Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Victoria Livschitz, Lori MacVittie, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Larry Dragich

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
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.