Published in TDAN.com October 2006
In my first column for TDAN the subject was — “It is all about you”. That was way back in July 2003 and it dealt with personalization. In my July 2004 column I talked about
convergence. In the April 2006 column we got a peek at Generation C and the world of content. In my July 2006 column I reviewed what I consider to be two key areas for the future
— Mobile Advertising and Mobile Video — that are the convergence of those articles. The business world is beginning to see the light in these areas and I believe we will see significant
advances over the next 2-3 years. Let’s delve a bit deeper into each of those areas.
Mobile Advertising: Mobile advertising is getting more print space and sound bites each month. Just look at the recent large organizations that
are retooling to get into this area as early adopters:
· “America Online is preparing for a massive corporate restructuring. Advertising growth was named as the key motivation behind
the move, with mobile named as a particularly key strategy to drive ad revenue going forward.”
· “The Wall Street Journal will soon offer an ad-supported adjunct to its current subscription-based mobile news service, according to Dow
· “The BusinessWeek Mobile Edition service is fully ad-supported, with Windows Mobile again signing on as the lead sponsor.”
· “The topic of mobile advertising is about to invade yet another trade convention: this time it’s Advertising Week. Speakers like the
MMA’s Laura Marriott will focus on the untapped channel that mobile represents for advertisers.”
· “Yahoo has signed a deal with Bango to use Bango technology to serve ads on Yahoo-powered mobile sites.”
· CNN has been advertising on Sprint’s PowerVision content service to test how that would play with customers
As these organizations, and many others that just don’t want to be as visible yet, dip their toes into the mobile advertising and ad-supported waters there will be successes and ventures that need
retooling to succeed. What will be the divining rod that points the way to success? I believe that content and personalization are the factors. Generation C wants content that is timely
and personalized. Who is Generation C? Go back and read my April 2006 column to find out. More on personalization and Location Based Services (LBS) in a future column. As I
lean back and think about mobile advertising the recent financial organization’s barbarian themed commercial pops into my mind — “So what’s in your wallet”. For more detail on the
advertising snippets above look in this column’s Nuggets of Knowledge.
Mobile Video: In my July 2006 column I continued my focus on what I consider to be one of the future killer
apps for the world of wireless. Mobile Video. As I mentioned in my July column there are many organizations moving into this market space. ESPN, NBC, Verizon, Sprint and many
more. The early journey for Mobile Video won’t be easy. There are infrastructure conditions that must be set in place. There are technical hurdles to overcome such as a lack of
interoperability of services, quality-of-service problems, and the lack of a certification process for competing mobile TV standards (For more detail on these hurdles see the September 20
FierceMobileContent article below).
The Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) fall show was recently held in Hollywood. If you review the many reports coming out of that show you’ll realize that Hollywood
knows about wireless — and likes it. I came across a very interesting article by Karen Brown titled Mobile Gets Into the Hollywood Picture that summarized some of the key points about mobile video with some interesting comments by the early
adopters in this area. Ms. Brown’s article is full of key insights that help us to begin to crystallize the future. Following are what I believe are some key points from her article:
- Hot topics at the show included the momentum building for ad-supported content, the need for better navigation systems to help users find their way through a growing forest of multimedia and
worries that licensing issues could stifle the flow of entertainment content.
- Mobile content particularly video is moving from novelty to full-fledged, revenue-generating business.
- Figures from the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, which released data indicating that in the first half of 2006, total wireless data revenue topped $6.5 billion. That was
a 70% increase compared to the first half of 2005. Wireless data and content now constitutes 11% of all wireless service revenues.
- The fact that mobile content looks more like a business is drawing in advertisers, and despite the common belief, Reddick [Paul Reddick, Sprint Nextel Corp.’s vice president of business
development and planning strategy] said ads attached to mobile video and other content was not an immediate turnoff for customers.
- Auto maker Toyota is now sponsoring Fox Network mobisodes based on the hit series Prison Break.
- CNN also has been advertising on Sprint’s PowerVision content service to test how that would play with customers.
- The Weather Channel, &133;is in fact transforming the weather network’s mobile content from expensive marketing investment to its own legitimate business, according to Louis Gump, the
network’s vice president of mobile. “Before, basically it was an expense line item for us, and every month I had to roll my eyes and sign the bills,” he said. “And now what we have is
significant revenue that is coming in we are seeing, month over month, double-digit increases in that revenue, and the inventory is very strong.”
- With content increasingly moving into a mobile environment where it can be streamed and viewed anywhere, there are already signs of conflict with licensing contracts that often limit content to
regional distribution. Products including Sling Media’s SlingBox are testing these limits by allowing consumers to watch TV content for example, a live Major League Baseball game outside of their
- Mobile TV streaming outlet MobiTV itself sees that issue as it expands its live TV service beyond mobile phones to include Wi-Fi and WiMAX-fed laptops.
- SlingMedia’s SlingBox device attaches to a television set-top box and a home broadband connection, allowing the user to redirect live TV or any stored TV video on a digital video recorder box
to a personal computer outside the home. Sling has recently added a mobile device application that brings that same capability to select Windows Media 5.0 or Pocket PC-enabled cellular phones,
including Motorola’s new Q handset.
- New time-shifting products hitting the market such as Time Warner Cable’s “Start Over” service also enforce the idea of allowing customers to see content on their own terms.
- Sony has already forged deals to offer about 20 movies in Flash memory format for delivery to cell phones.
- Clayman [Greg Clayman, vice president of wireless operations and strategy for MTV Networks] added that MTV engineers have been testing delivery systems for long-format video.
So what do I think this says about the future. I believe we are about to start running down “The Yellow Brick Road” toward a Jetson’s like digital lifestyle of the future. Will `the
road’ be straight and easy to follow. No — just ask the team at Mobile ESPN. We’ll see more personalization, convergence and business will find a way to fund it and make a
profit. It’s all about you. Your interests. Your lifestyle. Your wallet.
Factoid: You might not know the name of that song — but your phone does!
Are you on the Cingular network and every now and then hear a song where you really want to know the name of the artist and the title of the song? Cingular to the rescue with a service
offering called MusicID.
When you hear a song, just dial #43, hold your phone up to the speaker for about 15 seconds, then end the call. You will soon receive a text message telling you the name and artist of the
song. By dialing #43; the third one ordered will not be charged. Each successful MusicID costs $0.99. I’ll be that one catches on fast!
If you have a question pertaining to a wireless topic or digital living that you would like to ask or share with our readers send me an email and I will update everyone in a future column.
Wireless Nuggets of Knowledge:
Following are a few interesting articles and discussions on wireless and digital living:
· Wireless Week — September 28, 2006
Mobile ESPN Ends Wireless Game
After just seven months of service, Mobile ESPN is calling it quits.
The high-profile mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which launched its service on Super Bowl Sunday in early February, announced this morning that it will remain active to current customers
until at least Dec. 31.
Existing customers that want to discontinue service before that time will be released from their contract without penalty. In addition, customers who purchased Mobile ESPN phones will receive a
full refund of their purchase price upon settlement of their final Mobile ESPN bill.
The firm will contact all customers before the end of the year to let them know their future service options and to help them transition to a new service provider.
Mobile ESPN has been under fire in the past several months because if its inability to attract a large number of subscribers. Although the company never released its subscriber figures, it was
rumored in June to have just 10,000 customers. The firm hoped to sell its service to hard-core sports fans with tailored sports content.
Salil Mehta, executive vice president with ESPN Enterprises, says that ESPN will continue to pursue a licensing model for its content.
· FireceMobileContent — September 22, 2006
AOL plans restructuring, focuses on ads, mobile
America Online is preparing for a massive corporate restructuring designed to eliminate their existing, complicated reporting system and to instead create more autonomous divisions, with more
accountability for their results. Advertising growth was named as the key motivation behind the move, with mobile named as a particularly key strategy to drive ad revenue going forward.
· FireceWireless — September 22, 2006
WiMAX licensees form roaming alliance
A group of WiMAX licensees from around the world launched the WiMAX Spectrum Owners Alliance (WiSOA) during an inaugural meeting in Paris yesterday. The group, made up only of those companies that
own WiMAX spectrum, announced their intention to sign the first international WiMAX roaming agreement, which will cover all WiMAX services and operate in all WiMAX frequency ranges. Founding
members include: Unwired Australia, Network Plus Mauritius, U.K. Broadband, Irish Broadband, Austar Australia/Liberty Group, Telecom New Zealand, WiMAX Telecom Group, Enertel and Woosh Telecom.
Didn’t see any mention of Sprint Nextel or Clearwire..
· FireceMobileContent — September 22, 2006
Mobile advertising redux As if the hype at CTIA wasn’t enough, the topic of mobile advertising is about to invade yet another trade convention: this time it’s Advertising Week. Speakers
like the MMA’s Laura Marriott will focus on the untapped channel that mobile represents for advertisers. Whether the Madison Avenue types get on board will be an interesting trend to watch.
· FierceMobileContent — September 22, 2006
Music-enabled phones poised for growth
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says that the hype over music-enabled mobile phones hasn’t even begun. About 25 models of music phones are available in the market today. He believes that the
expected launch of Apple’s iPhone in the next three-to-six months will be the tipping point that draws more attention to the entire category.
· Wireless Week — September 21, 2006
Nokia Unveils Developer Suite
Open source software has been on Nokia’s short list for mobile phones for more than a year, starting with the company joining the Eclipse Foundation as a strategic developer and board member. It
took another step along the path today with the release of its Carbide.c++ developer suites for smartphone applications on the Symbian operating system.
· FireceMobileContent — September 21, 2006
Over 4 million to take up mobile broadcast services
Broadcasting, as opposed to streaming “unicasting,” is expected to be the mobile TV and video format of choice in the coming years, forecasted to attract 4 million subscribers in the U.S. by
the end of next year. Mobile broadcasting services based on formats like DVB-H and Qualcomm’s MediaFLO will go live in the coming year, with ABI Research expecting a $10 monthly subscription fee
plus advertising. The research group expects 1.5 million subscribers by the end of 2006, and steady growth to 514 million by 2010.
Note — Login Required
· FierceMobileContent — September 21, 2006
Nokia, Microsoft team for mobile search
Nokia has agreed to integrate Microsoft’s Live Search capabilities into the mobile search platform on NSeries phones. The deal enables full Web search results in 14 languages, as well as access to
stock quotes, movie times, and Encarta encyclopedia information. In addition to the NSeries, select Nokia S60 devices will also be compatible with the new service.
· eWEEK.com WIRELESS & MOBILE UPDATE — September 21, 2006
States Look to Lock Down RFID
The debate on privacy and security standards of tagging identities to national id cards, passports and the human body is making waves in states, as the Feds mandate RFID use in the name of national
· FierceMobileContent — September 26, 2006
Paramount: WiMAX delivers mobile vid
Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment president Thomas Lesinski sees WiMAX as the broadband gateway that opens the door to video content on mobile phones. “When you look at what broadband has done for video consumption on
PCs, over the next three years, WiMAX will have that same potential for video distribution on handsets that’s happening on PCs today,” he tells the Hollywood Reporter. Other tidbits from the
· New media formatted entertainment will capture between 15-20 percent of consumer spending
· Professionally produced content will overtake user generated content online
· Phones are not the only mobile entertainment devices
· FierceDeveloper — September 26, 2006
Mobile gaming to hit mainstream
TelecomAsia has an excellent article on mobile gaming. It’s pretty obvious that casual gaming is driving mobile gaming, but the article suggests the market will segment into casual gamers and
“hardcore gamers.” Tetris may be king, but complex multiplayer games are already gaining ground in Asia.
· FierceMobileContent — September 25, 2006
SMS marketing no longer taboo?
TA rosy trend piece from AP positions the SMS marketing sector on the verge of mass market uptake by citing recent text-based campaigns, contests and sweepstakes offered by McDonald’s, Burger
King, Procter & Gamble, General Motors and CBS. Analyst Gerry Purdy, who recently joined with Frost & Sullivan leads off the story with a prediction: “”Probably the most important medium
for advertising in the 21st century is going to be the cell phone, not print media, not billboards. It’s just a matter of time–there are just too many of them.” It’s a bullish claim, but with
American Idol paving the trail and big names like McDonald’s launching campaigns, it may be on point.
Just this month McDonald’s restaurants in Schaumburg, IL and St. Augustine, FL launched an in-store entertainment and marketing service that allows customers to send text messages to order up
music, music videos and movie previews from Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Sony Pictures. By year-end more McDonald’s plan to launch this “m-Venue” service for free
during the launch and with a download fee after.
· FierceWiFi — September 19, 2006
Netgear shows WiFi Skype phone
T Converged cellular-WiFi phones are all the rage (or, rather, will soon be all the rage) and companies with market savvy have noticed. The latest to join the lengthening list of vendors (e.g.,
Wistron, Accton) offering cellular-WiFi phones is Netgear, which last week began shipping its SPH101 (it demonstrated the unit in January at a trade show). The company says that the SPH101 is
the first publicly announced handset certified to make Skype WiFi calls. However, at $249.99, it’s not quite the least expensive unit on the market.
The phone will allow users to make unlimited free domestic and international calls to other Skype users over a wireless network without being tied to a computer. The phone will work anywhere in the
world where a user has access either to to a secured or open WiFi network (note: The phone will work only where the AP does not require browser-based authentication).
Netgear’s Vivek Pathela says that the device would appeal to “die-hard Skype users worldwide who want to experience Skype in a truly mobile fashion without a PC.” Infonetics Research’s Richard
Webb says: “Voice over wireless LAN adoption is primed for a surge beyond enterprises and into the everyday lives of millions of global consumers looking for a cost-sensitive telephony solution.”
· FierceMobileContent — September 20, 2006
Hurdles to mobile TV success
Sure, the idea of a TV set in every pocket is enticing, but there are a host of technical hurdles to overcome before a compelling service can be brought to market. At the IBC show in Amsterdam last
week, the biggest issues were identified as a lack of interoperability of services, quality-of-service problems, and the lack of a certification process for competing mobile TV standards. These are
the issues that rose to the surface after multiple mobile TV trials across Europe this summer.
However, the interest is certainly there. Italy’s 3Italia was able to sign up 110,000 DVB-H users in five weeks this summer, driven largely by the World Cup tournament. The outlook for
the U.S., as usual, is not as bright.
Get the big picture on mobile TV To read more click here
Mobile TV still years
away To read more click here
Wireless Info Center:
· Here are some upcoming conferences that you might find interesting:
ü deCarta devCON ’06:
October 4 — 5, San Francisco, CA
ü WiMAX World USA Conference and Expo: October 10
-12, Boston, MA
ü Second Mobile Adult Content Congress: October 10
-12, Reno Nevada
ü “WiMAX Test Breakthroughs” from
Litepoint, Tektronix & Wavesat: October 11, Boston, MA
ü Mobile Broadband Americas:
October 18 – 20, Las Vegas, NV
ü MEM Asia – Mobile Entertainment Market: November 1 —
ü Everything You Need to Know About Wireless
VoIP – 2006: November 7 – 8, San Francisco, CA
ü ISPCON Fall 2006; November 7 — 9, Santa Clara, CA
ü Mobile TV: November 14-16, New York
ü CONNECTIONS EUROPE: Strategies for Digital
Living Markets: Nov 14 – 16, Berlin
ü IEEE Communications Expo : November 28 —
30, San Francisco, CA
ü MVNO Summit 2007:
January 29 – 31, Tucson, AZ
· Here are some other articles that you might find interesting:
· Here are some resource links to Mobile & Wireless info areas: