Mobile TV came under the scanner on the fourth day of MipCom 2007, with experts discussing various points that could impact the future growth of the medium. Douglas Richard, Co-Founder and Chairman, Hotkt Ltd, Dragon’s Den, asked who owned the mobile consumers. While Neil Walker, Senior Content Development Manager, TV and Video, Vodpahone Group, was quick to reply stating that telecom did, the other panellists observed that today even television was speaking directly to mobile phone users.
Bruce Renny, MD, ROK Entertainment Group, explained here that it made more commercial sense to let telecom owners monetise content and the channels do it themselves as well. He said, “There is a proved subscription model where you have to work with the telecom operators. However, today there are many high-end mobile phones also coming up, and that is where the opportunity lay.”
Amelia Gammon, Director, Sales, NBC Universal Global Networks, raised the point of revenue sharing, stating, “We’ve had great experiences on what we have done with operators using the mobile medium, but yes, revenue sharing is a problem, and any change there is welcome.” Andrew Bud, Executive Chairman, Mblox, was of the opinion that telecom operators just didn’t care about content.
Walker replied to this explaining that for all practical purposes, content was one of the last concerns at present for the telecom operators. The panel agreed that a shift had to come in this in order to drive growth in the mobile medium.
Another important point from the panel was on the sharing of information of the users or the viewers. Gammon stated that while the likes of NBC Universal knew all about their target audiences and who was watching what, they had little or no information for the mobile users. The point she made was that telecom operators didn’t divulge such information, which made it difficult to know whether the mobile audience was different from the television audience, and what was the kind of content that they were watching.
Bringing another angle to the discussion Richard said, “I don’t think at least advertisers are geared to handle details on target audiences. I think there is still time before the ad community is truly target marketing, and when they are, the medium will benefit automatically.”
While this panel was united on the need to take some risks, and share information, the following panel that was discussing ‘Mobile social communities and User Generated Content’ stressed that the medium was not as simple as many thought, or made it sound. Tony Perkins, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, AlwaysOn, said that mobile was expensive.
The panel discussed numbers stating that some of the statistics seen revealed that the younger audience was viewing 68 per cent content that was created by someone they knew, and by that number, content creators were competing for the 38 per cent mind space.
Nir Ofir, VP, Product and Content, Blog TV.com, brought out the need to differentiate here. He said, “Just creating a social networking site will not work. It has to have some distinctive attributes that the target you want can identify with.” Antonio Vince Stabyl, CEO, Gofresh GmBH (ItsMY.com), stated here the need to create brands. He said, “Make it something hot that the audience would be proud to be associated with, and you have a done deal.”
According to Frederick Ghahramani, Founder, AirG, for any medium to establish the revenue model was important. The ad revenue model is still not worked in the mobile medium, so it has to be transactional or subscription based. “Once you have decided which of the two you want, build your brand with the filters that each offer,” he added.
The panel agreed on the fact that mobile television couldn’t go the same way that the Internet had, but the medium had advantages that would bring its own learning along the way. The panel was divided on the subject that the Internet in some ways might even be interfering in the dialogue between the advertisers and mobile users. But the panel agreed that with the availability of high-end handsets, there also were applications that had nothing to do with the telecom operators that could be downloaded. This also opened many opportunities for the medium.