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.