Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ofcom's Nations and Regions Communications Annual is out now

This is Ofcom’s third annual review of the markets for television, radio, and telecommunications, showing detailed data for the nations and regions across the UK.

Some key points from their press release which you may find interesting (with my comments in italics) are:
  • In the previous two years, take-up of broadband was strikingly lower in rural than in urban areas. This year, the data suggest that, taken as a whole, rural areas have caught up – in fact, slightly overtaken urban areas. Overall, 57% of UK homes now have a broadband internet connection, up from 45% a year earlier. I think this is great news as it has felt that broadband uptake had remained relatively static. I'm interested to see how the broadband providers cope with the increasing popularity of the BBC iplayer and other TV channel's video offerings. It's using up a *lot* of bandwidth.

  • There are other striking patterns; in the UK’s biggest cities, such as Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, and Manchester, an ever-larger segment of the population is living without the use of fixed-line telephony. Across the UK as a whole, 87% of homes have a fixed-line telephone (down three percentage points from last year). The 12% of homes which rely on mobile phones only are able, increasingly, to access broadband through wireless technology. I still have a landline but I barely use it - I only have it for accessing broadband as I can't get cable in my area. It seems to me to be a terrible waste of money (and a nice little earner for BT) to keep the line but it's essential thus far.

  • People are also using broadband to download video. This report suggests that 30% of adults have taken advantage of video downloading, although on a city-by-city analysis, the hottest hotspots are Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh. I thought this figure would have been higher - I need to explore this section in the report further.

  • There are many other such fascinating points of detail in the pages that follow. Social networking, as Ofcom has previously reported, is now enjoyed by one in five UK adults. This report suggests that the people of Northern Ireland are among the UK’s most avid social networkers. Across the UK, these sites are most popular among young people. I wonder if that's because the Northern Irish like to chat?! (I have pals from North of the Border in Ireland and they *do* like to talk... I'm jesting! But seriously, if you think facebook is huge in the UK now, it still has some way to go in the market place if we're still at 20% penetration of usage.

  • Another big trend is the fact that more than 85% of UK homes now have digital television – ten percentage points higher than a year ago and a significant milestone to have passed in the year in which digital switchover began, in Copeland, Cumbria. At the same time, take-up of digital radio continues to grow, with one in five adults reporting that they have a DAB digital radio at home. Digital here we come. Now if only the signal were reliable in my area... oddly enough, I can actually see the Crystal Palace mast from the end of my road but my signal can be patchy despite the proximity. And if I have my laptop and mobile going at the same time, I quickly get interference on the signal. Sigh.

Anyway, the Ofcom report is a must-read to get the lowdown on the state of the communications market in the UK. It's a veritable mine of well-researched information. Oh, and even better, it's free!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How not to do mobile marketing... Subway style

A friend just alerted me to this review of Subway's latest mobile marketing effort in the US. It's a tale of how not to do mobile couponing essentially. I suggest you give it a good read, but the upshot is that the coupons are only available in a few locations, namely Buffalo, NY and Seattle, WA markets. I can understand starting with some kind of pilot scheme, it makes sense to iron out any issues with a smaller set of customers before going national.

Anyway, back to the campaign. It's supported by the My Subway Mobile website and with flyers in store locations (where the offer is valid). The author of the article, Jay Holcomb, tells us about his experience:

"... despite my sincerest efforts, I had a very difficult time at both Subway locations where I tried to redeem my code that allows for a free sub upon creating account. Each location had the campaign flyers at the cash register, but the problem was to be found in the employees themselves: they had no idea about the campaign! I pointed it out to a total of four employees in these two locations, and no one had ever heard of it before."

A campaign is only as good as it's weakest link and clearly, in Subway's case, the staff were the weakest link. Or was it that staff training was the weakest link. There's no point dumping a load of flyers on your shop counter with the latest offer if you don't brief your team properly. That's something we learned very quickly back in ZagMe days and we spent a lot of time working with store staff and their teams bringing them up to speed with the latest offers and how it all worked.

Mobile marketing isn't just about the technology. The technology is only a small part of it. Your people, your brand, your service all play a part in it too.

You have been warned... don't make the same mistake!

Tesco supports m-retail... or does it?

For those of you who don't know already, I spent the best part of 10 years of my working life in retail - mostly fashion, and mostly in and around London's Oxford Street and Knightsbridge. Later on in my career, I worked for ZagMe, the location based marketing company who marketed to customers via SMS at Lakeside and Bluewater shopping malls, and much of that time was spent working with retailers creating and running campaigns for them. So I have more than a passing interest in things retail.

So I've been keeping an eye on the m-retail or m-commerce world and was very interested to see that UK grocery retailer, Tesco has joined the world of m-retail after successful trials of ordering flowers via mobile for Valentine's Day and Mother's Day.

As an aside, Tesco also claims that it's wap portal is a great success attracting over 300,000 customers in December last year. And not only that, but that's it's customers are hungry for ads.

"Banner advertising served up on the portal delivered a click-through rate to tailored WAP campaign sites of between three and seven per cent, said Tesco. Brands advertising on the portal included Bee Movie, ITV, Nivea and Teletext.

Tesco said the user-base of the portal has a strong segment of female household budget owners with an average age of 36 - a demographic it said is particularly valuable for fast-moving consumer goods such as toiletries and cleaning products.
According to a survey commissioned by Tesco, more than half (60 per cent) of portal users are female and the same percentage said they visit the portal at least once a month, while 69 per cent claimed they would click on a relevant advert."

So this all bodes well for entering the world of m-commerce. So I thought I'd check it out.

Alas for me, going to from my mobile takes me to the main Tesco website with no adaption for the mobile screen whatsoever - large file sizes (well comparatively large when dealing with mobile), navigation required up/down and left/right so you can't actually see anything properly.

It occurred to me that they'd probably done a mobile specific site so I also tried and and neither of those worked.

So it looks like I can't do a review of the service for you.

I then thought, well maybe it's for Tesco Mobile customers only (Tesco Mobile being the pay as you go MVNO with O2), especially since their wap portal has been such a success.

And then I saw how much data charges were on Tesco Mobile... £4 per megabyte. Yes, that's right, a whopping £4 a megabyte. And there's no mention of whether or not access to the Tesco Mobile Portal is free of charge or not. In fact, there's no mention at all of any Tesco Mobile Portal or any Tesco mobile shopping service.

There's a free Tesco sim offer on at the moment, I may give it a go although I really don't fancy spending £4 a megabyte to check out their mobile portal and m-commerce offerings.

On the commercial side of the equation, I know that 02 is heavily pushing mobile retail services and is touting Tesco as it's major success story and case study (there's even a video I've seen about it). But if you're going to make your shop invisible and then charge for entry, isn't that just a bit daft?

Hmm. What's going on?

If anyone can shed any light on what's going on with Tesco m-retail and Tesco's wap portal and relevant data charges, please let me know either via the blog or via email.

And on a parting note, I think this quote (via from Ashley Schofield, head of customer management at Tesco Mobile, is somewhat ironic:
"Our customers are showing a real appetite for more products and services
through the mobile internet. Delivering more great experiences and value through
our portal is a priority for this year."

Ashley, I'm not sure how you can deliver more great experiences and more value through the portal when you're charging £4 a megabyte.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Technokitten's upcoming London gigs

I'm a busy lady this month with several speaking engagements and workshops lined up both public events and clients. I thought it might be useful to let you know about the public events in case any of you lovely readers were in London town and fancied coming along to share your knowledge and wisdom with us.

MoMo London
I kick off on Monday 2nd June at MoMo London with "Wassup in Mobile Media and Marketing?"
I'm chairing a high-level panel discussion on current mobile web, services and applications from a media and marketing perspective. We'll take a look at everything from mobile web to proximity to messaging to games and highlight creative execution and effective campaigns. We'll also discuss what media-owners and agencies want and how we as an industry should or could respond. We will also be challenging our expert panel to take a glimpse into the future and tell us what's catching their eye on the mobile horizon and what they think will capture the public's attention in the future.

Panellists include Matthew Postgate from the BBC and Stephen Pinches from the Financial Times and the event is being held at the Royal Statistical Society near Moorgate tube

Those details again:

Theme: Wassup in Mobile Media and Marketing?
When: Monday June 2nd (doors open at 6pm as usual)
Where: Royal Statistical Society, 12 Errol Street, London, EC1Y 8LX, UK (
Our kind sponsor: Wireless Foundry!

To register, please add yourself to the list here:

Next up, on Monday 9th June, I'm leading a panel on mobile advertising at this one-day conference focussed on mobile search and the impact it will have on different sectors of the mobile industry. There's a discount code available for this conference available over at mashable.

Being Digital
Third time lucky is the Being Digital conference on Tuesday 10th June where I'm opening the day with a panel session on digital advertising. As well as the usual conference type discussions, there will also be a dedicated demo area and presentation sessions showcasing the latest offerings from companies breaking new ground in the digital world.

Cass Creatives
More details to come on this one but basically Cass Creatives is celebrating their 5th birthday and are inviting back some of their favourite speakers to join the birthday panel session to see whether the interactive revolution has actually happened in the last 5 years. More details to come as I get them. In the meantime, there's a facebook group to join.

Then on the social side, there's Minibar Mobile this Friday, the NMA social on 18th June, The Guitar Hero on Mobile launch night courtesy of Mobile Entertainment Magazine on 5th June, an Unlimited Drinks night from (date tbc), a Women in Mobile Data Association reception on 1st July and a Mobile Geeks of London night at the end of July. I'm also heading out to Barcelona for Mobile 2.0 and plan to hang there for the weekend (subject to flights and accommodation). Who knows, I might even try and squeeze in a Swedish Beers night in too at some point as I'm gutted I can't make the Sydney launch party tomorrow night.

Phew, and on top of all that, I do actually have a day job and clients to work with... oh yeah, and a festival season to squeeze in too. When will they invent a human cloning machine?!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Another case of billshock

Billshock is an oft-used term in mobile circles to describe what happens when you use data services without having any kind of data plan in place and you suddenly get stung for a bill of, what can be, hundreds, if not thousands of pounds.

I've had billshock in the past and it wasn't pleasant. But it wasn't extreme as the case Ian Delaney is currently experiencing.

In short, he was sold an upgrade by one of Carphone Warehouse's telesales team and sent a swanky new Nokia N95 on trial for 14 days. In getting the upgrade, Ian also committed to a monthly data plan. Ian uses the phone to its full effect and tried out lots of lovely new data services. And was enjoying what the mobile internet had to offer.

What he wasn't counting on was having his service cut off very suddenly when trying to make a call and to be told that the reason was that he had a bill of around £500 to pay. On investigation, it seems that the data plan wasn't immediately effective and so billshock ensued, to the tune of £500 or so.

Ian has been trying, so far in vain, to get this sorted out. And he describes, in some detail, the hoops he's had to jump through. I think he's justified in getting annoyed about this because as far as he was concerned, he had an unlimited data plan and no-one told him any different. Of course, navigating the customer services people at Carphone Warehouse is proving very tricky as you'll see from his blog post.

I don't condone what Carphone Warehouse and O2 is doing. They're both at fault.

1. There is no point sending out a fancy new phone with a new contract in place but not have that contract actually in place for another two weeks. That's just daft.

2. O2 should not be allowing its customers to run up such uncharacteristically high bills for data usage. Why not send a courtesy text message or phone call to alert the customer as to what's going on? It's not that hard to do is it? It's common courtesy.

3. Carphone Warehouse should take responsibility for this and apologise to Ian and find a way to cancel the debt owed and start afresh. I'm guessing that it's actually O2's billing system that's at fault and that it's just not that easy to write off a debt of this nature. The reason pre-pay has been so popular in the UK is that, historically, it was harder to get a mobile phone contract than a credit card so it was just simpler to go to your local supermarket, Superdrug or phone shop and get a phone off the shelf without worrying about credit checks and onerous contracts.

4. Customer service is hard to manage when you have no control about the kinds of decisions you're allowed to make to keep the customer happy and to do the right thing. I've been a retail manager and I know what it's like to be dictated to as to what you could and couldn't do to make things right when they sometimes go wrong. You get a lot of responsibility but no control or autonomy. And that's very stressful. There are so many processes and checks to follow that it becomes very long-winded and almost impossible to manage.

Ultimately, both O2 and Carphone Warehouse need to sort this out. And not just Ian's individual case, but the whole issue around billshock and data charges. To still be suffering this nonsense in 2008 when we've had mobile data services for several years now is just plain daft and it's hampering growth in the mobile data sector.

I wonder when Ofcom will do something about this?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Swedish Beers launche Down Under

Not content with London and Barcelona, we're very excited to announce that Swedish Beers is launching Down Under with its inaugural event next week in Sydney.

The team behind the launch is Jen² (Jennifer Hiley of 5th Finger and Jennifer Wilson of Lean Forward) and they've booked the charming Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe for your pleasure.

We all know Aussies love their beer and with mobile penetration at more than 100%, it looks like we also love our mobiles so we reckon you'll also love Swedish Beers Mobile Networking. Come along and join us for a beer or three and plenty of chat at The Redoak Boutique Beer Café. Drinking commences @ 5.30pm. Nothing formal, no speakers, no powerpoint, nothing flashy, just turn up and mingle and hang out with folks from the mobile, marketing and media worlds. So if you're friendly, enjoy mixing and have a passing interest in mobile, then come and hang out with the nice Swedish Beers folks Down Under. No need to RSVP unless you'd really like to but do spread the word to your colleagues and friends.

If the London and Barcelona events are anything to go by, this promises to be a good 'un so you'd better be there to check out the action!

What: Swedish Beers launches Down Under
When: Wednesday 28th May from 5.30pm
Where: The Redoak Boutique Beer Café, 201 Clarence Street, Sydney, Australia. (Here's a map)

Unfortunately the London crew won't be there to enjoy the first event Down Under, but we've left you in the capable hands of Jen² in our absence.


What is Swedish Beers?
Swedish Beers is an ad-hoc mobile networking event (run roughly quarterly) by British mobilists, Helen Keegan (aka technokitten) and Steve Flaherty of RespondMobile. It has been running in London since October 2001 and in Barcelona for the last 3 years. Find us on facebook too.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Did you know

Rockstar Games' recently launched Grand Theft Auto IV was the most successful video game launch in history, earning $500 million in its first week.

I knew it was big, but I didn't realise *how* big.

[And yes, I do know that this has nothing to do with mobile, I just thought it was really interesting.]

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Eight Random Things About Me

I got tagged by Thayer on this a couple of months and thought it was about time I responded. I'm pretty sure I've had this meme before but it's probably quite a while ago so probably time for a new one. So here are my 'Eight Random Things About Me'. Sorry it's taken me so long Thayer!

1. John Archer gave me chicken pox. Yes, that's right, as in John Archer, from BBC Radio 4's long-running soap The Archers. The actor who played him, Sam Barriscale, was in youth theatre with me and we were both in Peter Pan. I played Slightly Soiled and he played Tootles. Anyway, young Sam had been given the all-clear from the doc re his chicken pox. Only the doctor got it wrong and Sam gave three of us chicken pox, right in the middle of rehearsals. It was touch and go whether we'd be well enough to go on, but we made it!

The Lost Boys backstage

2. I run a brownie pack in Tooting. And my brownies love doing all the same things that I used to love doing when I was a brownie. Very reassuring in this digital day and age.

3. I'm good with a needle and thread. I started making clothes for my Sindy doll when I was about 7 and then started making my own clothes when I was 10. The first proper garment I made was a blue floral cotton A-line skirt. I did this at school and really enjoyed it. So much so, that my father bought me a sewing machine. I've been sewing ever since, although I don't have the time and space to do this much nowadays.

4. I have a left ear advantage. That means I hear better in my left ear than my right. This is common in women apparently.

5. I have a thing for shoes. I'm trying to control it. It's hard!

6. Barcelona is my favourite city outside of London. Many a good time to be had in that city and many wonderful people to meet and hang out with. Including the inspirational women at Linqia.

7. I had my first TV appearance when I was 6 on Pebble Mill at One. My moment of glory was blowing a whistle to camera to get the litter picking started. (My primary school were drafted in to kick start a pick-up litter campaign).

8. I've ridden an elephant in the Thai jungle and got attacked by ants as a result as the elephant decided to disturb an ant's nest in marching its way through the trees.

9. My favourite place on earth is Port Erin in the Isle of Man. I wish my family still had an apartment there. I miss it. This is me, aged about 6, in Port Erin with my big sister.

Sisters in Port Erin

10. I spent a summer in Great Yarmouth when I was very small. This is my favourite picture of that summer, taken by my father.

helen in yarmouth

As for tagging other folks, I'm going to leave it to my readers to be proactive and pick up on the thread as they see fit!

Tuesday tidbits

Such a lovely afternoon here in London town and yet, I'm sat behind a keyboard instead of supping something chilled and sparkling in the sunshine by the river. Hey ho!

Since I am sat at a keyboard, I thought I'd share some links with you of interesting stuff I've been looking at recently.

The iphone

What young people think of the Iphone

They're smart these youngsters. They can appreciate good design, but also understand features and benefits. And they're clearly not all Apple fanboys and fangirls. SMSTextNews has a youthful roving reporter who's been asking his mates what they think of the Iphone. Isaah, 15, first did this back in November last year. And he has revisited his pals and got them to actually play with an Iphone and tell us what they think. His friends have mixed feelings about it - some don't like that it doesn't have buttons, for others the camera is important and not good enough on the Iphone. For others, they think it's 'wicked man'. We all know you can't please all of the people all of the time. Worth a look for the genuine comments. Next time Issah, can you record it so we can hear the comments please?

I love Blykwatch on SMSTextNews. Ricky, SMSTextNews' resident Blyk Watcher, has given us an update today with the lowdown on the marketing messages received, some comments about customer service and thoughts on data usage and mobile internet. All really good stuff and well worth a read. Oh, and for those of you who don't know, Blyk is the free mobile network aimed at 16 to 24 year olds and it's ad-funded. If you're interested in some of the detail of their campaigns, then look no further than their media site. And for some further customer insight, it might be worth checking out the Blyk customer forums.

Dizzler Rocks!
No really, it does. Dizzler is a free downloadable application allows users to search online and play free music, videos, games, and radio stations on their desktop or mobile device. I've just been playing with it online, and aside from the fact that I haven't been able to update my profile, the music playing bit of it has been working extremely well and there's a very comprehensive back catalogue available.
And while we're at it, twitter rocks too because that's how I heard about it from my network of twitter pals. MobileMaggie was twittering thanks to Freecloud for alerting her to Dizzler. So I took up the beacon and checked it out too and in turn shared the Dizzler love with J_Mac who wrote about it here.

A mobile video success story - Channel 4

Big up to the folks at Channel 4 and their Embarassing Bodies series. As part of the series, they encouraged viewers to text in to get a link to download a video showing them how to check their bits to spot things they should be going to the doctor about. This is supported by a very comprehensive website. All the content is free to view but standard network rates apply.

Anyway, they've had very impressive results and you can read all about it over on Alfie's blog.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Key facts about youth and mobile - May 2008

The slide set is viewable on slideshare courtesy of our friends at Mobile Youth who happen to do a terrific report on mobile youth. There are some juicy facts and figures in there so it's well worth a look. And in the meantime, I have chosen a few here to share with you along with some of my thinking on their relevance.
  • If you think that mobile youth isn't significant, then think again. 2.6 billion people in the world are under 30 and that is greater than the population of India and China combined.

  • 1.1 billion under 30s own a mobile phone and this is growing at a furious rate of just under 100,000 a year. I'm guessing this is faster than the rate of growth of broadband in this age-group. With the added benefit that mobile is very personal, whereas, typically, broadband usage on PC may be in a shared environment at college or on a family PC.

  • 10% of a young person's disposable income is spent on mobile products and services. This includes calls, texts, the phone itself and other data and entertainment products. Bear in mind, this market didn't exist 10 years ago in the youth sector. Pay as you go phones only really took off in the mainstream in the UK and Europe in 1999 and 2000. Which, incidentally, is when ringtones started hitting the mainstream.

  • By 2010 (only 2 years away), it's predicted that young people will spend $300 billion on mobile products and services, of which a third will be on mobile data. So voice is still the major revenue centre for mobile network operators and will be for the foreseeable future.

  • By 2012 (only 4 years away), 500 million Indian youth will own a mobile phone. That kinda dwarves the growth potential in Europe and the US in terms of volume at least. It will also be interesting to see how lucrative this market is as the Indian economy grows. Traditionally Indian mobile companies have been focussed on the rest of the world to drive revenues, but maybe it's time to focus on customers a bit closer to home?

  • The average Japanese 25 year old spends $100 a month on mobile. That's a lot of money that previously might have been spent on music, going out, smoking, drinking or fashion.

  • The lifetime value of a young mobile consumer is $28,000. But they're highly brand promiscuous and have little loyalty to their network operator. And by age 35, the lifetime value of data spend of a young consumer has already halved. So the advice is to get them young and retain those customers.

As Tony Robbins might say 'hmm, something to think about'.

Big growth predicted for Mobile Social Networking

eMarketer forecasts that mobile social networking will grow from 82 million users in 2007 to over 800 million worldwide by 2012. As you can see from the image below, the millions of subscribers are a small percentage seeing as we've already hit 3 billion subscribers globally. But the potential for growth is clear. And early findings suggest a strong customer demand for mobile social networks. This doesn't surprise me in the least as mobile is all about *communication* and *community* and social networks fulfil both those needs so tying in with mobile makes perfect sense.

As discussed at the recent Mobile Youth Workout, we already know that mobile social networking is driving data usage on mobile. Typically, Japanese youth are spending 2 hours a day on the mobile internet - largely for social networking (on sites like Mixi). And with the general growth of facebook, myspace, linkedin, twitter et al, including a big chunk of that on mobile, this growth doesn't seem far-fetched.

"For example, MySpace recorded over 7 million unique visitors to MySpace
Mobile in the US in the six months since launch. "It wasn't until we rolled out that we got a sense of how powerful demand was for MySpace on cell phones," Brandon Lucas, senior director of mobile business development for
MySpace, told eMarketer.

Facebook claimed 4 million unique registrations. Mobile-only social networking players such as airG, Mocospace, myGamma and all reported several million users soon after launch."

And there are more mobile socnets than that - Peperonity with over half a million home pages representing a fraction of its customer base, and Mxit immediately spring to mind, not to mention Cyworld (SK Telecom-owned and now available in the US as well as Asia) and Mobikade and Trutap in the UK.

If mobile social networking is your bag, or where you think your bag should be, then emarketer's new (paid for) report on the topic may well be worth a read.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Ringback tone advertising launch in Turkey

Musings of a Mobile Marketer reader, Refik Çağlayan, let me know about a new mobile marketing technique being launched by Turkcell (the leading network operator in Turkey). They've launched 'TonlaKazan' (which means 'Tone and Win') using ringback tones (those are the ringtones that you hear when you call someone up and are waiting for them to answer). By choosing a branded ringback tone on TonlaKazan, from the likes of Coca Cola, Kraft, Nestle, Nivea, P&G and Unilever, Turkcell customers will win airtime or credits each time their callers listen to said ringback tone. So it's a loyalty scheme rather than a sales promotion.

This is, in effect, pay per listen advertising and if audio is a part of your branding (as it is with many large brands - think how many hit records have been generated on the back of advertising), then this could be very effective as it uses downtime and is potentially more interesting and memorable than listening to the endless ring-ring you would normally hear.
It is possible to become a member of TonlaKazan through web, wap and SMS channels. Customers simply select the branded music of their choice as a RingBack Tone that they want their callers to hear. 4play Digital Workshop is the team behind the idea on behalf of Turkcell.

TonlaKazan has a performance-based pricing model, Cost Per Listening (CPL) in which advertisers are charged according to the amount of branded RingBack Tones that callers hear, providing a measurable advertising channel.

Audio branding is very powerful so there's clearly potential in this idea and the ability to charge and reward by the time listened is a sensible commercial model.

You can preview the tones on the site in full before you choose it. The site is all in Turkish, but if you go to the home page, and click on one of the buttons that say 'Dinle', this will give you a preview. If anyone calls me, they hear a ringback tone (currently the theme tune to Austin Powers - I really must change that!) and underneath the track, you can faintly hear the usual 'ring-ring' sound so that you know you're waiting for me to answer the call as opposed to thinking you might have dialled a wrong number and got through to some kind of IVR (interactive voice response) system. The ringback tones Turkcell is using here is doing the same thing. Underneath the track, you can faintly hear the ringing tone.
The full press release is here.

Interesting, very interesting.

The Tanla Guide to Mobile Marketing and Advertising

If you're reading this blog, then the chances are you have some interest in mobile marketing, advertising and media. And if that's the case, then the chances are you'll find Tanla Mobile's Guide to Mobile Marketing and Advertising very useful. (At least I'm told that it's very useful and worth a look - it's hard to judge your own work).

I wrote the guide for them and it was launched at Mobile World Congress back in February this year. It also has contributions from other experts in the field including Mike Short, Tomi Ahonen, Daniel Appelquist, Gillian Kennedy, Russell Buckley (of Admob and Mobhappy fame), Ben Tatton-Brown from MedioSystems, Gerry Drew from Tanla Mobile, Steve Flaherty and Jessica Sandin.

The content is based on the training courses I've been running for the last few years for the IDM, e-consultancy and the University of Westminster and covers everything from SMS to Mobile TV and discusses the implications for marketers.

The guide is available as a pdf download from the Tanla Mobile website slideshare*. There are a few hard copies available upon request. Just drop me an email to say who you are and where you are if you'd like a hard copy and I'll see what I can do.
*Update September 09: The guide was written in the Autumn/Winter of 2007 but I've had a few requests for it recently so I've put it up on slideshare for you.

Adidas and Samsung team up for miCoach

More than a website, MP3 player or phone, miCoach is a total coaching system that creates personalised training plans, keeps tabs on your stats, and coaches you along the way.

It's a suite of impressive sounding sports coaching services that help you:
  • Find Your Level: miCoach guides you through your first run to determine your fitness level.
  • Set Your Goal: miCoach gives you a range of goals that suit your fitness level, and a series of workouts to help you reach your goal.
  • Get Your Plan: With the help of professional sports’ top trainers, miCoach creates a customized training plan just for you.
  • Play Your Music: miCoach lets you download 4 gigs of music, and can even customize a playlist to match your stride rate.
  • Start Your Run: miCoach gives you audio cues to keep you on pace and in your target heart rate zone for the duration of your run.
  • Track Your Stats: miCoach tracks your pace, distance, calories, stride and heart rate to keep you and your goals on track.
  • Reach Your Goal: miCoach has everything it takes to get you there. The training expertise, the personalized coaching and the music all work together.
It all sounds great. It's only available on the Samsung F110 handset which seems to have the standard things you'd expect from a phone these days - 2mb camera, mp3/4 player, 1Gb flash memory but with the added extra of the ability to keep track of your running data - heart rate, speed, distance and stride and to manage your personal miCoach programme.

The phone is currently on sale at Carphone Warehouse in the UK (and has been for about a month now it seems). In addition, Adidas is offering a £25 voucher for all new miCoach phone owners.

Is this just a marketing gimmick or a genuinely useful bit of kit? I'm a little skeptical because at the moment, it's all focussed on one single handset. If it was software that could be downloaded on to a range of handsets then I believe it would be a much longer term proposition for Adidas. I don't have any figures on how well feature-specific handsets do in the marketplace so it's hard to judge this one. If you're half-way through your contract, would you pay for a sim-free version of this handset? Or is this only something you might consider if your contract was up and this happened to be an option at the time?

Comments please, especially from any handset marketers out there or customers who have a view on this stuff. (I'm trying out disqus which I'm told is very good).

ITV is hit with £5.68m fine for phone-in scandal

Yes, it's true, Ofcom has fined ITV £5.68m for it's phone-in scandals. It sounds like an awful lot of money, but considering they made £7.8m from uncounted votes from the TV programmes in question and about 10 million telephone calls were affected it doesn't actually sound that big anymore. Coupled with the fact that ITV generates profits of upwards of £150m a year it really is small fry.

However, the broadcaster has promised to compensate its customers who were affected adn to give back the sum to charity. Ofcom took this into consideration when deciding upon the fines. The penalty is almost three times higher than the previous record of £2 million that was imposed on GMTV by Ofcom in September 2007.

The programmes that were found to have 'serious editorial issues' between 2003 and January 2007 were Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, Gameshow Marathon and Soapstar Superstar. The full breakdown of the fines can be found here.

ITV wasn't alone in the phone-in scandal stakes. Other TV and radio stations, including those of our much-loved BBC were also culprits. A full breakdown of that can be found over at the BBC.

Let's hope that's the end of these scandals and we can get back to using telephony and messaging appropriately in participation TV.

Have you come up with something radical on mobile?

If so, you have just a a few days to get your entry in to Supernova.
Supernova in San Francisco and Techcrunch are looking for the next great mobile ideas...

"There are plenty of mobile devices and services, but the possibilities are even
greater. For
Mobile Connections at Supernova 2008, we're looking for game-changing innovations that provide a glimpse of the wireless future. This is not a startup contest -- it's a search for ideas. We're challenging anyone to make submissions... but, please, NO commercially-available products/services. We DO want to hear about innovative concepts, prototypes, research lab projects, hacks, and business ideas. If your submission blows us away, we'll invite you to showcase it at Supernova 2008. You'll also enjoy coverage on TechCrunch -- the leading media site covering emerging technologies and companies today; and the Supernova Conversation Hub. There will be no charge for those selected."
Seems like a good opportunity to me as the usual entry fee to the conference is $1695. The closing date is 23rd May 2008 and you can find out more on their website. Good luck!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

MobiTV passes 4m

At least that's what Mobile Entertainment Magazine tells us this month. MobiTV claims to have over 4 million subscribers which is more than all of the IPTV customers in Europe. MobiTV is now adding a million subscribers every 6 months by whitelabelling their streaming TV services for mobile network operators globally.

Bearing in mind that MobiTV isn't the only mobile TV service out there either on or off-portal (Rok for example), I find this very encouraging. And I expect we might find a European surge in interest during Euro 2008 (I'm not sure what impact it will have on the UK market since England isn't playing...).

Yes, mobile TV is still small fry compared with some other mobile services. And implementation and execution to date by the network operators has been poor but it's another of those things that isn't going away.

Update 8 May 2008: Mobile TV is spreading in Europe and to the US (NY Times). "Every day in Switzerland, 40,000 people watch a 100-second television news broadcast on their cellphones. In Italy, a million people pay as much as 19 euros each ($29) a month to watch up to a dozen mobile TV channels."