates its customers. Through getting its content and services ‘instep with the rhythm of student life’, as Peter terms it, they have built up a trusted relationship with their audience with their entertainment, communications and information services.

As a result, they can, for example, design and time student-specific programming effectively. Wednesday is normally match day, so in the evening they stream results of inter-university matches to the bar from 6-7pm. Students are very open to promotions, but they must be targeted and provide instant gratification. So, ‘tonight only’ the first pint of Guinness is free via an SMS promotion to those who fit the right profile (they and Guinness know that once you start off an evening drinking the black stuff, you don’t switch to lagers/bitters). Then, at the weekend, it’s ‘Britains Sexiest Student’ - submit your photo via MMS and vote for your friends via SMS. Next there’s Love Match… (Nothing like this when I was at college?!!)

Peter will be presenting his thoughts on how to extract value from the ‘Digital Youth’ market at the next Telco 2.0 Industry Brainstorm on 27-29 March. Come and meet him and find out more…

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