Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wednesday linkage

Nokia is opening up via its Adlabs to teach the world how to advertise on mobile. This is a good thing and I agree with Mike Baker that the objections of reach and metrics are obsolete. I would agree that creative teams are holding things back, but most importantly of all, agencies still haven't worked out how to a)add value in mobile initiatives and b)charge a fair price. I had an interesting conversation with an industry pal yesterday who said he'd seen 'traditional' agencies mark up project quotes by up to 400%. And then the agencies in question wondered why they didn't win the pitch. Hmm.

Mobile operators are up in arms at the prospect of having to reduce their EU roaming and SMS rates within the bloc. And it's about time too that those charges were reduced. It makes no sense to me to pay 40p for a text message (but only 20p for a MMS message) and £7.50 per megabyte when roaming in Europe. Distance is not an issue these days. I look forward to the day when it's all reasonably and fairly priced. Well, a girl can dream can't she?!

The VC community is betting on mobile for future digital investments according to KPMG.

"With a focus on mobile entertainment, venture capitalist opinions vary when
asked about which mobile entertainment applications would dominate market
revenue in 2009, though social networks was the favorite with 31 percent of the
responses. Rounding out the top five applications were gaming (20 percent),
video (14 percent), music downloads (20 percent) and user-generated applications
(10 percent). Additionally, 90 percent of VC respondents believe mass adoption
of mobile video consumption will take off in the next five years, and 60 percent
expect it will happen within the next three years. "Activity in the market
clearly indicates that the mobile space has become a significant area of
opportunity for venture capitalists," said Brian Hughes, KPMG partner based
inPhiladelphia and co-leader of its venture capital practice. "The population of
consumers who prefer to receive content via their mobile devices is a rapidly
growing segment of the market, and VCs have shown keen interest. We've seen new funds created specifically for the mobile sector, and social media also
continues to gain traction." "

Mobile TV - is it going to happen?

Is Mobile TV reaching a Tipping Point? A recent report suggests there is consumer demand for the service. The US-based report from Quickplay tell us

"Nearly half of respondents (44%) do not know if their mobile operator even
offers a mobile TV and video service and a third (33%) of those questioned
cited cost as the main barrier for not accessing mobile TV. The demand for
consumers to watch mobile TV is there, with 65 per cent of respondents stating
that they are willing to spend time watching an advert if it meant that the
mobile TV or video content they consume is free or discounted. On the other side
of the coin, if mobile TV and video were to be charged for, 22 per cent said
that they would prefer a pay-per-use business model and 13 per cent outlined a
preference for an additional monthly subscription that would deliver the
content without adverts."
My own feeling is that Mobile TV will be a bit like cameraphones. No-one ever really saw the need for a cameraphone - who would want to take photos on the go? But it's hard for many to imagine getting a phone without a camera these days. Mobile TV will be like that. At the point that it's just there - there's a button on the keypad that says 'TV' and you press it and the TV comes on, and it's free or bundled with your tarriff in some way, it will become a no-brainer.

And despite Mobile TV being a small market today, it is already generating some nice revenues for network operators. In Italy, mobile TV revenues are already Euro 65.9m vs their mobile music revenues which stand at just Euros 16.3m (full-track and ringtones).

I suspect the research report may be a little biased as it has been commissioned by a Mobile TV services provider and there were only 500 respondents which is not representative of a country of 300m+. Nevertheless, the findings are pretty much in keeping with other stuff I've read on the topic.

Interesting days for TV.

T-Mobile UK doesn't understand mobile web

or it's customers!

T-Mobile as a network operator has pioneered, to some extent, the mobile web by being an early adopter of fixed rate mobile data plans. They also opened up their portal to the wider web rather than focussing on creating and managing their own portal. I stick with them because T-Mobile has been value for money so far.

But I reckon there are some very weak links in the organisation for this to happen:

Message just received via SMS: "From 28 July we're increasing the charges for calling some numbers beginning with 08. For full details please visit our website at"

Can someone tell me why this information couldn't have been put into a mobile friendly page with a direct link so I can check it there and then? After all, it's only a list - there's nothing complex in there. And where do they get off putting up their prices anyway for this without any explanation as to why beyond 'according to OFCOM guidelines' with no link to said guidelines. In some cases the cost has gone up 400%. I find it hard to believe that OFCOM has been telling network operators to *increase* their prices. Details below:

08xx number changes
To make things clearer for our customers, we have aligned our 08 number charges with local and national calls to follow the latest Ofcom guidelines. These calls aren't included as part of your allowance in any of our price plans.

The table below will give you an overview of how your price plan has been affected by the change, the 08xx numbers affected and details of how the prices are changing.
08 number changes

0870 / 0871 / 0844 / 0845

Tarriff Current Charge New Charge
Flext 10p 20p
Combi 10p 30p
Solo 10p 30p
Everyone Off-Peak 10p 30p off peak / 5p on peak
My Faves 10p 30p
Freetime 10p 40p off peak / 5p on peak
Family 10p 20p
Relax 10p 12p
Just SIM 10p 30p
Web'n'Walk / Data Plans 10p 20p
N.b. Call charges are in pence per minute.
Changes will all take affect from the 28th July 08. If you have any additional queries please contact Customer Services by dialling 150 from your mobile phone.


Of course this isn't the first time, and probably not the last. I have countless useless marketing and service messages from T-Mobile - the most memorable being the one promoting Euro 2004 England football content. My surname might be Keegan, but I'm not related to the footballer and it doesn't mean I like football. I've never suggested I'm into football for one minute and my footie-mad pals would concur. But even if I was a football fan, they sent the message the day *after* the match that England *lost*. When will they ever learn...?