Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What will bring the money in for telcos?

Well, that’s what I was discussing yesterday at Telecom TV during a live panel session with Camille Mendler from Yankee Group, Edmond Osstyn from Alcatel-Lucent, Ian Scales and Robert Coren from Telecom TV with some extra questions and feedback from the live web audience. It was a lively session and lots of fun to do. We talked about the implications, issues and opportunities for mobile network operators with regards to mobile marketing, strategic partnerships and application stores; where and how would they make the money, what can be done, and what are the challenges they face. Anyway, if you’d like to take a look, you can see it here

Telecom TV panel session march 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

News International puts its cards on the table

This is the internal communication that went out to all News International staff today in reference to how they’ll be changing their digital proposition. It’ll be interesting to see this play out over the coming weeks. Will it bring a sea change in both journalism and publishing (as they are in fact different things)? They’re not alone in changing their approach. Hearst recently made a dramatic move and removed all their mobile websites for their US titles last November and have now switched to a paid-for mobile apps strategy. The jury’s still out on this paid content lark and I don’t suppose we’ll know the answers until it actually happens with our UK mainstream media too.


Message from Rebekah Brooks

Those of you that subscribe to The Times and The Sunday Times or have registered on Times Online will receive a communication starting from this week inviting you to register for an exclusive preview of the new digital proposition. This shows that we are getting closer to the launch of the titles’ new digital sites.

I have made no secret of our intention to start charging for quality journalism online. As you may have seen speculation in the media about our plans, I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know why we believe this is such an important development.

We are committed to producing quality journalism that is written by professionals with a profound understanding of their subject and a commitment to provide well-informed coverage of the issues. Each of our titles, in its own way, has pioneered quality, professional journalism and we are unashamed to say we believe it has value.

In contrast, the industry is making the mistake of chasing millions of unique users by giving the audience more and more content for free. An obsession with traffic just doesn’t pay.

Great journalism needs investment and we are committed to supporting the fantastic work that you are all producing and delivering to our audiences. It is the quality of the journalism that you create, and the ways in which we produce and distribute it, that will continue to set our titles apart from the competition.

And to be clear, when we talk about charging for our content online, we are talking about charging a fair price. Price alone will not be a barrier to take up. Of course, we expect to see the numbers of unique users of our sites come down dramatically. But the people who register to our new digital products will be customers who have made a positive decision to pay a fair price for journalism that they value, and they will be those who are more committed to and engaged with our titles.

This is an exciting development for our company especially as we will be among the first in the world to take this step. There are many who declare we have set ourselves an impossible task. But our company loves nothing more than challenging the status quo.

Shortly I will update you on our plans in more detail. But, in the meantime, I believe that with the combined force of your talent, commitment and hard work, we will, in the months and years to come, define a new future in the way we create, deliver and profit from our journalism.

Rebekah Brooks

Chief Executive, News International

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Random links… not necessarily about mobile

In fact, not about mobile at all, but more of a case of me keeping a track on what I’m looking at so I can find the links again! But rather than keeping it private, I like to share, so here you go…

Whilst in Spain, I was very spoilt with great coffee every day. You can’t go to a cafe in Spain and have a bad coffee. At least I didn’t manage to with Cafe Cortado coming out tops everywhere. But it’s not always guaranteed here in London. So I’m on a mission to find decent coffee shops and plan to work my way around some of the suggestions on this list here from Time Out. Then pal Carlo Longino of Mobhappy fame pointed me to this recent article from the New York Times so I have even more to check out. Now where’s the app where I can sort out all the places I want to go to at some point rather than the ‘where shall I go to today?’ and ‘what’s near me now?’ type app for my Nexus One or N95 8GB (yes, I’m using both simultaneously – I’m not ready to be weaned off my beloved N95 yet). 

Who knew there were so many legal freebies out there on the interwebz…? Well maybe you did, but I didn’t. This is all news to me. Well, not quite true, I knew it was kinda out there but didn’t know where to find it, but now I do. So I’ve been dipping into some of these selections which are just too good not to share. – I’m a big Cary Grant fan so very pleased to see some of his movies in the list. – just a great resource to learn about a huge range of things. No excuse to not expand the mind. (actually, I’m enjoying some free audiobooks on my Nexus One too with the nattily named Audiobooks application). I say this every year after I’ve been at Mobile World Congress, that I really must learn Spanish. But I’m going to do it. I need to be able to ask for more than a beer, a coffee and some tapas. So I’ll be looking at some of the Spanish options available. It’s going to require some concentration to do this, but I’m willing to give it a go. The challenge will be turning everything else off so I don’t get distracted reading an email or web article in English when I’m listening to Spanish!

Right, back to the grindstone….

Where mobile meets media…

It’s a big topic. We’re led to believe that the mainstream media world is in trouble with declining advertising revenues and difficulty in matching available revenues with cost of production. And not only that, there’s a whole new world of mobile and social media out there with unclear revenue models. Where do you place your bets? Do you knock down your existing business to create the new one? Do you wait before making your move but risk missing the boat altogether. These are all questions the answers to which are still unclear.

So with this in mind, I’ve pulled together a few links which may help shed some light if you’re mulling these kinds of questions over too.

There’s the FT Digital Media and Broadcasting Conference which was on yesterday and today. Although I’m not there, and despite the distinct lack of women speakers (i.e. only one across two days – Jeez, is this really 2010?! Come on – you can do better), nevertheless I’m following some of the tweets from it and there are some gems in there. Have a look for the hashtag #FTMedia10 and follow FTDigitalMedia on Twitter. I’m sure there’ll be some news and blog coverage coming out of this conference too, so watch this space.

A *must read* article is this one Understanding the participatory news consumer – a comprehensive breakdown of the latest Pew Internet research showing what the US digital news consumer is up to on their mobile phone. I’m not going to repeat what the article covers, but it shows that mobile internet users access the internet more often than their fixed line counterparts:

“On-the-go news consumers:  Who are they?

The typical on-the-go news consumer is a white male, age 34, who has graduated from college and is employed full-time.  Given their younger profile, it is not surprising that 40% of this group are parents of young children (compared with 30% of the general adult population), and 32% have never been married.  One in three (32%) live in households with incomes of $75,000 or more. As a subset of the broader mobile internet population, on-the-go news consumers reflect many of their characteristics (see table below).

Not surprisingly, on-the-go news consumers maximize their cell phone use.  They are 67% more likely than other cell phone users to text message, more than twice as likely to take pictures with their phones, and four times as likely to use their phones to instant message.  They are also especially heavy internet users—80% of this on-the-go group are online on a given day, compared with just 67% of other internet users—and they engage in activities such as blogging (20% v. 11%), using social networking sites (73% v. 48%), and using status update sites like Twitter (29% v. 14%) at significantly higher rates than other internet users.”

And this topic or where mobile meets media was also on our minds in Barcelona during Mobile World Congress where the UKTI hosted a Mobile Monday London panel session discussing this very topic. Paul Skeldon from Telemedia 360 took some video of it, the highlights of which you can see here. It's in four parts with Russell Buckley, VP of Global Alliances at Admob chairing, and Chris Boden from Lonely Planet, Lucie McLean from the BBC, Steve Ives, CEO at Taptu and yours truly on the panel.

Is Traditional Media Dead?

Is Advertising Dead?

Are Applications Dead?

Will the iPad Save Us?

Paul also covered the panel session in this month’s Telemedia 360’s PDF newsletter which is worth a read if media and mobile is your game. [You can download a free copy from their website.] I am widely quoted in the article but to get the full context, it’s probably best to view the videos *and* read the article too to get the whole picture.

If anyone else out there has interesting links to share around the topic of where media meets mobile, then please do share in the comments below, or email me and I’ll add them to the article.