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Editor’s Blog – 13-03-15

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Skeldon2014BWHello and Happy Friday! News that the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) has rebranded as the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF) show just how far mobile and telemedia has evolved over just a few short years. You can no longer look upon verticals such as ‘entertainment’ and consider that niche enough for your ambitions. The problem is, mobile is now so ubiquitous, so central to life, that it is now just mobile.

This change of name was announced at Mobile World Congress, a show that will also have to change its name in the coming years. Because Mobile soon won’t do as a name: it won’t be about mobile it will be about connection – of everything.

And not everyone has kept pace. There were at MWC one or two telemedia companies doing their thing – notably OpenMarket and Oxygen 8, both looking to extend the reach of the industry into other verticals. But that was it. And it got me thinking. We live in a rich content-based, immersive world. Things are smartphone and tablet based and driven by apps as never before. Yet where are the Horoscope apps? Where are the other things that are the backbone of telemedia in this rich world?

The industry is changing – driven by the market in which it operates and so many telemedia companies aren’t keeping up with it. We are poised to see an explosion of charge to mobile and SMS services aimed at new verticals. But we are not, I suspect, going to see any of the stalwart telemedia companies adapt their offerings tap into how the modern consumer thinks. In short, they are going to be left behind.

While many in the industry are letting the clock run down to a lavish retirement and no longer care about year on year decline in PRS revenues, there is a growing demand among consumers for these services – they just want to interact with them in a different way and pay differently for them.

OK, so adult services are possibly on the wane as a cash cow, but there are still so many telemedia markets that are still consumer favourites: horoscopes, jokes, competitions, quizzes, gossip, special interest information services. In short pretty much anything that used to have a PRS telephone service is still – bar maybe Dial-a-disc and the talking clock – things that people like.

No they are not going to keep calling PRS numbers for them and no they are not going to pay through the nose, but they are still going to want to engage with them. And here is the massive opportunity for the industry: to use what it already knows and to create new ways to get it out there and to monetise it.

It would be good to see Mobile World Congress change its name to Connected World Congress. It would be even better to start to see the companies that made telemedia great claim back their place at the table in this new mobile ecosystem.

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