Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, John Basso, Elizabeth White, Mihai Corbuleac

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
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet a...
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
The best-practices for building IoT applications with Go Code that attendees can use to build their own IoT applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Indraneel Mitra, Senior Solutions Architect & Technology Evangelist at Cognizant, provided valuable information and resources for both novice and experienced developers on how to get started with IoT and Golang in a day. He also provided information on how to use Intel Arduino Kit, Go Robotics API and AWS IoT stack to build an application tha...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Verizon will acquire Yahoo's operating business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments. Yahoo informs, connects and entertains a global audience of more than 1 billion monthly active users** -- including 600 million monthly active mobile users*** through its search, communications and digital content products. Yahoo also co...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Is your aging software platform suffering from technical debt while the market changes and demands new solutions at a faster clip? It’s a bold move, but you might consider walking away from your core platform and starting fresh. ReadyTalk did exactly that. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and over a decade of audio conferencing product development to start an innovati...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
It’s 2016: buildings are smart, connected and the IoT is fundamentally altering how control and operating systems work and speak to each other. Platforms across the enterprise are networked via inexpensive sensors to collect massive amounts of data for analytics, information management, and insights that can be used to continuously improve operations. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Chemel, Co-Founder and CTO of Digital Lumens, will explore: The benefits sensor-networked systems bring to ...