19 December 2008

Andrew Bud gives his views on a year in mobile

Andrew Bud, Chair of MEF, has been even more busy than usual in the run up to Christmas, with a string of pieces appearing in Mobile Europe where Andrew looks back over the mobile content industry 2008 and ahead to 2009.

In a feature on mobile TV called ‘Mobile TV - A bad news story?’, Andrew speaks on MEF’s views and work:
"We are waiting to see how successful business models based on downloads or streaming of on demand content taken from libraries are, compared to broadcast models… Some people suggest that on demand models for video are reliant upon either the availability of flat rate data plans or of sender-pays data models from the carriers. Otherwise the costs are frightening to consumers… Finally, there is the evolving regulatory environment. Licensing and spectrum availability issues remain unresolved, and there may be further trouble ahead in the shape of the EU Audio-Visual Media Services Directive (AVMS). AVMS may impose some quite strict legislation designed for broadcast on a medium that is completely new. Our concern has been that AVMS legislation does not strangle mobile TV at birth. The MEF has been at the forefront in both explaining that to the industry and interacting with Brussels in trying to moderate its impact on mobile."
Andrew continues by pointing out that he doesn't think the disappointment of 2008 can be blamed on regulators or on squabbles over technology or business models:
"I think that there was no prospect whatsoever of mobile TV being a big success in 2008, so any disappointment is purely related to unrealistic expectations… I always felt that mobile TV was suffering from the classic hype curve." He thinks it will be at least two more years before we begin to see mass adoption of mobile TV across Europe, and hopes the legacy of 2008 will be a little more realism about how long it will take for mobile TV to live up to its potential: "People have come to understand we're at the dawn of a new medium, and there's going to be lots of hard slog ahead for companies that want to earn money out of it." We'll have to wait and see whether 2009 brings a bit more good news.”
Andrew also gives his thoughts on mobile advertising in an article titled ‘What was driving mobile ad growth in 2008?’:
“The year also saw solid progress on the Ad-funded Mobile Entertainment (AFME) reports being produced by the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), with support from Alcatel and Amobee. These reports are intended to help the mobile entertainment and advertising industries work together more effectively, and form part of ongoing work by the MEF that aims to discover how significant mobile advertising is going to be in future.’ It also quotes Andrew stating: "The mobile entertainment industry is still probably the only industry that sells significant amounts of content via the mobile phone. Until other industries become active in actually selling things over the phone the opportunity for pay per click [advertising] buyers to come into the market is strictly limited.”
You can find both of these articles and other features on ‘A year in mobile’ on the Mobile Entertainment website. These articles are a great end to the year and highlight the work that MEF has done for its members over the year and how they are looking to continue on this year’s success into 2009.

05 December 2008

MEF partners with TM Forum to address $5 billion losses experienced by mobile content suppliers

Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) and TM Forum today announced the launch of a joint initiative to address the estimated $5 billion in annual losses experienced by content suppliers across the mobile content value chain. These losses are attributable to incorrect reporting of revenue, and according to MEF calculations, comprise as much as 25 percent of the $18 billion mobile content services market.

A combined team of MEF member companies and TM Forum will develop and publish work focused on sales reporting metrics. These metrics will enable service providers, content aggregators and providers to build a common understanding of the quality and quantity of services delivered, which in turn will improve the measure of revenue flows for these services across the value chain. This effort will build on existing MEF work designed to improve trust and profits across the value chain.

“The mobile entertainment industry is throwing away up to 10% of its gross revenue due to inconsistent and inaccurate content sales reporting. The challenge will be finding some common ground between all the different parties involved and their individual needs, but MEF’s consultation on content sales reporting is designed to be a best practice template that can be adopted throughout the industry. By building this first step on sales reporting metrics together with TM Forum, we hope to address specific issues around timeliness, relevance, accuracy and consistency of reports.”

Suhail Bhat, Policy & Initiative Director, Mobile Entertainment Forum

Keith Willetts, chairman and CEO of TM Forum, added “We believe this partnership will bring major benefits to both TM Forum and MEF members as well as accelerating cooperation between the content and service provider communities. The end goal is a win-win where the market for these sorts of services grows, losses are stemmed and profitability increases. It is critical that all the players in the value chain understand how to work together to tackle these challenges.”

Creating, delivering and monetizing content and digital media services are creating new demands on business models and operations. Over the longer term, MEF and the TM Forum will look at the bigger picture of lowering the cost of rolling out content and media services across mobile networks. The aim of this long-term view will be to stimulate the ability of different players to effectively trade together in an automated fashion and grow the overall market by enabling new joint market approaches.

01 December 2008

MEF reacts to European Commission’s plan for €1 per megabyte wholesale cap on data roaming charges

The European Commission has announced plans to push for a €1 per megabyte wholesale cap on data roaming charges and better visibility and control over data roaming charges for consumers. 

Andrew Bud, Global Chair of MEF, gives his opinion on the news:
“MEF supports all measures that improve transparency of information and pricing on data roaming charges to increase consumer uptake of mobile internet across Europe.

However, in setting a cap on wholesale data roaming charges, the European Commission should acknowledge that operators need economic incentives to invest in their infrastructure and mobile broadband services. Our members are in favour of a mixture of flat rate data tariffs and sender pays data which would help ensure a transparent pricing regime to empower consumers while encouraging operators to continue investment in their networks.”
Andrew Bud, Global Chair of MEF
Find out more about the European Commission's plans here and you can read more on MEF's policies here.

22 November 2008

MEF Asia Elects New Board in Macau

Representatives from Bharti Airtel, i-POP Networks, Netbiscuits, Paymo and Radius-ED were voted onto the MEF Asia board this week at the annual general meeting held during Mobile Asia Congress in Macau on 19 November 2008.

The new board subsequently voted to elect Neeraj Roy (Hungama) as Chairman and to appoint Faissal Houhou (Paymo) as Vice-Chairman. Outgoing Chairman Stefan Rust was awarded an Emeritus title in recognition of his leadership of MEF Asia since the inaugural elections in 2005. 

“I am delighted to see the formation of the new MEF Asia board, with representatives from all the stakeholders in the value chain. I would like to acknowledge the work and efforts of the outgoing Chairman, Stefan Rust, and look at further developing Mobile and Digital entertainment in what is still the fastest growing region in the world - Asia. In many ways the need for an enhanced focus on mobile entertainment and value added services could not be more timely given the global economic environment. The MEF Asia board will work closely with the Global, EMEA and Americas chapters and continue to bring innovation to the forefront of the telecom, media, entertainment and advertising industries.”   
Neeraj Roy, MEF Asia Chairman
MEF Asia Board 2008/2009
  • Chairman: Neeraj Roy - MD & CEO, Hungama Mobile
  • Vice Chair: Faissal Houhou - VP International Business Development, Paymo
Board Directors:
  • Joerg Krahnert - Director Business Development, APAC, Netbiscuits
  • Colin Miles - Co-founder & Executive VP, i-POP Networks
  • PS Parasuram - Head of New Product Development & Content, Bharti Airtel
  • Pankaj Sethi - President, Corporate Strategy and Services, Tata Teleservices
  • Dr Bruno Sorrentino - Founder & CEO, Radius-ED
  • Rosemary Tan - Director, Mobile Entertainment, Sony Pictures, Asia Pacific 
  • MEF Asia Founder & Chairman Emeritus: Stefan Rust - Founder & Chairman, Catalist Group
MEF also collaborated with GSMA to help produce the 'Entertainment Evolved' session at Mobile Asia Congress. Other activities included MEF Initiative meetings on Content Sales Reporting and Mobile Video, as well as the launch of the SE Asia Ad-Funded Mobile Entertainment report – available for download to MEF members here.

19 November 2008

New research predicts revenues will reach $2.6 million by 2013 and help offset piracy

The Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) says ad-funded mobile content will offset piracy losses in South East Asia and help grow the industry as a whole.

The trade body's new members-only report on Ad-Funded Mobile Entertainment (AFME) forecasts that Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand will generate $2.6 million in revenue by 2013.

That's not an astronomical number by any stretch, but the MEF says the figure is equivalent to a not-so-insignificant 52 million click-throughs, thus highlighting the potential of the sector.

A point made in the research is that AFME will help offset the revenues lost to piracy on mobile content such as games, music and ringtones, helping to grow the  local industry  beyond ‘network controlled’ content such as ringback tones.

Stefan Rust, MEF Asia Chair, said:

“Our membership is telling us there are clear benefits to ad-funded content. This is not just replacing revenues lost through piracy but also helping to grow mobile entertainment revenues in the long-term. This growth in mobile entertainment revenues reflects a maturing mobile data market across Asia and will also drive innovation for mobile advertising to develop beyond messaging and banner advertisements.”

MEF members can access the full report here.

13 November 2008

MEF Meets in Dubai

More than 80 people from the local and international mobile entertainment scene attended the first MEF Meets in Dubai on 3 November 2008.

The networking event, hosted by du, took place in the spectacular surroundings of the 24th floor ‘Uptown Bar’ of the Jumeirah Beach hotel, with impressive views of the 7 star Burj El Arab hotel and the ever changing Dubai coastline.

Here's a few photos from the event and we look forward to seeing you to the next MEF Meets in Dubai!

06 November 2008

MEF & GSMA collaborate to bring the best of Mobile Entertainment to Macau

MEF is pleased to announce its official Asia event for 2008, Mobile Asia congress, and are inviting guests to attend the 'Entertainment Evolved'  session.

Leaders of the mobile and entertainment industries will come together for this exclusive mobile entertainment session from 2:00 - 5:30pm on November 18th at the Venetian, Macau.

Kicking off with an executive keynote by China Mobile Executive Director and Vice President, Xiangdong Lu and moderated by MEF Asia Vice-Chair and Hungama CEO, Neeraj Roy, the 'Entertainment Evolved' session shines light on the best in Asian Mobile Entertainment and galvanizes Asia’s mobile content community.

Speakers include:
  • Samir Bangara, Indiagames
  • Ringo Chan, Turner International AP Ltd
  • Venkat Eswara, Motorola
  • Robert Hayes, Glu
  • Ishwar Jha, Zee Films (India)
  • Sissel Larson, Digicom (MEF EMEA Board Director)
  • Eric Mallia, SMART-Tone (Hong Kong)
  • Colin Miles, i-POP Networks
  • Sandy Monteiro, Universal Music Group International
  • Yen Ong, Soundbuzz Pte Ltd
  • TC Pan, Nokia China
  • Richard Robinson, Kooky Panda
  • Neeraj Roy, Hungama (MEF Asia Vice-Chair)
  • Pankaj Sethi, Tata Teleservices (MEF Asia Board Director)
  • Tamara Steffens, Fusion One
  • Sebastien Thevenet, Gameloft
  • Horden Wiltshire, m.Net Corporation
Other MEF highlights of the Congress include keynote session 'Dynamic & Direct - Mobile Entertainment' featuring MEF Asia Chair, Stefan Rust, as well as speakers from EA, Nokia and Hutchison. This keynote session takes place on Wednesday, November 19th at 11:00 am.

Click here to register for the congress. MEF members can receive a 10% discount on registration for Mobile Asia Congress by quoting ‘MEFMA' in the Discount Code field.

You can download the full congress brochure here and to find out about other upcoming MEF events, take a look at the MEF events page.

30 October 2008

MEF Americas addresses Verizon rate hike

Recently MEF Americas put forward their member's views on Verizons announcement of a possible hike in message termination (MT) fees.

The response gained a lot of reaction from the media coverage from MEFs outreach last week. Telephony reported that MEF stepped 'Gingerly into the VZW Text Fee Debate', while Wireless Week provided more round coverage in their peice titled 'MEF Weighs in on SMS Hike Proposal'. Mobile Marketer looks at MEF's 'hopes to foster a fair outcome from the Verizon rate hike' and RCR Wireless reports that Verizon's 'proposed text fee increase is still being digested'.

Jim Beddows, chair of MEF Americas, put forward a full response in a feature in Mobile Entertainment:
"We’re urging Verizon to reconsider the timing, scale and terms of its proposed fee increase. The industry is ready to engage with the carrier to help find a solution that meets its objectives, without suddenly negatively impacting the businesses of so many companies in the mobile entertainment industry at this delicate moment."
Jim Beddows, Chair of MEF Americas.

As Jim says in his article, this is just one example of the role MEF plays in the industry as indicated by its mission statement – to accelerate the growth of the industry by being its voice and a champion of a positive consumer experience to industry, government, academia and media.

29 October 2008

Welcome to the MEF social media press office

We’ve created this site so you can find out about what MEF is up to. Here you will find news announcements, information about forthcoming events, updates on MEF initiatives, and insight into what MEF is up to that you might not normally be aware of.

Meanwhile, you can find latest photography from MEF events and information about the Meffys, our annual awards for the mobile content industry, through the links in the left hand column.

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