Category Archives: Mobile Devices

How use of mobile devices affect the news, entertainment, and information industries.

Disney Picks ABC and ESPN Mobile Phones News Apps

The Walt Disney Internet Group has contracted with Summus, Inc., a North Carolina developer of wireless multimedia applications, to provide Disney’s ABC News and ESPN subsidiaries’ content to users of some the non-GSM wireless networks in the US. Summus’ press release says that the ABC and ESPN applications will be immediately visible whenever those users turn on their phones. the ABC app will let users to read news stories and view images from various categories. The ESPN app will let them view of the best tricks and stunts from the ESPN X Games and other action sports events.

The Mobile Messaging Generation Gap

FastCompany.com features a transcript of the mobile marketing panel yesterday at the Ad:Tech conference in NYC. Did you know that approximately 30 million Americans are using text messaging? That 150 million US mobile phones can receive text messages? Or that 80% of the SMS traffic comes from users who are 12 to 30 year old? If you’re over 30, you probably just don’t get it.

    (Affirmation: Marketers must never send ads to mobile phone users without those users direct and explicit prior consent.)

The Growth in Wireless Content Use

CyberAtlas today provides us with the following update on mobile content access:

  • Instat/MDR expects the number of worldwide wireless Internet subscribers will have risen from 74 million at the end of 2001 to more than 320 million by the end of 2006.
  • The Radicati Group expects the number of solely wireless e-mail users to grow from 1.99 million worldwide in 2003 to 8.76 million in 2007. Instat/MDR meanwhile predicts that there will be more than 1 billion SMS and MMS subscribers by the end of 2006, up from 305 million at the end of 2001.
  • Solomon-Wolff Associates noted in a July 2002 survey of 6,800 participants that 119 million people in the U.S. owned devices capable of wireless Internet services, and another 33 million showed interest, resulting in a revenue opportunity of more than $4 billion per year. “Naturally, those who already use devices such as wireless phones, laptop computers, and PDAs are more interested in wireless Internet than people who just use desktop PCs,” said Joey Wolff of Solomon Wolff Associates.
  • Yankee Group predicts the U.S. wireless phone market will reach 50 percent penetration by the end of this year. Currently, 12 percent of 18-to-24 year olds in the U.S. use telephone via nothing but mobile phones, with another 28 percent planning to cut the cord over the next 5 years.

We’re watching our former client, Ireland.com (The Irish Times of Dublin), which we believe will earn more this year from its wireless phone content services than from its Web site banner advertising plus its paid online subscriptions. Wireless content services should be ‘no-brainers’ for most non-American periodical publishers and require just a little forethought by American ones, but most prefer to launch new wired services that are less used, more obtuse, and less profitable. That’s too bad.

Mazingo Closes

The US company known as Mazingo (Please note: not the UK company by the same name, so below), which offered magazine and broadcasters multimedia content to owners of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) has closed. The one year-old, San Francisco company’s Web site simply states that “Regrettably, the service can no longer be offered due to the cost of content versus the revenue derived.” Mazingo had been trying to market to its users video content from Fox and NBC, radio reports from The Wall Street Journal radio reports, and text reports from the Weather Channel and USA Today. Prices for that content varied from free to US$14 a month. Mazingo had 50,000 free users, but converted only some 500 users into paying subscribers. Again, The One Percent Rule.

Clarification:

To the Editor-In-Chief

I would be grateful if you could make it clear to your readers that Mazingo Network Inc and Mazingo Limited are completely independent companies operating in different sectors of the market, although both companies transmit rich media content to users.

Mazingo Network specialised in delivering information by the sync’n’go method to PDAs whereas Mazingo Limited, a UK Company, delivers rich media content directly over-the-air (OTA) to Cell Phone users. Please visit: www.mazingo.2sms.com and www.fonecube.com .
I appreciate your assistance.

With best regards
Ray Winter

CEO – Mazingo Limited www.fonecube.com
Chairman – Infocube.net www.infocube.net/screenshots
Chairman – SUMMIT^ www.ulucube.com
Mazingo is also Associated with : www.ulushop.com and www.underu.com

NYT offers daily edition, with photos, to Verizon mobile phones.

The New York Times is now offering almost every of daily news stories and some daily photos to users of Verizon’s mobile phones. Mobile subscribers can also use their handsets to e-mail NYT articles to friends and save NYT photos for use as screen wallpaper on their handset (hey, you Howard Dean fans!). The service costs US$3.75 per month and currently works only with Verizon’s LG and Audiovox handsets (Verizon plans to offer it soon on Samsung and Motorola handsets).

Though advanced by American standards, the technology behind this service isn’t the state-of-the-art elsewhere in the world. Verizon is using Qualcomm’s Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW) data transmission protocol, which is basically a multimedia version of WAP 2.0-compliant and that supports specifications from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA). There are some 80 million BREW devices (including mobile handsets, PDA’s and automobile telematics) in use worldwide. New York Times Digital already offers many text-only WAP services on the Verizon, Spring, Cingular, and Nextel mobile networks, including news, sports, and book reviews. The NYTimes.com Web site itself is already accessible to users of Mobile Digital Assistants (MDAs) on the T-Mobile and AT&T mobile networks, just as it is to anyone on the Web.

We think this new service is a good move for NYTD, considering America’s woeful state of mobile phone network incompatabilities. The service isn’t MMS and (like MMS) it requires the user to remember to retreive the content; but it’s nonetheless a step in the right direction — automatic delivery of each day’s entire edition wirelessly into consumers’ mobile devices. We’ll see that before this decade is over.

Survey: Mobile E-Mail Gives Workers Extra Time

A study by the Radicati Group consultants believes that wireless e-mail will increase US corporate employees’ productivity, giving them 55 minutes extra working time per day this year and up to 80 minutes per day by 2007. eMarketer provides a briefing about this study. More and more US corporations are equipping their employees to receive work e-mails via mobile phones and many of those new phones also have Web access, however few newspaper or magazine websites — most of which emphasis that their users visit during work hours — are e-mail publishing to this mobile market. A few are, ranging from The New York Times to the

Also on the subject of US mobile phone usage, Scarborough Research reports that 75 percent of household in Atlanta subscribe to mobile phone services, the highest penetration in the US. Closely behind are Detroit (74 percent) and Austin, Washington (D.C.), and Miami, with 72 percent each. The cities with the lowest penetration of mobile phones per household were Charleston (West Virginia (47 percent); Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (52 percent); Buffalo (53 percent; Syracuse (54 percent); and Lexington, Kentucky (55 percent). The average penetration nationwide was 66 percent and the average household spent US$60 per month on mobile phone services.

All these data are important for publishers because (1) there are more mobile phones [1.3 billion] in use nowadays worldwide than wired phones [1.1 billion]; (2) there are more mobile phones in use nowadays worldwide than personal computers [estimated at certainly less than 1 billion]; and (3) all new mobile phones have some form of Internet access [at least SMS or MMS, if not also e-mail and Web access]. Internet-equipped mobile phones are becoming much more ubiquitous than Internet-equipped personal computers — even now in the US, where penetration of these mobile phone now exceeds that of personal computers.

Maxim, Blender, Stuff offer Ringtones & Phone Pinups

Maxim, Blender, and Stuff magazines have launched mobile phone portals to distribute their branded ringtones, sound effects, images, games, and applications. The mobile wireless portals (for example, Maxim‘s) feature content such as Beyonce’s Crazy in Love and Justin Timberlake‘s Senorita set as ringtones and Maxim’s Hometown Hotties pinups as handset screen backgrounds, all US$2.00 each. All three magazines are owned by Dennis Publishing.

Many traditional magazine publishers would be surprised to learn that selling mobile phone ringtones is a big business. It earned an estimated US$1.3 billion in Europe and Asia last year. By comparison, the world’s entire music recording industry earned US$33 billion, so major music companies have taken note of ringtone sales as a way to introduce new music. More than 260,000 new CDs hit the market in 2001, he said, yet less than 1000 of each sold. Jay Samit, senior vice president of EMI Recorded Music told Telephony Online that offering music on mobile phones would lead to fierce customer loyalty for wireless carriers. He believes that mobile phones can provide EMI with niche marketing opportunities that are too expensive to conduct in the retail world.

Nokia Finishes Field Testing IMG/TWI Sports News

Earlier today, we reported a case of a sports league disintermediating news companies from the process of delivering sports news to online consumers. Here’s another example, this one involving wireless phone users.

A year ago, we reported that Nokia had chosen not a news company but the IMG/TWI sports talent agency to provide sports news, updates, audio commentaries, and sports images to users of Nokia’s new Multimedia Messaging System (MMS) mobile phones. Nokia today announced that has finished field testing these services.

    “This project has clearly demonstrated the value of MMS for sports content services” says Mark Selby, Head of Mobile Division, IMG/TWI. “When linked with SMS and WAP, MMS enables comprehensive, timely and exciting content to be consumed by sports fans. Mobile data services can now genuinely deliver the emotion of sport and generate new income for mobile operators.”

    “For Nokia this trial has been immensely valuable as it confirms our belief that sports, as a prime example of branded content, will be one of the big drivers in mobile multimedia. Already today, mobile data services is around EUR 40 billion annual business globally, and we expect this to grow to over EUR 180 billion by 2007,” says Esa Harju, Director, Marketing, Nokia Networks.

Nokia announced that, “more than 90 percent of the users in the trial expressed satisfaction with the services they had received during the trial. Content was structured for each geographic territory on the basis of local sports interest. Sports covered included football, golf, tennis, athletics, cricket, motor sports, badminton and horse racing.”

The mobile phone networks on which Nokia and IMG/TWI tested the sport MMS content were CSL in Hong Kong, DTAC in Thailand, M1 and StarHub in Singapore, and O2 in the UK.

US Wireless Penetration to Reach 50% This Year

The Yankee Groups predicts that US wireless penetration will reach nearly 50 percent by the end of this year. “North Americans now treat wireless like a utility rather than a novelty,” and that “With the current state of wireless competition, it is only a matter of time before unlimited calling plans are available nationwide,” the company said. Although that would seem to be a boon for US consumers, Yankee Group Wireless/Mobile Services Program Manager Roger Entner believes it might not. “The U.S. wireless industry is facing the threat of becoming like the airline industry with high fixed costs, low variable costs, a perishable product and cutthroat competition,” he said. “These conditions make it easy for industry participants to behave in a way that has potentially disastrous consequences in the long run. Airline travel is cheaper than ever before, but few customers are happy with the experience.”

MTV On Hutchinson 3G in UK

MTV has begun to stream music videos and other programming, such as Jackass and Dirty Sanchez, to users of Hutchison’s third-generation mobile phones in the UK, Netimperative reports. Premiership football game clips are already available on those 3G phones. However, Hutchinson has signup only 155,000 users overall. The company blames the lack of retail availability of its handsets and says it’s shipping many more into stores for the Christmas season. T-Mobile also plans to have 3G phones available in stores then

European Mobile Data Use Grows

GPRS Subscribers in Western Europe.gif

The growth of i-mode, increased services utilizing general packet radio service (GPRS) networks and the introduction of 3G are changing the user experience for Western European mobile phone users, according to a report available to eMarketer subscribers:

    “The migration from 2G mobile services to 3G in Europe has been somewhat slower than many anticipated after the exuberance displayed by wireless operators in 1999 and 2000, but mobile handsets with digital cameras, multimedia messaging (MMS) and premium content portals offering the latest games and polyphonic ring tones, are beginning to drive Europeans to more advanced mobile services.”

DAD Gives Phones to Newspaper Boys

Most Danish newspaper boys want to have a mobile phone, so why give them those phones to help them better deliver newspapers? That’s a concept Sonofon and Dansk Avis Distribution (DAD), which distributes a variety of daily newspaper in Denmark, are implementing with 2,500 of DAD’s paper boys in the Danish counties of Southern Jutland, Ribe, Vejle and Århus.

    DAD “gives the paper boys mobile phones that contain a

NHL SMS Offered by Nextel

Textually.org tells us that the North American wireless phone network Nextel will be offering live SMS alerts from National Hockey League games. A subscribers have a choice of receiving alerts when his favorite NHL team’s scores, or end-of period results, or end-of-game results, or end-of-game statistics summary.

Airborne Entertainment, Inc., a Montreal-based wireless services company that also works with A&E, HBO, The History Channel, and MAXIM and ym magazines, setup this SMS service for Nextel. However, any publisher or broadcaster could themselves setup a similar service. For an example how, see KUSports.com from the Lawrence Journal-World in Kanasas.

Telefonini Italiani

Some details from the Economists‘ story about Italian mobile phone use:

  • Usage of a what the Italians call at telfonino may exceed 90% of the Italian population this year (perhaps only use of pasta eclipses it).
  • More than half of Italian children aged between nine and ten use mobile phones (a measure of telefonini per bambini?).
  • 87% of cases of marital infidelity established by detectives in Europe during in the past year were unearthed due to tell-tale traces left on mobile telephones. Slightly less than half the cheated parties confirmed their by delving into the call registers of their spouse or partner’s mobile. In the remaining cases, proof was provided by a mobile phone text message.
  • The Vodafone Omnitel mobile network has introduced a service called Alter Ego, which provides two mobile numbers on the same handset. This is ostensibly to help people keep professional and personal calls separate, but – considering the rate of mobile phones used in infidelities – this service might have other uses.