Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: David H Deans, Yeshim Deniz, Janakiram MSV, Andreas Grabner, Stackify Blog

News Feed Item

Psychic Friends Network (PFNI) Readies 'Freemium' Mobile Apps in Bid to Re-Dominate the Nearly $2.5B Psychic Entertainment Market

NEWARK, Delaware, December 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Psychic Friends Network, the company that single-handedly created the psychic entertainment market in the 1990s and generated over $1 billion in revenue, is developing a mobile smartphone/tablet application (mobile app), a first for the psychic service industry.

"This is a major breakthrough not just for the Psychic Friends Network, but for the entire psychic service industry," said Marc Lasky, CEO of Psychic Friends Network. "Our research indicates that among the under-40 customer base, the new mobile app could quickly become the primary means for seeking psychic services. And among our more traditional customer base, the new app could broadly increase usage with its ease of accessibility."

Make Money by Giving Something Away

According to information and analysis provider IHS, "…the best way to make money in the smartphone apps market is to give away apps for free-and to generate revenue on subsequent sales of in-app purchases." This model of offering apps for free, then charging for content, is known as "freemium." This strategy represents the fastest-growing segment of the global smartphone apps business, and will soon dominate the market.

IHS notes that a whopping 96 percent of all smartphone apps downloaded in 2011 were free and, predicts that in-app purchases will account for 64 percent of total market revenue by 2015, compared to 39 percent in 2011. They further reveal that well over 50 percent of the top-grossing apps on Android and half the top games for iOS are free. It is notable that this trend is largely limited to games, but then again, games are by far the most popular category of all apps.

The company with the greatest success to date with freemium games and who helped to popularize them is Zynga, which rode the popular FarmVille and its other Facebook games to an initial public offering of almost $1 billion. FarmVille is free to play, but players can purchase "farm cash," which can be used to make crops immediately available for harvest. Other top public companies using this strategy with mobile games include Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) with a market cap of $4.5B, Glu Mobile with a cap of $181M, Vringo at $272M, and Renren at $1.2B.

Mobile Growth

The growth of mobile games, paid or freemium, is linked directly to the explosive growth of smartphone use worldwide. A Gartner study states that in the third quarter 2012, smartphones represented almost 40 percent of all mobile units sold worldwide, a 47 percent increase from one year earlier.

The smartphone market is dominated by Apple and Samsung, with both companies together controlling 46.5 percent of the smartphone market. Samsung's mobile phones sales in particular continued to accelerate, totaling almost 98 million units in the third quarter of 2012, up 18.6 percent year-on-year. Nokia continues to sell enough units worldwide to garner attention, but its overall market share has slipped to 19 percent compared to 24 percent for the same period last year.

Adapting the Freemium Strategy to the Psychic Industry

Psychic Friends Network may not produce games, but they are in the entertainment content business. In the past, the company's sizable content offering could only be consumed by customers calling 1-900 numbers and speaking live to psychic readers. In today's mobile-connected world, customers want to enjoy their horoscopes and personalized psychic consultations from anywhere, on the device of their choice and in many forms (text, audio chat, video chat and more).

To address this new reality, the company plans to offer its new branded mobile apps free for download with a special free text psychic reading introductory offer.  

"I expect that the new PFN mobile app will rival, and perhaps even surpass, PFNI TV and more conventional online revenues within a very short order," Lasky said. "And our free-message offers will jumpstart that success."

In addition to branded mobile apps offering daily horoscopes and live connections to psychic readers, PFNI will also offer other mobile services that do not require an app:

  • Premium SMS text services. Through this type of paid service, the company will offer a daily horoscope sent to a customer's mobile phone.
  • Live psychic advice. Customers can send a SMS text to a live psychic, such as, "What do you think about my new job?" They will instantly receive a text reply (at $.99 per text).

These premium SMS services can be directly added to the customer's mobile phone bill (also known as carrier billing). This lowers the barrier to purchase, as the customer does not have to key in a credit card on their phone.

Freemium Is Not for Every Company

Dropbox, LinkedIn, Pandora and Skype are notable companies that gained success by giving away their products and services free to build a customer base. Skype was acquired by Microsoft for $8.5B, LinkedIn was worth over $9B after its first day of trading, Pandora debuted with a $3B IPO, and pre-IPO Dropbox raised a whopping $250 million on a $4 billion valuation.

According to Simon Hill at Digital Trends, the big freemium successes have managed to combine good conversion rates with high retention, so that people continue to play and purchase content for weeks, months or even longer.

The freemium approach, however, doesn't make sense for any business that can't eventually reach millions of users. Typically only 1% or 2% of users will upgrade to a paid product, according to David Cohen, founder and CEO of TechStars, a start-up accelerator since 2007.

Psychic Friends Network is no stranger to large customer volumes with high conversion and customer retention rates. At the peak in the 1990s, PFNI had more than 10 million unique customers, with an impressive 25% conversion rate over 1-900 phone numbers and an even more impressive 75% retention. The average PFNI customer spent $350 per year, with 80% spent in the first six months.

PFNI is about to re-launch with a newly developed "version 2.0" technology platform. The centerpiece of this re-launch are the company's new mobile apps, which combine the best of PFNI's past proven conversion methods with the latest freemium revenue strategy. Given their past track record, the company is fully expecting to re-dominate the nearly $2.5B psychic market.

About the Psychic Friends Network, Inc.

The Psychic Friends Network, Inc. (PFNI) is a marketing and entertainment company providing on-demand psychic advice as well as daily and weekly horoscopes. PFNI connects professional live psychic readers with customers via telephone (mobile and landline) and through their newly developed state-of-the-art online platform enabling interaction with video chat, voice or text chat. During the 1990s, PFNI pioneered the psychic industry with memorable television/radio marketing and infomercials. PFNI is re-launching the original brand on a new technology platform that will capitalize on the latest social media and video technologies to connect psychics with consumers.

To learn more about PFNI, visit PsychicFriendsNetwork.com

About Stocks Digest

Stocks Digest monitors the best stock ideas and stock recommendations from Wall Street's top advisors - with expert analysts identifying today's bull-market leaders and tomorrow's top stock ideas. The review process includes hundreds of the finest financial newsletters and research publications, before screening to deliver the ideas with superior profit potential.

To sign up for a free Stocks Digest subscription, visit http://www.StocksDigest.com.

Disclosure: StocksDigest.com is not a registered investment advisor and nothing contained in any materials should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. This is a compensated press release. Please visit our website for complete risks and disclosures: http://www.StocksDigest.com.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release may be deemed to contain forward-looking statements, which may be subject to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding the re-launch of the Psychic Friends Network brand, PFNI's business plan, website and mobile applications. Readers are cautioned that these forward-looking statements are only predictions and may differ materially from actual future events or results due to a variety of factors, including, among other things, PFNI's ability to successfully re-launch its brand and operations and other risk factors set forth in PFNI's current report on Form 8-K dated March 30, 2012. Any forward-looking statements in this release are based on limited information currently available to PFNI, which is subject to change, and PFNI will not necessarily update the information.

http://www.stocksdigest.com

SOURCE Stocks Digest

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
There is only one world-class Cloud event on earth, and that is Cloud Expo – which returns to Silicon Valley for the 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center, October 31 - November 2, 2017. Every Global 2000 enterprise in the world is now integrating cloud computing in some form into its IT development and operations. Midsize and small businesses are also migrating to the cloud in increasing numbers. Companies are each developing their unique mix of cloud technologies and service...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
SYS-CON Events announced today that App2Cloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. App2Cloud is an online Platform, specializing in migrating legacy applications to any Cloud Providers (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud).
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. Jack Norris reviews best practices to show how companies develop, deploy, and dynamically update these applications and how this data-first...
Intelligent Automation is now one of the key business imperatives for CIOs and CISOs impacting all areas of business today. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Boeggeman, VP Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, will talk about how business value is created and delivered through intelligent automation to today’s enterprises. The open ecosystem platform approach toward Intelligent Automation that Ayehu delivers to the market is core to enabling the creation of the self-driving enterprise.
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, shared examples from a wide range of industries – including en...
Consumers increasingly expect their electronic "things" to be connected to smart phones, tablets and the Internet. When that thing happens to be a medical device, the risks and benefits of connectivity must be carefully weighed. Once the decision is made that connecting the device is beneficial, medical device manufacturers must design their products to maintain patient safety and prevent compromised personal health information in the face of cybersecurity threats. In his session at @ThingsExpo...
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
Because IoT devices are deployed in mission-critical environments more than ever before, it’s increasingly imperative they be truly smart. IoT sensors simply stockpiling data isn’t useful. IoT must be artificially and naturally intelligent in order to provide more value In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Engineering System Architect at Greenwave Systems, will discuss how IoT artificial intelligence (AI) can be carried out via edge analytics and machine learning techn...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, will examine the regulations and provide insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence a...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics ...
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, discussed new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of security i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...