4INFO announced a deal with NBC Universal today to place ads on their text-based content. It’s a sign of the mobile advertising market growing up. Most text alerts are served without ads. Most content providers have had the mentality of “let’s focus first on the consumer experience and worry about monetizing later.” Besides, you need a audience of reasonable size and reach before it’s worth monetizing. Coke doesn’t buy ad space 10 messages at a time. These kinds of deals mean that the audience is large enough to be worthwhile – or is at least heading in that direction. I’d expect to see more of these deals signed in the upcoming months.
Archive for October, 2007
Seemed like I spoke to a lot of folks at the CTIA event this week who didn’t think there was much going on. I actually thought there was. For me, the biggest takeaway is that the reality is beginning to match some of the hype we’ve been seeing in the market around mobile content and data services. In the past, there seemed to be a lot of talk and 1.0 versions of applications that no one other than an early adopter would touch. I saw some applications and experiences that I could envision my mother or one of my friends using.
I saw some great UI’s from Nokia, T-Mobile, UIEvolution, Openwave, UIOne, et. al. – a lot more compelling than most UI’s on phones today. In the past, an interface was good if it wasn’t really bad. I saw some stuff this show that was really, really good. Loved the new interface on the T-Mobile device.
Played a skiing game from GestureTek. They had to pry the phone out of my hands – I didn’t want to give it back. Was a good step in the direction of a mobile Wii.
There was lts going on with UGC from uLocate, Ontela, PixSense, and many others – those are just a handful of the ones I saw today.
More to follow …
MobiTV announced that they passed the three million mark recently for mobile video subscribers worldwide. Yes, it’s worldwide. Yes, it’s across 20 operators which doesn’t amount to a ton per operator. It’s still an impressive number. The third million came much faster than the first or second – good sign.
Boost Mobile and Cellfire announced a partnership today to put Cellfire’s coupon application on their cell phones. The article doesn’t say that Boost will pre-load the application, but a spot on their portal is a start. Makes great sense given their customer base.
Admob released a set of metrics about their business today. They provide some well-organized and clear data around the number of ad impressions they are serving and to what devices in what countries. They’ll send you a copy for free if you email them at email@example.com.
There is a lot of interesting information here, but here are a few of my highlights:
- These numbers are up significantly from a year ago (this isn’t in the pdf, but you can figure it out from older releases). Yeah, online is still much bigger, but I think when there is a billion or more of anything, it’s a pretty big number.
- The cell phone users who are browsing are not just on high end phones with QWERTY keyboards. Yes, many are, but Razr sits atop the list
- Wow, the market is fragmented. (yes, we all knew this, but here are some numbers.) Largest market share for any one phone is 4 percent.
- There is a lot of upside yet in mobile Internet usage that we haven’t even begun to see yet. Using a browser on most phones is a fairly average experience. When it becomes good in another couple of years, we should expect to see the inventory grow.
I’ve spoken to many small innovative companies that are looking to provide an alternative offering that is lower priced than an incumbent. It’s not a sustainable advantage unless the cost structure is fundamentally lower to provide the same level of service.
We saw it with Wi-Fi – many cities looked to build a third broadband network that they felt would be attractive because the pricing would be somewhat lower than existing players. At first we saw AT&T and Verizon fight these initiatives with legislation. Then we saw that approach fade away, and they simply lowered their entry level pricing.
Here’s another one I saw today. AT&T cut pricing on phone calls to Mexico. See story.
AT&T announced a online complement (My Media Net) to their mobile portal that allows users to personalize their home page content. It’s a good step forward though not yet “game-changing.” Only a handful of the cell phone users we surveyed were interested in such a feature, but a fairly high percentage of those already browsing are. Consumers will want quick access to glaceable content – the content they want on a regular basis. The personalization feature speeds this process while not assuming that what I want to see daily is what you want to see.
Verizon Wireless announced a partnership with Verve Wireless to bring Verve’s local content to Verizon’s portal. (See Fierce story)
I realize it probably doesn’t seem like a big deal to most people, but twice as many people are interested in this service as have used it to date. Total use of the service may only be a few percent of mobile subscribers, but I think it’s going to take a lot of these little pieces adding up to create a content offering appealing to the mass market.
I also like the option of on-the-spot registration.
Another day in the life of Julie … if you’re killing time, why not do some field research ….
I had some time to kill at a local bank recently. (Had left my ATM card in the machine, and the only person with keys was out moving her car and getting coffee).
(Forgot the iPhone at home so couldn’t watch TV. Figured taking photos wouldn’t be cool so I was just standing around waiting.)
I noticed a brochure for Mobile Banking on the counter. The front piece was good. It read “Get What’s NEXT in BANKING” with a photo of a cell phone and “mobile banking” in smaller print. It was also nicely laid out. The inside cover focused first on the benefits with the enrollment process on the second page. One might argue that those who visit branches might not be the early adopters, but why not put the brochures out. They were at least easier for me to understand than the pyramids of 7-up cans.
The tellers weren’t that busy so I surveyed them – “What do you know about the program?,” “Do many people pick up brochures?,” “Do many people ask about the service?,” “Do you know how the service works?,” etc. They didn’t really have any information. They didn’t understand how it worked. They basically told me that I’d have to go online to check it out. I did eventually check it out, and it looked to be a pretty good site though I couldn’t go that deep because I’m not a customer.
One of the key pieces of driving adoption of new services is customer education. I believe this program was still being trialed, and they weren’t looking to drive mass adoption. That said, having the folks locally understand the service, the sign-up process, etc. wouldn’t hurt. At least at this branch, folks seemed to have some time on their hands.
And if you’re curious … I did get my ATM card back. No photo ID required – I just had to ID the lost item.