Social networking drives growth as new PhonepayPlus Code of Practice is published

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The Current and Emerging Trends in the UK Premium Rate Services (PRS) annual market report was released today.

I don’t think it’s a great surprise to see that Social Networking is emerging as a new channel for PRS; I think this is becoming the case for most industries and markets, if not just for products for sale but for brand awareness at least. In this case though:

“Premium rate services are increasingly being marketed on social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. 4.3% of PRS users we [Analysys Mason Ltd] surveyed had discovered the phone-paid services that they used in the past six months via a social network or internet forum, although for some phone-paid services, such as virtual gifts, the proportion was significantly higher (13.7%).”

This report, coming just a day before PhonepayPlus prepares to publish the new Code of Practice for the PRS industry, is providing a great impetus into the changes due to implemented.

PhonepayPlus describe the new Code of Practice as a move ‘from a rules-based to an outcomes-focused approach to the regulation of the PRS industry.’

With the changes that the PRS industry is seeing in how services are being marketed, the new code is intended to be ‘flexible and nimble enough to ensure effective regulation of a fast-moving, innovative industry, protecting the PRS market as it develops and helping to sustain and build consumer confidence’.

Paul Whiteing, PhonepayPlus’ Chief Executive, said:

“Reading through this comprehensive report...We can see why effective, smart, integrated regulation that works with industry and not against it matters not just for business but – more than anything – for the consumer.

The landscape for PRS is changing fast. We need regulation that allows industry to take full advantage of the opportunities that such innovation throws up while always keeping in full view the need to pre-empt and prevent consumer harm.”