Mobile Content






Mobile Content

While voice revenues still dominate in all markets, operators worldwide are placing increased emphasis on content and data services as the drivers of their future growth. Traditional media companies see mobile as an attractive source of revenue and are also looking to extend their audience base to mobile subscribers. As a result, cellular companies and content providers are learning to work together. Major music labels, movie studios, and TV broadcasters in Europe, the United States, and Asia have set up mobile development arms. Most major game manufacturers have also developed mobile versions of their leading titles.

As discussed earlier in this chapter, the simple mobile phone is morphing into a futuristic entertainment system and the most exciting new technology platform since the Internet. As of March 2006, there were more than 1 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, which means there were at least that many mobile devices in use, compared to 690 million PCs and laptops. Entertainment giants and newly inspired entrepreneurs are rushing to develop songs, graphics, games, and videos to populate millions of tiny screens on the new "superphones."

Mobile is the fourth screen, after movies, TV, and the PC. Whereas production costs for a big-budget film run about US$1 million per minute, production costs for the mobile world range from US$2,000 to US$8,000 per minute. Some call the mobile phone the most exciting software platform in history. After all, mobile has become an essential part of daily life around the world. There is content for everyonecommuters, cooks, children, adults, sports enthusiasts, navigators, mothers, gamblers, poets, gardeners, musicians, game players, romantics, and so on; the list is as endless as imagination.

Currently the major drivers for mobile content come from the entertainment industry. The following are some examples:

  • MTV (www.mtv.com) is working with operators and content aggregators to deliver SMS- and MMS-based applications to consumers. Applications include VJ recorded messages; exclusive MTV content such as ringtones, logos, news and updates, and picture downloads; and, in the future, streaming video of artist sessions.

  • Time Warner's Turner (www.turner.com) is enabling its millions of NASCAR fans to follow each of NASCAR's 36 races per season live on mobile devices.

  • Disney (www.disney.com), which sells 6,000 items through 48 carriers in 27 countries, sees the mobile phone as a marketing tool, a new form of advertising. With releases of new movies, Disney offers downloadable ringtones, images, and games.

  • Match.com (www.match.com) and MyCupid (www.ideas.singtel.com/dating/i_wap.jsp) let you flirt anytime, anywhere.

  • Vindigo (www.vindingo.com) provides movie reviews and lets you buy tickets and book restaurants. It also offers a bathroom finder service that ranks the nearest public toilets by cleanliness.

  • Picsel Technologies (www.picsel.com) lets you download PowerPoint files and other attachments to your phone. You plug the mobile into a projector via a USB port and let the show go on.

  • "Adult" content is anticipated to produce gigantic revenues on mobile devices, even as it does currently on the Internet.

The rapid growth in mobile communications is having an enormous impact on both national economies and societies. Penetration levels are high around the worldand rising. As new mobile data services are introduced, we are seeing a paradigm shift. Some of the key challenges to deal with include the following:

  • Interoperability There is an urgent need for the industry to improve the interoperability of mobile broadband services.

  • Value-added content The creation of high-value content is mandatory, and there needs to be a regulatory framework for intellectual property rights.

  • E-payments As the volume of mobile payments begins to grow, rules governing the use of "e-money" are required.

  • Base stations and masts Each country must address any regulatory barriers and take action to ensure the growth of wireless broadband services.

  • Spectrum policy Efforts need to be coordinated across regions and ultimately globally to ensure availability and flexible usage.

The many challenges ahead need to be addressed by supporting targeted R&D, supplementing basic research, and accelerating technical innovation.



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