22 December 2009

MEF releases its Top Ten Mobile Media Trends for 2010

The year 2009 was a turbulent one for the global economy. However, the mobile industry has weathered the storm remarkably well, as MEF’s quarterly Business Confidence Index (BCI) has shown. In the last BCI, the global mobile media industry predicted growth of 33% in the next year; although MEF believes that the industry has the potential to beat this projection.

This time last year, MEF made a number of predictions that came to fruition in 2009. It predicted that mobile applications would emerge as a content category in their own right and with more than 24 application stores now launched and several billion apps downloaded this has clearly been realised. MEF also predicted the proliferation of touch screen devices would drive discoverability and content usage which is self-evident with seemingly every OEM producing a touch-screen device and strong consumer demand for the interactive functionality this interface provides.

Such a creative and richly diverse industry will continue to deliver new and exciting challenges and opportunities. With MEF’s previous success in anticipating, defining and addressing these key issues, we share here our forecast of top trends in mobile media for 2010.

MEF’s Top 10 Mobile Media Trends for 2010
  1. Fragmentation and variance amongst handsets and now application stores will continue to plague the industry, however the growth of applications on the Android platform will close the gap on Apple’s App Store
  2. Operator enabling services will start to be widely deployed, facilitating the growth of rich media content that is simpler, faster and offers a better user experience
  3. Media publishers will start to experiment with micro-payments, subscription service models and alternative payment methods which challenge the operators’ dominance, with Rupert Murdoch’s decision to charge for online media content highlighting an already fierce debate
  4. Books will emerge as a new and popular content category for smartphones
  5. Technology innovation will continue, with content developers experimenting with 3D mobile video viewers and augmented reality for mobile
  6. The emerging risk of illicit charging by in-app billing will be met by firm regulatory action
  7. Significant tightening of premium rate regulation in the Atlantic region will spread across the world
  8. 2010 will be the year of multiplatform dual-delivery of content including music, video and games, across mobile phones, TVs and PCs
  9. The growing consumer demand for data-heavy services will put greater pressure on networks, with flat rate data tariffs increasingly subjected to stringent download limits
  10. Complexity, confusion and ambiguity in the application of rights to the mobile platform will be addressed seriously in 2010

04 December 2009

MEF Thought Leadership Driving Debate across Multiple Revenue Model Discussions

Management World Americas conference takes place next week with MEF heavily involved across the programme. The event is proving to be one of the most important for communications service providers across the Americas. With 60% of pre-registered attendees holding senior/executive positions in more than 300 companies across 50 countries, can you afford not to attend? Register now to reserve your place.

Management World Americas will focus on how to make new business models a reality and deliver the efficiencies and new service revenues vital to survival. If your time is limited why not register for an Expo plus pass and get access to:

Content Sales Reporting (CSR)– Mobile Content & Advertising Revenue Management Catalyst
The TM Forum has taken the template completed by MEF on CSR in 2008, specifically responding to industry revenue leakage losses of up to 10%, and worked in collaboration with SwissCom, CVidya, SAS, Netezza and MEF to develop a live revenue assurance demonstration to be shown at the event.

Smart Pipe Enablers Panel
Wednesday, December 9 at 4pm
The MEF Enablers initiative aims to educate the market on the use of Smart Pipe Enabling services and brings together the different players in the mobile entertainment value chain to promote the rapid implementation of a coherent and workable model for enabling services.


  • Brian Johnson, Head of US & APAC Sales and Marketing, mBlox
  • Jim Beddows, VP Business Development, 2ergo
  • Stephen Fleece, Director Value Chains Collaboration, TM Forum
  • Bill Wilson, Director of Business Development & Digital Strategy, NARM


  • Suhail Bhat, Policy & Initiatives Director, MEF

Making Money From Advertising & Personalization? Executive Roundtable
Wednesday, December 9 at 11am
Chaired by Patrick Parodi, Managing Director EMEA, Exicon, Board Director, Shazam and Board Director, MEF
This module is part of the New Services & Business Models Summit and will investigate and discuss the role of advertising within the value chain, new business and pricing models, standards, analytics and consumer privacy amongst many other topics.

Other Business Development opportunities include:

Interactive Discussions with 12 Keynote Speakers
Interactive discussions focusing on new ways of reducing OpEx and generating new revenues, with the spotlight on implementation and operational excellence.

Four Conference Summits - 150+ Speakers

For further details please visit the MEF website or contact Helen Meller, Marketing Manager, Management World Americas on: hmeller@tmforum.org OR register@tmforum.org.

25 November 2009

Mobile Entertainment Forum expands to Latin America with launch in Brazil

  • Ron Czerny to serve as Acting Chair & Filipe Roup Rosa joins as General Manager for MEF LATAM
  • MEF LATAM to focus on issues of double-taxation and regulation
  • 26 Founding Members announced - Founding membership open to LATAM companies until January 31, 2010 & MEF Board LATAM Elections to take place in February 2010
Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), the global trade association of the mobile media industry, has announced the launch of its Latin America chapter (MEF LATAM) with an inaugural meeting in Sao Paulo that attracted over 100 companies across the value-chain last week. MEF LATAM’s mission will be to foster an environment conducive to driving mobile entertainment development across the region, by creating dialogue between the industry and regulators, as well as driving initiatives that promote best practices and sustainable business solutions.

MEF LATAM has already attracted 26 major companies as founding members, including 2ergo, Binbit, Blink, Boltcel, Buongiorno, Comfone, cVidya, Dada, Flycell, Fox Mobile Distribution, Getjar, Impact Mobile, KPMG, Masurlaw, NeoMobile, Nokia , Omnifone, PlayPhone , RIM , Silverstreet , Sony Music, Sony Pictures, SPB Software, Telefonica, TIM and Zed.

Ron Czerny, Acting Chair of MEF LATAM and CEO of Playphone said: “MEF provides a strong vehicle for the mobile entertainment industry as a whole to represent its interests through one coherent voice. The quality of the founding members is a great achievement for MEF LATAM which will serve as a source of strength for achieving solutions and clear results in the region.” During the meeting, Filipe Roup Rosa was announced as General Manager, MEF LATAM. He is based in Sao Paulo which will serve as the regional headquarters. Rosa highlighted that “the growth of mobile media in Latin America is exponential, but that speed has created gaps in regulation. MEF’s intention is to act strongly to address regulatory issues and tackle problems such as the tax burden on our industry with effective measures. We will also act quickly to elect the first regional board of MEF LATAM and implement the action plan set out by members.”

“MEF's international expertise in working with regulators, identifying sustainable business models and accelerating market entry opportunities will foster the growth of the industry and deliver competitive advantage to our members. These tools have made MEF successful worldwide and will form the core aspects of our work in LATAM."

Rimma Perelmuter, MEF Executive Director

“Our goal is to foster collaboration between local regulators and our members. Underpinning the phenomenal growth in Brazil and the future success of the mobile entertainment industry is consumer trust in mobile media. Growth comes from having regulatory frameworks or Codes that are transparent, consistent in their application and proportionate to the harm they are trying to prevent.”

Suhail Bhat, MEF Policy and Initiatives Director

LATAM-MEF Founding Members
The MEF-LATAM group founding are: 2ergo, Binbit, Blink, Boltcel, Buongiorno, Comfone, cVidya, Dada, Flycell, Fox Mobile Distribution, Getjar, Impact Mobile, KPMG, Masurlaw, NeoMobile, Nokia , Omnifone, PlayPhone , RIM , Silverstreet , Sony Music, Sony Pictures, SPB Software, Telefonica, TIM and Zed.

Founding member status open until January 31, 2010.

Companies interested in becoming members should contact Filipe@m-e-f.org

19 November 2009

MEF responds to EU Consumer Commission crack down on miss-selling of mobile services

Suhail Bhat, Policy & Initiatives Director, MEF, comments on the news that the EU Consumer Commission has cracked down on websites miss-selling ringtones and other mobile services:

“Since the original notification of the investigation last year, MEF has been working closely with its members to resolve the concerns expressed by the EU’s Consumer Commission as we recognise the importance of transparency and the need to maintain and increase consumer trust in mobile services.

In May 2009, we established an EMEA regulatory committee comprising of 30 companies spanning the entire mobile value chain to examine some of these issues, and have since done the same in South East Asia. Today, PhonepayPlus, the phone-paid services regulator, announced a 62% decrease in complaints about mobile phone-paid services (between July 2008 and October 2009), clearly showing that when regulators and the mobile industry work together, services can operate in a compliant manner to the benefit of all. This is mirrored by the Consumers and Convergence study recently undertaken by KPMG in association with MEF, which showed that consumer satisfaction with mobile music services had grown globally from 26% in 2007 to 66% in 2009.

We would welcome discussion with the EU on the regulation of mobile services. The mobile entertainment industry is valued at $32 billion globally, but the regulations for the same content vary tremendously and are applied inconsistently in different Member States. In many cases, there are multiple regulators with remits over both the advertising and content of services. As convergence becomes a reality, more discussion is needed to ensure consumers continue to enjoy mobile content services.”

For more information on MEF's policy and regulation work, please visit the MEF website: http://www.m-e-f.org/policy_regulation/

13 November 2009

MEF Connects South Africa

Undeterred by the unseasonable clouds and rain, the South African mobile entertainment sector turned out in force for the MTN-hosted MEF Connects event in Cape Town on 10 November 2009.

Emma Kaye, MEF EMEA’s sole African board representative, welcomed over 80 guests to the Lightbox Studios (with stunning views of the city, a cloud-enshrouded Table Mountain and the iconic Green Point football stadium) before handing over to Chairman Gerrit-Jan Konijnenberg to MC proceedings. Gerrit thanked MTN for sponsoring the evening as well as the speakers who had all flown in especially for the event.

With the 2010 Championship fast approaching, Gerrit pointed out that sporting events are proven in driving mobile entertainment usage. Recalling the experience of the 2002 World Cup when (although at the time groundbreaking) fairly rudimentary technology brought goals to your mobile, GJ observed that this had often led to bill shock and a dead phone battery. Fast forward 7 years, the speed and capacity of networks can deliver a much richer experience like the award-winning video goal alert service offered by Turkish operator Turkcell.

Sony Music’s Ian Henderson described MEF as a ‘global networking forum’ through which he was able to meet new business partners and said that mobile was a bright spot that enabled labels to monetise content in regions where they could previously never even have sold physical product.

When asked about exciting mobile trends, Ian pointed to Europe as a “hotbed of innovation: as well as an explosion in smartphone platforms, you’ve got subscription services such as Spotify (originated in Sweden) and TDC (the Danish telco)". Spotify offers free streaming with upselling of mobile access via paid subscription, whereas TDC has been bundling a free music subscription service with their overall customer offering as a successful customer retention tool. “We need the free tier to attract users then combine it with different levels of service that customers will hopefully pay for,” he added.

When asked about Nokia’s ‘Comes with Music’ project, Ian admitted that, despite a slow start, Nokia remain extremely committed to making it a success. Concern was also raised by an audience member about the lack of margins on music sold via premium rate, but Ian was confident that other business models will lead to lower billing.

Mobile advertising specialist 4th Screen’s Mark Slade talked about the possibilities of targeted mobile marketing where customers opt-in to a database which can open up a whole range of user information.

MTN’s Sharoda Rapeti stated that MTN had joined MEF to send out a clear message about the operator’s commitment to entertainment. She referred to 2010, saying, “The 2010 tournament has simply accelerated the planned infrastructure development required to cope with increased capacity.” With exclusive 2010 mobile rights and a partnership for DVB-H with MultiChoice, MTN is poised to offer subscribers an array of rich media content around the World Cup.

On the question of handset functionality, Sharoda pointed to good market growth in low cost smartphone handsets and MTN’s increased marketing efforts around application stores to encourage users to experiment more with mobile entertainment.

We’d been warned that Capetonians don’t go out in bad weather and, if they do, that they’re tucked up in bed by 9pm. Fortunately neither claim proved correct and MEF members and guests networked till late in the evening.

06 November 2009

Event: Sending Out an SMS

In association with 160characters, on Wednesday 4 November 2009 the Mobile Entertainment Forum held an event called Sending Out an SMS: Charities Prepare To Go Mobile.
"Although charities have been slow to pick up the potential offered by mobile the barriers to adoption are crumbling. With a growing number and range of successful case studies, the removal of VAT on donations by mobile (see charitytext.org) and with the almost total ubiquity of mobile phones, charities need to take a close look at how to make the best of mobile."
This was an especially interesting event, given the news that O2 announced this week, where charities of all sizes will now be able to receive an estimated extra 10p in the pound for text donations of up to £10 made via dedicated 70 prefix short codes.


Charities Aid Foundation, Bright One, Amnesty International, Long Reach Mobile, mBlox, MX Telecom, Mobile Entertainment Forum, ITN ON, Vertu, Phonepay Plus, Pay By Mobile, BBC, Water Aid, PayPal, Shelter, Mobile Data Association, O2, Mobile Interactive Technology, Incentivated and nfpSynergy.

Mike Short - Honorary President, Mobile Data Association and VP, O2:

There was no interoperability of texting until 1998 and the UK didn't have shortcodes or cross industry promotion until the early 90s. In 1999, 1 billion text messages were sent in the UK, which rose to 78 Billions texts sent in the UK in 1998. The MDA is expecting more than 2 Billion a week in the UK to be recorded this year, which adds up to over 100 million.

Why haven't charities benefiited from this uptake? It's been to do with the mobile industry, the Inland Revenue, and gtting the right processes in place. But now we have the 70 shortcode initative, all operators should fall in line and IR treat everyone equally, with no VAT taken.

Text donations are encouraged by strong national campaigns. For example, with the Tsunami Relief campaign, over 1 million text donations were sent within days. Similar take up has been seen with the Bhurma Relief and Children in Need campaigns,

O2 recently announced their changes to text giving, with 90p out of every £1 going to the charity. This is not 100% as there are operator costs, such as antifraud, network, and anti-competitive procedures.

Will other operators do the same? With 83 million subscriptions in the UK today, it's wrong that we're not giving more to charities by the most efficient way, e.g. text. We now have a mechanism, but we've got to do it right.

Andrew Jackson - Head of Client Services, Mobile Interactive Technology (MIT):

MIT were involved with March's Comic Relief campaign, which saw 7.8 million rasied through text donation. Lots of people were happy to donate £5 by text, as this is a nice sum of money. They wouldn't do this before as they were ashamed to call the phone line and to say down the phone "I'd like to donate £5". This is seen as too little.

Text giving has taken off because it is anonymous, you can give small amounts , and it is a simple process. texting is simple, easy, quick, second nature, which makes it ideal for a youth audience. For example, during Comic Relief, Radio 1 encouraged £1 donation and made it a fun thing to do.

This kind of take up only really happens for 2/3 big events a year, such as Comic Relief orChildren In Need. What workes well is giving tangible items that donations will pay for, e.g. a £5 donation will pay for a mosquito net. Charities need to think about what tangible items can people say they have bought through a £5 donation?

Some further tips:
  • Select a demographic clearly, e.g. youth audience
  • Be flexible and give resource to promotion
  • Take the advice of the mobile partners you choose
  • Create a WAP site bounce back to donors, encouraging them to sign up via Gift Aid

Robert Thurner - Commercial Director, Incentivated:

The one key driver behind the growth of the mobile industry has been text, which is still growing by over 30% a year. On the consumer side, there are better handsets, flat rate data plans and better content (e.g. social networks).

But what's holding up charitable giving via text? Firstly, the money that is going to the Inland Revenue rather tha the charity. Secondly, education and awareness on ways to donate, and explaining how it works with other parts of the campaign. Lastly, engagement - what's the difference the text donation makes?

Charities need good CRM systems, so they can see exactly how donors have responded, then et up bespoke campaigns around this, e.g. thanks for donation, invites to volunteering and events, return donations. Measurement and ROI is also important and should work with CRM databases to undertand other parts of the campaign mix and add mobile data to this. This gives proof that text donation works and charities can check how effective mobile is compared to other channels. For example, during a recent Macmillan Campaign, 60% of donations came via text, 30% via their call centre, and 10% via post.

Charities also need to think about where they are looking to use text - volunteers, donations, thank you messages, awareness, mobile sites?

Gift Aid is powerful media ally and text is a good tool for internal Comms, a good way of getting back to people on a regular basis.

MIT also offered charities a free text shortcode, domain and campaign management campaign, so get in touch with them to find out more.

Joe Saxton - founder and driver of ideas at nfpSynergy:

Joe is the author of the 'Sending Out an SMS' report, which is available from nfpSynergy. To get an increased take up in text donations, we need case studies, such as Comic Relief, and a need to work on getting charges lower. We've made progress, as just 1 year ago of every £1.50 donation only 95p went to charity. Now it's even better, with O2 announcing that 90p out of every pound donated via text goes to the charity.

The mobile industry should develop a win:win situation with charities. Younger donors are giving in a way they've never given before, which means that the mobile industry can get more people giving more money earlier on. But price points have been putting off charities.

Marathons are a fantastic opportunity for text donations. Runners could print shortcodes on their t-shirts. This spontaneity and opportunism can raise £100 million more if implemented next year in time for the London Marathon and is well achievable within 5 year time span

Charities need to get act together though, as lots don't keep numbers or records or text donors. They need to get other operators to follow O2's suit and need to get automatic Gift Aid via text bounce back. Currently most charges apply VAT, but as financial transactions don't attract VAT, neither should text donations. If it just money changing hands, e.g. donation, VAT should be 0%.

It needs to be sustainb;e though, as charities can't expect operators big or small give special deals. Giving by mobile phone should be integral part of people's lives, so how can we get more peeple giving more money in more ways than ever before?

There is a real opportunity through a win:win situation - operators, agreggators and charities can all make money through text donations.

22 October 2009

Sending Out an SMS: Charities Prepare To Go Mobile

Date:Wednesday 4 November 2009
Time: 18:30
Location: The Crown Tavern
Entry: for charities £5 on the door (please register). For others £10 in advance paid online and £15 on the door.

Register for a place here >>

Although charities have been slow to pick up the potential offered by mobile the barriers to adoption are crumbling. With a growing number and range of successful case studies, the removal of VAT on donations by mobile (see charitytext.org) and with the almost total ubiquity of mobile phones, charities need to take a close look at how to make the best of mobile.

  • Mike Short - VP O2 & MDA
  • Robert Thurner - Incentivated
  • Andrew Jackson - Head of Client Services, Mobile Interactive Technology
  • Joe Saxton - founder and driver of ideas at nfpSynergy will talk about 'Why charities are a great business opportunity for the mobile industry'. Joe is author of the report published in July 'Sending out an SMS'.
Following the speakers there will be questions and discussion and lots of time for networking.

Register for a place here >>

This event is jointly organised by 160characters and the Mobile Entertainment Forum.

21 October 2009

Free Smart Pipe Enablers Webinar

If your company is looking to drive revenue by using the unique capabilities of the mobile platform, then this webinar is a must.

This is the second webinar in our series on enablers. Having previously set out the background to network enablers, we are now looking to the content community to present its position.

Hear the latest from representatives at the BBC, Yell and Gracenote who will explain how the smart enabler services currently provided by network operators allow them to deliver content with increased relevancy and reliability.

Mobile Resource Management solutions developer, Xora, will demonstrate a real life network enabler, whilst senior executives from O2 and Vodafone will outline the enablers they are developing and now they are working with content players to create compelling end-user products & services.

O2 and Vodafone senior executives will be on hand to explain the enablers they are developing and how they are working with content players to create compelling end-user products & services.

Speakers Confirmed include:

Mark Kortekaas

Controller for BBC Audio & Music Interactive & Mobile, BBC

Ty Roberts

Founder and CTO, Gracenote

Glyn Povah

Head of Content Marketing, Telefonica O2

Ray De Silva

Principle Product Manager, Enabler Commercial Partnerships, Vodafone Group

David Pearce

Head of Mobile Services, Yell

Robert Juncker

CTO, Xora

For further information please visit: www.m-e-f.org/enablers, or contact:

Suhail Bhat - suhail@m-e-f.org
Christian Rouffaert - christian.rouffaert@accenture.com

12 October 2009

Mobile media industry predicts revenue growth of 33% for the next year

MEF’s third Business Confidence Index (BCI), compiled by KPMG, shows us that the $32bn global entertainment market industry remains quietly confident about its continued growth, despite the economic challenges faced globally. An average revenue growth of 33% has been predicted for the coming year, which is an increase of 6% on that being predicted at the beginning of 2009.

Commenting on the findings, Andrew Bud, Global Chair of MEF, said: “The latest findings demonstrate that the BCI continues to offer us invaluable insight into the state of our industry. The economic downturn has proved challenging for us all but despite this, overall confidence in the growth of the market remains steady.

A 6% increase in the predicted growth of the market since the beginning of the year shows that despite a general downturn and a degree of belt-tightening in some areas, any remaining uncertainty is offset by a sense of optimism within the industry looking forward. This quiet confidence and positive outlook suggests that we are going to see some exciting opportunities developing within our industry.”

Rimma Perelmuter, Executive Director at MEF, added that: “The results point to a divide between the established and emerging markets. Our members in the established markets such as Western Europe and North America are forecasting relatively stable revenues but see emerging markets such as Central & Latin America, as well as India, driving proportionately larger revenue increases for the coming year. With the majority of respondents also telling us that their actual performance for the last quarter was either in line with or better than budgeted, the industry has demonstrated resilience and confidence of heading in the right direction. ”

Mark Harding, Director of Digital Content at KPMG, who analysed the survey findings, stated that: “Paid for content is still a big revenue generator for the mobile media sector, with respondents predicting that 63% of their revenue over the next quarter will come from both subscription and one off purchases. Games, video, music, social networking and infotainment continue to lead the way.

The survey results also show that the well publicised growth of applications is developing into tangible revenue streams. 14% of all revenue is now projected to come from applications, with an expectation that over half of this revenue will be generated through consumers buying them. This is a new and fast growing revenue stream for the industry. These results demonstrate what can be achieved through a positive consumer experience and that consumers are willing to pay for content they value.”

About the research

The Mobile Entertainment Forum ‘Business Confidence Index’ (BCI) was launched in January 2009 to analyse revenue and business trends in the $32bn mobile entertainment industry.

The responses to the BCI survey, which was completed by MEF member companies, are analysed by KPMG. MEF members were surveyed from across the mobile entertainment value chain, from operators to content owners, billing aggregators and service providers. MEF members were asked a total of fifteen questions relating to their confidence in the mobile entertainment value chain. Questions relating to revenue, headcount and marketing decisions were asked alongside those about the confidence in different types of mobile content.

The MEF BCI is conducted on a quarterly basis, with a report on the findings of the Business Confidence Index available to MEF members at www.m-e-f.org

07 October 2009

Neeraj Roy wins Outstanding Contribution Award at ME Awards 2009

Neeraj Roy, CEO of Hungama Mobile and Chair of Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) Asia, became the fourth winner of the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Mobile Entertainment’ accolade at the 2009 ME Awards on 1 October 2009.

He received the prize not just for building India’s largest mobile content company, but also for his commitment as MEF Asia Chair to driving the global mobile entertainment industry forward. The ME Awards, hosted by Mobile Entertainment magazine, reward innovation and creativity in the mobile content sector.

Neeraj is the second MEF board member to receive this prestigious award following Ralph Simon’s win in 2007. Ralph is a music industry veteran who founded MEF Americas whilst Neeraj was instrumental in the formation of MEF Asia. With previous winners Ray Anderson from Bango and Anssi Vanjoki from Nokia the Outstanding Contribution award has gone to a MEF member every year since the award’s inception.

“The MEF Board works with great commitment to support the global growth of mobile entertainment, shape its regulation and deliver competitive advantage to members, and Neeraj has been a crucial member for many years. The Board cares passionately about this $32 billion industry and invests a great deal of time and expertise in leading MEF to further the industry’s interests in every way possible, so it is gratifying to see this work being recognised. We are honoured to have Neeraj as Chair of MEF Asia." - Andrew Bud, MEF Chairman.

The ME Awards ceremony took place at the Royal Garden Hotel in London last Thursday, attracting guests from over 120 companies in media, technology and entertainment from around the world. Other MEF member winners on the night include:
"I’m so pleased to be able to give this award to Neeraj, one of the hardest working and most respected guys in the business. He has not only built Hungama into India’s biggest mobile content company – which is itself an excellent advertisement for the industry – but he also works tirelessly for the MEF and other organisations to fly the flag for our market. He got a fantastic reception last night, and thoroughly deserved it."Tim Green, executive editor at ME Magazine.

28 September 2009

Reed MIDEM and MEF announce partnership at MIPCOM 2009

MEF will bring its expertise to MIPCOM with a line up of events on October 8th, including a keynote address by Javier Perez Dolset, Founder, President and CEO of ZED Group, a panel focusing on mobile applications and a breakfast workshop during which new revenue opportunities will be discussed. These events come as part of the MIPCOM 2009 connected entertainment conference programme dedicated to mobility of content and the impact of multi-screen content distribution in the home.

During his keynote, industry leader and MEF member Javier Perez Dolset will share his vision of the future of the multi-platform digital content business while discussing Zed’s experience as a premier mobile content retailer and highlighting new industry opportunities for content owners. Perez Dolset founded Zed Group 13 years ago, establishing it as a world leading mobile content company present in 60 countries with over 2,000 employees. He also founded Pyro Studios and Ilion Animation Studios making Zed Group a multiplatform digital entertainment giant.

During the breakfast workshop hosted by MEF, panelists from the BBC, O2, Vodafone, mBlox, MEF and Accenture will outline the opportunities offered by ‘Smart Pipe Enabling Services’ for future mobile content marketing and distribution.

“MIPCOM is an ideal partner for revealing the industry’s increasing focus on convergent media. We share a common view on the opportunities presented by the mobile platform and are delighted to collaborate with MIPCOM.”

Rimma Perelmuter, MEF Executive Director

Announcing the partnership, acting Television Division Director at Reed MIDEM, Laurine Garaude, said: “MEF is the leading global trade association for companies within the mobile entertainment value chain. Their expertise and insight will be invaluable to our delegates seeing as one of the main themes at MIPCOM 2009 focuses on rethinking the business. We are thrilled to welcome Javier Perez Dolset who plays a significant role in our Connected Entertainment programme.”

Headline speakers participating in sessions focusing on the explosion of mobile applications later the same day include: Tyler Lessard, VP, BlackBerry Global Alliances, Research in Motion, Nicholas Wheeler, Managing Director, ITN ON, ITN Ltd, David McDonald, Managing Director, Saffron Digital, Ian Henderson, VP, EMEA Digital Business Development, Sony Music, James Cook, Publisher & Editor, MobiAd News, Daniel Graf, Founder & CEO, Kyte, Sander Munsterman, Managing Director & co-founder, XS2TheWorld, Andrea Portante Ufficio, Head of New Media, RAI, Jon Williams, Chief Creative Officer, Grey London and Neil Wirasinha, Director International Advertising/Media, Universal Pictures International.

14 September 2009

MEF Americas Mobile Leadership Summit - Part 4

This is part 4 of 4 in a series that looks at the recent MEF Americas Mobile Leadership Summit, which took place on Tuesday 1 September 2009 at the Writer's Guild of America West headquarters in Los Angeles. You can also read parts 1, 2, and 3.

The second panel, moderated by Nielsen's Puterbaugh, was entitled Holy Grail or Holy Fail? Straight Talk on Mobile Entertainment. It featured Lawrence Harris (SVP/Analyst CL King), Bill Lowenthal (VP Limelight Networks), William Quigley (Co-Founder, Clearstone Venture Partners), David Shrehlow (Director Media Solutions, Huawei), Kevin Arnold (CEO IODA), Gary Schwartz (CEO Impact Mobile), John Orlando (CMO LiveWire Mobile). Again the topic really went out the window and discussion focused on the 4 areas outlined below:

Are The Carriers Dumb Pipes?
  • LiveWire’s Orlando sees a trend amongst more progressive players, like Sprint, to embrace more open systems. Generally the smaller operators are strongest value added service partners. Frustration with the big guys stems from lack of marketing support for mobile entertainment product
  • Arnold thought they were mostly dumbpipes, with a couple of non-US exceptions like Telefonica.
  • Leventhal suggested that mobile entertainment providers need work with the carriers to enhance the content experience over their networks
  • Schwartz said that to be a dumb pipe you have to be pretty smart (interesting point…it takes a lot for big companies to realize their limitations)
  • Strehlow advised that operators are hungry, rich and unloved…and that mobile content creators should use them now while they are desperate
  • Following up on this, Harris said Verizon's and AT&T's wireline businesses are declining. ARPU associated with voice is declining, and thus these operators are focussed on their data businesses. 30% of revenues are now come from data. With the US mobile market saturated, Data ARPU is THE growth area for operators
How Will The OEMs Participate?

  • Quigley suggested that from his standpoint, if you look at management teams at handset manufacturers (or carriers), they don't have the right people to run mobile entertainment businesses... it's not in their DNA. He thinks there are real opportunities for big entertainment companies like Disney who want to work with handset manufactures
  • CL King's Harris suggested that you have to look beyond the established handset guys. The business is coverging with the PC business and vice versa…Nokia is making a netbook, Apple is making a tablet, HP & Dell are desiging similar devices. He believes there will be a lot of touchscreen devices, between a mobile phone & a laptop, well suited for video & ebooks.
  • Orlando said there's a new category of converged mobile/portable devices called MIDs (mobile internet devices). OEMs like Dell are looking at devices that use both wifi and sideloading (at kiosks or via SD cards), which can very disruptive. Handset manufacturers will play a big role in this space.
  • Leventhal said we're moving from the session based to an always connected internet, driven by social nets like Facebook or Twitter. Mobile networks are beginning push consumers to open internet devices that use these data heavy apps.
  • Schwartz complained that you can’t get all the content you want, when you want it in mobile. Convergence is hot topic…but handsets are not content companies…they're just using content as a vehicle to sell hardware. Content anywhere has to be OTA…but wifi is the best experience…better than expensive mobile data networks
  • Quigley raised an interesting issue, he suggested that carriers wouldn't have the networks to support the data usage if everyone had a smartphone; they're still using old technology.
  • Strehlow thinks Nokia bundling Ovi with handsets is a good example of an OEM driven content service not tied strictly to operators...but it's mostly happening outside the US. He reminded the audience that the World is a much bigger place than the US.

What Is The Most Exciting Area of Mobile Entertainment For Your Business?

  • Lowenthal said video is driving business for Limelight. He heard Bill Nygren of The Oakmark Funds speak recently about how devices are the window into media and the media kids were watching was video (not reading newspapers), therefore he was biasing his portfolio accordingly. LTE will make mobile video network
  • Quigley pointed out that there are lots of cool mobile entertainment businesses that make no money, but he thought mobile casual games have a real business model
  • Harris likes text messaging; most US consumers are doing it, teens are driving it and it still growing at 75%...SMS is still big opportunity
  • Schwartz thinks discoverability and CRM are the big opportunities. It's still a challenge to find content on mobile devices
  • Orlando still likes full tracks, ringbacks, tones, etc., but sold off deck. On deck there are 6 vendors (at least) starving trying to sell this content. LiveWire has had a lot of success with an off deck store where it can create its own rules and bundle content the way consumers wants it.
  • Arnold likes the rise of music subscription services. It's been difficult on iPhone because they've resisted services that compete with iTunes, but he's encouraged by the approval of Spotify (which bodes well for Rhapsody, etc. on that device).
  • Like Harris, Strehlow likes good old SMS because it has the best margins of anything a mobile operator sells. However, he’s also encourged by Uverse’s (AT&T’s landline IPTV product) demonstration that you can push a lot of data through old infrastructure. In mobile he thinks compression and sessionless video from Flash and Silverlight will overcome limits at towers and that wireless video via wifi and mobile networks is the future.

11 September 2009

MEF Americas Mobile Leadership Summit - Part 3

This is part 3 of 4 in a series that looks at the recent MEF Americas Mobile Leadership Summit, which took place on Tuesday 1 September 2009 at the Writer's Guild of America West headquarters in Los Angeles. You can also read parts 1, 2, and 4.

The subject of discussion for the first panel was meant to be how the entertainment industry ranked the mobile entertainment industry now that it's worth $32bil (according Nielsen), while theatrical boxoffice is $19.5bil.

It was moderated by Andrew Wallenstein (Hollywood Reporter) and featured Ron Czerny (CEO Playphone), Aaron Luber (Director Saffron Digital), Troy Carter (CEO Coalition Media), Doug Neil (SVP Universal Pictures), Steve Byrd (EVP STATs), Charles Slocum (Asst Exec Director) WGA.

I'm not sure that the panelists really addressed the issue at hand (kinda typical of panels frankly). The discussion ended up being more a series of anecdotes about what each company was doing or seeing in the space peppered with some frustrations:
  • There was a lot of perseverating about the iPhone (as usual)...and at one point Carter (who manages Lady GaGa) suggested that artists were currently really only interested in iPhone Apps when it comes to mobile
  • Byrd (who’s a sports content provider) said that mobile was becoming a bigger part of their business and he thought that highlights & full games will eventually drive a lot of consumption...he suggested the MLB.com At Bat application for iPhone was a good example
  • In response to all the iPhone/App Store froth Czerny made an amusing suggestion that it could be a passing trend...after all a couple of years ago all anyone could talk about were MVNOs
  • Luber agreed with Czerny, but said that iPhone was doing a good job of forcing the networks & OEMs to step up their games
  • WGA's Slocum said that iPhone was making video a better experience, but believed that greater adoption will come with original content made for mobile. He suggested that WGAmembers were eager to experiment in the medium, where they often have more creative freedom than in traditional media. He said that mobile was still waiting for its breakthrough content.
  • Neil expressed frustration with the difficulty in connecting a broad range of consumers in mobile (even with WAP) due to a variety of incompatible devices and networks...iPhone is good, but only one channel. He suggested marketers needed to be able to create campaigns/experiences with ubiquitous access for mobile to grow.
  • Czerny claimed that mobile was becoming a core part of studio film marketing and used the example of a High School Musical campaign Playphone ran for them as an example.
  • However, Neil's example of a free Bruno iPhone App promoted through Facebook that was downloaded by 100k fans contravened Czerny's that it's core...it seems more tactical for now.
  • Saffron's Luber suggested that one of the biggest barriers to growth for full length video content on mobile for entertainment companies is windowing. Studios refuse to risk current billion dollar businesses (like TV distribution) in order to "experiment" in a new medium. This will need to change if these companies want to see significant revenue in mobile.
  • Czerny said that revenue is still being driven by 1) ringtones, 2) games and 3) video...which is growing slowly due to network/device capabilities
  • Carter revealed that the 3 separate Lady GaGa iPhone Apps that his company deployed had 175k downloads over the last 90 days
  • Neil said that it is still difficult to figure out what the consumer wants in mobile since SEM and SEO are still pretty rudimentary in mobile...even Google doesn't have it figured out.
What was clear to me, despite Czerny's assertion, is that mobile is still (after all these years) pretty ancillary and mostly experimental for most entertainment companies. In other words, its still a pretty substantial opportunity despite the current size of the mobile entertainment market.

Read Part 4 in the series >>

10 September 2009

MEF Americas Mobile Leadership Summit - Part 2

This is part 2 of 4 in a series that looks at the recent MEF Americas Mobile Leadership Summit, which took place on Tuesday 1 September 2009 at the Writer's Guild of America West headquarters in Los Angeles. Part 1 was published here. You can also read parts 1, 3 and 4.

Next up was Eric Puterbaugh, Director of Client Services for The Nielsen Company, who presented 26 slides of data, which we've been promised a copy of. In the meantime, here are some broad strokes to whet your appetites:
  • The mobile content business continues to grow and is now worth $32bil worldwide
  • Premium off-deck services & applications are bright spots for carriers ...but carriers are losing significant revenue to iPhone
  • Rapid consumer movement to media ready smartphones is driving increased data usage
  • iPhone sets the standard for usability & iPhone is massively overindexing in data
  • Carriers benefit from higher data ARPU, the value of an iPhone customer to AT&T is $3.8k vs $1.7k for those with other handsets
  • Consumers typically look for the "Best Available Screen" to consume media
  • Young people behave differently on mobile...many more text, many fewer calls
  • Social networking and search are driving consumer adoption of the mobile web
  • Most consumers are watching streaming video on mobile through WAP sites, not apps
  • Most iPhone users download up to 5 paid or free Apps
Read Part 3 in the series >>

09 September 2009

MEF Americas Mobile Leadership Summit - Part 1

This is part 1 of 4 in a series that looks at the recent MEF Americas Mobile Leadership Summit, which took place on Tuesday 1 September 2009 at the Writer's Guild of America West headquarters in Los Angeles. You can also read parts 2, 3 and 4.

The Mobile Entertainment Forum held its Mobile Leadership Summit Tuesday at the Writer's Guild of America West headquarters in Los Angeles. I presume the event met the organizers' expectations, at least in terms of attendence, because virtually every seat was full in a crowded room. The format of the event was 2 keynotes (one philisophical, one analytical) and 2 panel discussions.

MEF Americas Chair Jim Beddows kicked off the event with a story about his introduction to mobile 10 years ago while working on console gaming deals for Disney in Japan. At one point he was approached by an operator who wanted the company’s content for mobile devices, which left him wondering how Disney could ever make money doing that (clearly they figured it out). Jump to Helsinki in 2005, while at Microsoft, he found the pervasive mood very negative about mobile and the slogan du jour was “WAP is crap.” In spite of this, 18mos later he launched MSN Mobile and it exceeded everyone's expectations. Beddows claims to have been alternately confounded, excited, disappointed and surprised by the mobile entertainment space (as have we all). So, he started the conversation of the day… what's working, what's not? How is the value chain evolving?

Sam Sarkar, a senior executive for Johnny Depp's production company Infinitum Nihil, delivered the first keynote...which helped put the rollercoaster ride the industry has been on over the last 10 years into some perspective. His thesis was that fits and starts are inherent to emerging businesses. Furthermore, in the development of every medium the technology precedes the business model that makes it viable and the artistry that comes to define it.

Sarkar suggested that television didn't really begin to realize its artistic potential until the late 60s or early 70s, despite having public debuted in the late 1920s. He told an interesting story about how television’s inventor, Philo Farnsworth, was so frustrated by the vacuousness of the medium that he wouldn't permit the device in his home. It wasn't until the broadcast of the moon landing that he was able to concede that it was worthwhile invention.

Even on the internet, which has been a consumer phenomenon for almost 15 years, we've only begun to see traces of its potential as an entertainment medium with stuff like Will Ferrell's "The Landlord" for FunnyorDie.com and LonelyGirl15 on YouTube (which ended up being professionally produced). But these are one-offs and lots of companies have failed trying to recreate their success.

In mobile, the potential of the medium was first teased with the ringtone (a legit consumer phenomenon) and now again with the App Store...but these are still early stages of what Sarkar characterized as Alien (as in the movie) Evolution...I'm still trying to fully decifer this amusing analogy, but I think the gist is that it’s going to be a sometimes painful path, full of surprises, but ultimately the monster potential will be revealed. Sarkar reminded the group that the record companies didn’t invent Rock N’Roll…artists did, and similarly, he believes, artists will define the mobile medium.

Sarkar demonstrated several experimental iPhone Apps from a developer in Singapore, including a photo essay of life in the Swat Valley featuring the work photo journalist Kevin Coombs, a mobile manga version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and text-based Asian ghost stories augmented with photos and sound.

In conclusion he asked to audience to think about how to commercially make old stories new again in the medium and to imagine the new ideas and stories that will come to it and from it.

Read Part 2 in the series >>

07 September 2009

MEF boosts regulatory and initiatives commitment with appointment of Policy and Initiatives Officer

We're delighted to announce the appointment of Miranda Roberts as Policy and Initiatives Officer. The new appointment underlines MEF’s commitment to driving mobile entertainment adoption, shaping regulation and delivering competitive advantage to its members.

In her new role, Miranda will be providing support and engaging with all stakeholders on key MEF initiatives and policy work. Miranda brings extensive experience of regulatory affairs and project management gained in her previous role at PhonepayPlus, the UK premium rate regulator, and will be working closely alongside Suhail Bhat, Policy and Initiatives Director.

The appointment comes after MEF established an EMEA Regulatory committee which comprises 30+ members to provide an effective mechanism for shaping policy so as to protect member revenues and ensuring a positive consumer experience. As part of its regulatory remit, MEF has also recently taken a leadership role in mobile media regulation in Asia, established a US Sweepstakes initiative with Masur Law and published extensive ‘how to guides’ compiled by member DWS to complex EU legislation, providing members with cost-effective vital intelligence and representation.

“Miranda’s hire highlights MEF’s dedication to regulatory and policy work and our focus on member engagement. Her experience into the world of regulation, mobile content, policy development and stakeholders’ relations offers an invaluable addition to MEF and its members, uniquely bringing together a team with a combined 19 years of regulatory experience.”
- Rimma Perelmuter, Executive Director, MEF

“I’m delighted to come on board with the MEF team and look forward to supporting MEF’s policy and initiatives work and the continuing development of the mobile media market.”
- Miranda Roberts, Policy & Initiatives Officer, MEF

Additionally, Kim Arazi has been promoted to Member Relations Director, in recognition of her work in this area and as Meffys director. Ksenia Arkhipova, also joins as Office & Marketing Coordinator.

03 September 2009

MEF Announces September In-Market Regulatory Tour of Asia

The Mobile Entertainment Forum will tour four key Southeast Asian countries to foster collaboration between regulators and members and create an environment conducive for the mobile media industry’s continual growth and vibrancy. The two week tour, from 7th- 18th of September, will cover Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and India.

The mobile media industry is subject to a considerable number of regulations globally. It sees a variety of content (games, music, video, ringtones) all accessed on the mobile device. Regulators and the industry alike have been trying to ensure that any regulatory regime meets the needs of consumers, affords an appropriate level of consumer protection and also supports an innovative and rapidly changing industry.

“MEF is building on its regulatory successes in the Americas and EMEA by assisting both the regulators and the industry to ensure that regulations are fit for purpose, transparent and proportionate. The industry is showing a genuine commitment to work with MEF and with the regulators to secure a more successful future to benefit everyone, including the consumers, in the value chain. MEF recognises how fragmented the Asian market is and hopes that its efforts to conduct this tour on a country-by-country basis will deliver more positive outcomes for the industry.”
- Neeraj Roy, MEF Asia Chair and Managing Director & CEO of Hungama Mobile

“I am very excited to be leading this crucial work for MEF. India and Indonesia are two of the fastest growing markets in the world, with 0.5 billion subscriptions between them, growing at 10m per month, whilst Singapore and Malaysia are defining the commercial and creative shape of 3G / mobile broadband consumption. Underpinning this growth and the future success of the mobile entertainment industry as a whole is the essential consumer trust in mobile media services. MEF is at the forefront of liaising with the industry and regulators alike in many different territories globally and want to spearhead similar successes in Asia.”
- Suhail Bhat, MEF Policy and Initiatives Director

In April 2009, MEF Americas announced the completion of the first phase of its Mobile Sweepstakes Rules Initiative with the launch of “The Sweepstakes Rules Map: US”. This interactive map of the United States is the first ever to outline the applicable rules and laws governing mobile promotions and sweepstakes on a state-by-state basis. The map was compiled by MEF Americas in partnership with MasurLaw, a leading venture law firm specialising in technology and entertainment.

In July 2009, MEF held three separate workshops on proposed regulatory changes in the UK. Written by MEF member and law firm Denton Wilde Sapte, MEF produces Guides to key pieces of legislation such as the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. In addition MEF EMEA has established a Regulatory Committee comprising of over 30 member companies with meetings held every 6 weeks to discuss regulatory issues of relevance to our members.

If you like us to incorporate your relevant concerns during this tour or simply want further details about the MEF Asia tour, please contact Crystal Chua at crystal@m-e-f.org.

26 August 2009

MEF Free AFME Southeast Asia Webinar

MEF Asia, with support from Telecom Asia and Wireless Asia, invites you to join our webinar to understand the progress Ad-Funded Mobile Entertainment (AFME) has made across Southeast Asia and to get updated with the latest trends and real-world situations.

Date: 27 August 2009
Time: 4.30pm (SIN) / 9.30am (UK)
Duration: 45min

Click here to sign up

Outline Agenda:
  1. 1. Introduction - Joerg Krahnert, MEF Asia Board Member & Managing Director of Netbiscuits
  2. Highlights of the AFME Southeast Asia Report - Suhail Bhat, Policy & Initiatives Director, MEF
  3. Interactive Panel: Let’s get real with ad-funded mobile entertainment!
  • What types of entertainment works best with ad-funded as a business model?
  • What are the best tricks of the trade to work AFME for your business?
  • Lessons from abroad

Moderated by:
  • Joerg Krahnert, MEF Asia Board Members & Managing Director, Netbiscuits

  • Bernie Tay, Head of Performance Advertising, APAC, Admob
  • David Booker, VP Sales – International, Amobee
  • Andreas Behrens, SVP Business Development Asia Pacific, Fox Mobile
  • Kugan Thirunavakarasu, SGM, Head of Product Development & Infotainment, Maxis Communications

MEF will provide an overview of its AFME for SE Asia report which projected growth across Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to be worth $2.6m by 2013. This significant growth was predicated upon several factors including the wide adoption of 3G, the development of viable business models and the understanding of brand marketing objectives within the value chain. You can access the full report here.

Following the report overview, our panelists will each give their views on how the market has changed since the study was published and discuss what now needs to be implemented to deliver further success with AFME business models.

This webinar will provide all participants with the following:
  1. an understanding of the current business realities for AFME in SE Asia
  2. an opportunity to question the thought leaders on the panel by sending in questions and comments in real-time via IM
  3. insights into future opportunities for exploiting AFME in the region
  4. a FREE copy of the AFME SE Asia report
Click here to sign up

For further information regarding the AFME Southeast Initiative please visit: http://www.m-e-f.org/initiatives/current_initiatives/ad_funded_mobile_entertainment/

Or contact:
Crystal Chua crystal@m-e-f.org

20 August 2009

MEF Americas Announces September 1 Mobile Leadership Summit and AGM

MEF Americas has announced the agenda and speakers for its September 1st Mobile Leadership Summit. The half-day summit concludes with the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Board Elections. The meetings will be held and hosted at the Writer’s Guild of America West headquarters in Los Angeles. MEF Americas has expanded its board to eleven seats, with seven seats available in this election, to reflect the increased growth and activities in the U.S., Canada and Latin America.

“I am extremely excited about the Summit’s panel topics, list of speakers and feedback from those planning to attend the event. MEF is the only trade organization in the mobile content and services industry that is both global and spans the entire value chain from content creator to distributor. As MEF Americas’ focus is on accelerating the revenue growth from digital content and services that span entertainment, sports and news, I am thrilled by the strength and number of candidates who have announced their intent to run for the MEF Americas board.”
Jim Beddows, MEF Americas Chairman.

For the half-day Mobile Leadership Summit, the opening keynote will be presented by Sam Sarkar, a senior executive from Infinitum Nihil, Johnny Depp’s production company. An additional keynote will be devoted to the State of the Union in Mobile given by The Nielsen Company’s Eric Puterbaugh. The opening panel “Global Revenues are $19.5B and $32B for Theatrical Box Office and Mobile Entertainment—So, How Does Hollywood Stack Rank the Mobile Entertainment Industry?” will be led by Andrew Wallenstein editor, digital media of The Hollywood Reporter. Panelists include:

The concluding panel is a lively debate focusing on the trends in the mobile value chain called “Holy Grail or Holy Fail—Straight Talk on Mobile Entertainment,” moderated by Eric Puterbaugh of The Nielsen Company, with panelists including:

  • Lawrence M Harris, senior vice president and senior research analyst, CL King
  • William Quigley, managing director, Clearstone Ventures
  • David Strehlow, director of marketing, Media Solutions, Huawei
  • Kevin Arnold, founder and CEO, IODA
  • Gary Schwartz, president and CEO, Impact Mobile
  • John Orlando, CMO, LiveWire Mobile
  • Bill Loewenthal, vice president and general manager, Mobility and Monetization Solutions, Limelight Networks

WHAT: Mobile Leadership Summit, and the MEF Americas Annual General Meeting and Board Elections

WHEN: Sept. 1, 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM Summit, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM General Meeting and Board Elections

WHERE: Writer’s Guild of America West, 7000 West Third Street, Los Angeles, CA

WHO: MEF Americas and the Mobile and Entertainment Industries

WHY: Mobile Leadership Summit, which is free and open to all, will deliver thought-provoking sessions and bring together senior executives from across the mobile entertainment spectrum including: studios, production companies, music labels & publishers, game & applications developers, portals, marketers, handsets providers, carriers and service providers.

The Annual General Meeting and Board Elections will be voting in seven new board members who will help shape the direction of the mobile entertainment industry in the Americas, Canada and Latin America. Newly elected board members will join an impressive list of current Board member companies.

For more information regarding the Mobile Leadership Summit, contact Christine Krajewski at christine_krajewski@livewiremobile.com. For more information on becoming a MEF member or general election information, please contact Mike Navarre at mike@m-e-f.org.

24 July 2009

MEF Leads the Way at Communicasia and via Singapore based Mobile Alliance group

CommunicAsia, 16-19 June 2009, Singapore

MEF brought some industry insights to CommunicAsia on “Pressing the right buttons --- Can Mobile Entertainment Meet the Consumer Desire?” Led by Colin Miles, MEF Asia Board Member & Executive Vice President of i-POP, the 4 panelists from SPB Software, Buko, Locatrix and Acme Mobile made the following comments:Localisation is key
  • Viral marketing works magic in Asia
  • Free apps will always exist
  • Asians are willing to pay for quality
  • Engaging customers creatively through different modes such as “try & buy” and making sure apps are easy to use
  • Operators are encouraged to:
- add value by helping the mobile entertainment players understand the customers better
- provide a fair revenue share to sustain the growth opportunities in mobile entertainment

CommunicAsia2009, in conjunction with BroadcastAsia2009, attracted 54,354 attendees, 1,923 exhibiting companies from 60 countries and regions last month.

MEF also hosted two exclusive networking and intelligence-sharing events – The MEF/KPMG Briefing to share the highlighted the latest report on Consumers & Convergence III and the MEF Connects Party on 18 June 2009.

Finally, MEF signed a memorandum of intent to help establish Singapore as “a vibrant and innovation-driven Hub for home-grown mobile content and application developers” as a founding member of the local Mobile Alliance.

17 July 2009

MEF regulatory workshops offer platform for industry consultation

MEF are holding our third regulatory workshop on Tuesday 21 July in London. PhonepayPlus will be presenting at this interactive session in an active step to seek industry input and feedback on the pre-consultation discussion paper (PDF download) for their 12th Code.

Dubbed “the most significant revision in the organisation’s 23-year history”, the phone-paid services UK regulator is asking for substantive comments by 1 August, although the discussion will be ongoing as the formal consultation will not kick off until the Autumn.

Following hot on the heels of MEF’s workshops on the CAP/BCAP Code and Ofcom Scope Review, the session will be hosted by international law firm and MEF member Denton Wilde Sapte and is open to all MEF members. Head of Industry Support & Policy at PpP, Mark Collins, will be presenting and taking Q&A.

PhonepayPlus 12th Code Pre-consultation
Date: Tuesday 21 July
Time: 9am – noon
Venue: Denton Wilde Sapte, One Fleet Place, London EC4M (Google Map)

“We now have a great window of opportunity to work with PhonepayPlus and Ofcom to ensure that the current regulatory regime evolves to meet the needs of consumers while also supporting an innovative and dynamic mobile entertainment industry.”
Suhail Bhat, Policy and Initiatives Director, MEF

“The development of a new Code of Practice is one of the most important activities that we undertake to ensure consumer protection in an ever-changing market. We welcome the opportunity to participate in industry discussions, such as MEF’s workshop, to ensure we’re canvassing the widest possible cross section of the industry. I very much look forward to next week’s session.”
Mark Collins, Head of Industry Support & Policy, PhonepayPlus

But be quick! Spaces for these workshops are extremely limited - please contact Sarah Roberts if you would like to attend. For more information about regulatory issues contact Suhail Bhat or visit our website.

13 July 2009

MEF Leads the Way on Mobile Entertainment and Mobile TV Debates

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the MEF team and following on from the recent success of MeM 2009 and the Meffys, we’ve been featured in some high profile publications for the work we’ve been doing on the Mobile Entertainment and Mobile TV debates.

Firstly, Reuters and the International Herald Tribune featured Andrew Bud, Global Chair of the MEF, and the global research that MEF conducted with KPMG into consumer satisfaction with mobile entertainment. In an article called ‘Apps a nail in coffin of broadcast mobile TV’, Andrew talks about the lively debate surrounding mobile TV versus mobile video. Andrew is quoted saying:
“Mobile TV is all about real-time, linear transmission ... where the timing of the programming was set by the broadcaster and the consumer would dip in and dip out.”

"Mobile video is much more about video-on-demand. It gives the consumer much more freedom. It's also a little less stressful on the mobile networks."
The article also notes:
"A survey by KPMG and the MEF found that nearly 40 percent of consumers had at one time watched a piece of mobile video on their handset: 52 percent of them said the experience was satisfying, against 38 percent of a much smaller number of users who said they had tried broadcast mobile TV."
MEF was featured in another article on Reuters this week, entitled ‘Mobile entertainment seeking players and payment' that looked at MEF’s work on the second Business Confidence Index (BCI) compiled by KPMG:
“From social networks to games, images and music; online entertainment has increasingly moved to the mobile handset…

According to the trade association Mobile Entertainment Forum, the global mobile entertainment industry is now worth some $32 billion dollars.

According to a survey released in June by the forum and compiled by KPMG, the industry also remains confident that it can continue to grow strongly despite the current economic challenges, predicting average revenue growth of 28 percent for 2010.”
Both of these pieces highlight that MEF is leading the way on the mobile entertainment and mobile TV debate and is looking out for what’s happening to the industry in our own backyard. For more information about the MEF BCI, compiled in collaboration with KPMG, see http://www.m-e-f.org/news/mef_news/bci2/

07 July 2009

Regulation: the time is right for the industry to speak up, be heard and make a difference

  • UK mobile industry set for a record number of consultations
  • MEF calls for joined up approach to reviews from multiple regulators
The mobile media industry is being subjected to a record number of consultations from a variety of regulators across the globe. The UK is most immediately affected with five key consultations in 2009 alone:
  • BCAP/CAP consultations [recently closed]
  • Ofcom scope review [currently open]
  • Ofcom Audience Participation in Radio Programming – the use of PRS [currently open]
  • Ofcom Broadcast Codes Review [currently open]
  • PpP Discussion paper on Code [currently open]
There are potentially significant overlaps in jurisdiction between different regulators as recent MEF responses, written in collaboration with MEF’s UK members, show. These overlaps can create a lack of regulatory clarity for the industry, particularly when they seek to determine which regulations apply. For example, some of the proposed changes to the CAP/BCAP Codes clash with the PhonepayPlus Code. In the UK we have Ofcom, the ASA, PhonepayPlus, the OFT and the ICO all with Codes or regulations that apply to the mobile media industry. Any ambiguity is likely to cause serious regulatory uncertainty and as a consequence, the regulatory burden on MEF members runs the serious risk of becoming disproportionate.

MEF has established an EMEA Regulatory committee to deal specifically with the possible burdens imposed on our members and respond to consultations throughout EMEA that directly impact our members' business strategies and revenues. This year we submitted a consensus response written in consultation with our UK members to the PpP Activity Plan & Budget (08/09) resulting in no increased costs for our members. MEF has also provided members-only guides, written by MEF member Denton Wilde Sapte, on issues including the Unfair Commercial Practices and Audiovisual Media Services Directives, as well the PpP Consultation on Mobile PRS.

There is a real possibility that the Ofcom Scope Review coupled with the PhonepayPlus consultation could set a new and positive standard for regulation in the UK. Suhail Bhat, MEF Policy and Initiatives Director, comments: “The Ofcom Scope Review is essential for the industry as its aim is to ensure that the current regulatory regime meets the needs of consumers, affords an appropriate level of consumer protection and also supports an innovative and quickly changing industry. Coupled with the PhonepayPlus discussion paper, this is the best opportunity for the industry with MEF to make a real difference.”

PhonepayPlus has recently announced that the 12th revision of the Code will be among the most significant in the organisation’s 23-year history. Specific focus relates to regulating developments in a technologically fast-paced industry, such as the explosion of mobile phone-paid services, which have changed the face of the industry in recent years.

Ingrid Silver, Partner Denton Wilde Sapte, MEF Board Member and Chair of the MEF Policy and Initiatives Committee states: “There has never been a better time for the industry to join MEF and lead the way in ensuring that the regulations are fit for purpose, transparent and proportionate. The regulators are showing a genuine commitment to review the regulations and MEF will continue to work with them to secure a successful future for the industry and ensure that the consumer trust in mobile media services continues to grow.”

Upcoming meetings for MEF EMEA Regulatory Committee:

  • Ofcom Scope Review (Friday 10 July) featuring a presentation from Ofcom's Jeff Loan
  • PhonepayPlus 12th Code Review (Tuesday 21 July)

Spaces for these workshops are extremely limited - please contact Sarah if you would like to attend. If you would like more information about regulatory issues contact Suhail or visit our website.