28 January 2009

MEF comments on what to expect at the upcoming Mobile World Congress

Rimma Perelmuter, Executive Director of MEF, recently appeared in Mobile Business in the build up to this year’s GSMA Mobile World Congress.

In a feature called ‘Unveiling the Colussus’, Rimma comments on MEF’s upcoming initiatives, such as the Business Confidence Index and Content Sales Reporting template:

“The Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) will be helping its members understand the opportunities and challenges that have resulted from the economic downturn. Rimma Perelmuter, executive director at the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), says one of the first things MEF will be doing is understanding how its members feel, through sharing and discussing the results of the newly launched Business Confidence Index. This will highlight the state of the industry and illuminate key trends, providing competitive advantage to members and an important tool for the industry to better prepare for the future.

Perelmuter adds: “We will also be looking at ways in which the industry can remove barriers to growth and develop essential metrics with our Content Sales Reporting (CSR) initiative. The MEF CSR template will help media owners reduce revenue leakage of up to 10% and provide evidence for better product marketing, leading to sustained investment in mobile.”

You can find the article in this month’s online issue of Mobile Business.

22 January 2009

MEF response to PhonepayPlus consultation

Suhail Bhat, policy and initiatives director at MEF, has outlined his initial thoughts on today's announcement from UK regulator PhonepayPlus: 'New measures for mobile phone-paid service and their marketing':

“MEF welcomes the sentiment of today’s PhonepayPlus (PpP) consultation on mobile phone-paid services. Our members support measures that promote transparency for consumers without hindering their access to and enjoyment of mobile services. It is encouraging that so many consumers are using phone-paid services, nearly 50% according to the PpP consultation document.

Our main concern is that the proposals appear to collectively punish the majority of content providers by creating a layer of red tape without actually addressing a small number of rogue elements that persistently mislead consumers.

We believe that all forms of non-compliance and consumer harm should be dealt with immediately and we would have liked elements of the new rules to allow for consumer complaints to be resolved more quickly. While we are still studying the changes, at this stage we are not convinced that the new regulations achieve anything that wasn’t possible under the previous Code of Practice.

However, we will be studying the consultation further following discussions with our members and working with Denton Wilde Sapte LLP to produce a guide to its implications for MEF members.”
Suhail Bhat, policy and initiatives director, MEF

Initial points:

Concentrating on Subscription Services
  • Prior permission is restricted to services that will cost more than £4.50 per week
  • While we understand why PpP has introduced the prior permission regime, this arbitrary threshold does not add extra protection
  • The harm is not caused by the weekly charge or the joining fee but by a failure to provide sufficiently clear information about the costs and conditions associated with using the service (transparency issue)
  • The requirement for prior permission will not affect the minority of companies that cause consumer harm and they are unlikely to be deterred by this threshold. This is a collective punishment approach for an entire industry where the vast majority of service providers comply with the existing Code requirements.
  • Some companies may simply drop the weekly charge to £4/week to escape the need for Prior permission. This does not help the industry nor does it provide the greater clarity of information sought by PpP

Double Opt-in requirement
  • Only those service providers that need to apply for prior permission need to comply with the double opt-in. This creates an un-level playing field for the industry
  • At £4.50/week you need to have a double opt-in and yet the same service/content charged at £4/week does not need permission and does not to have double opt-in
  • This does not seem to provide for a more transparent and user friendly consumer experience
  • PhonepayPlus recognises that most phone-paid services are spontaneous, low-cost and provide users with instant gratification. Having a double opt-in seemingly undermines these attractions

16 January 2009

Music that feels like free, but what does it actually cost and do the sums add up?

In the sessions MEF organized at the annual Popkomm music conference in Berlin last October, Jupiter’s Mark Mulligan predicted mobile music’s success lay in subsidised subscription services.

Furthermore, these services needed to harness the best attributes of mobile yet be fully integrated cross platform. Cue the recent Omnifone announcements in the US on multi-device synchronisation of their unlimited music service.

Taking the discussions a stage further, we’ve organised a panel at the world’s music gathering, Midem, on Monday 19 January (10-11am). Entitled “Music that feels like free – but what does it actually cost”, MEF has gathered a stellar line-up of speakers from across the value chain; from artist manager through to handset manufacturer, moderated by MEF EMEA Chairman Gerard Grech.

Other industry profiles confirmed to speak include:
Kicking off with a quick recap courtesy of the Frukt agency on subscription services ‘past, present & future’, the session will look at the different services available and debate some of the challenges including business model sustainability, user experience and consumer take-up.

You can find out more about the event and other MEF activity at Midem here.

14 January 2009

Say hello to MEF's new Global Marketing Director

The MEF team would like to welcome Stephen Jenkins to his new role as Global Marketing Director for MEF. Stephen will play an instrumental role in communicating and driving awareness of MEF’s initiatives and activities to drive mobile entertainment adoption, shape regulation and deliver competitive advantage to its members.
It is a hugely exciting time for the mobile content industry. I am looking forward to ensuring our members’ views are represented and demonstrating the value of a single strong voice for the mobile entertainment industry.”
Stephen Jenkins on his new role as Global Marketing Director for MEF

Stephen has twelve years experience in the music industry and joins from the PIAS Entertainment Group where he was Head Of International Marketing and instrumental in driving marketing campaigns for labels including Wall Of Sound, Independiente, Full Time Hobby and Fabric. Prior to this he spent seven years at the EMI Group, initially as part of the trade marketing team and subsequently as part of the international marketing team at Virgin Music.

“With Stephen’s wealth of experience in the content industry and his broad marcoms expertise, we are confident he will deepen awareness of MEF’s industry changing initiatives and activities on behalf of our members to key stakeholders. I look forward to working closely with him to build upon MEF’s successes and drive awareness of our upcoming initiatives and events.”

Rimma Perelmuter, Executive Director of MEF

In this new role, Stephen will evolve MEF’s digital marketing to engage and inform members around the world on key developments. He will also work to raise awareness of MEF’s influential industry reports and initiatives, including critical work on content sales reporting and mobile video. Stephen brings extensive music industry experience to the forum and will work closely with the global MEF team and chapters.

Stephen has a degree in Mathematics and Management Studies from Liverpool University, has been certified by the Chartered Institute of Marketing and has previously taught percussion and tap dancing!  He is a passionate music fan with an enviable and eclectic record collection (11,000 records plus) and DJ’s in his spare time.

05 January 2009

Welcome to MEF’s new Social Media Press Office

Andrew Bud, Executive Chairman of mBlox and Global Board Chairman of the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), introduces the MEF Social Media Press Office with a look back at 2008 and a look towards what is in store for MEF and the mobile content industry in 2009.

I’d like to welcome you to the MEF’s exciting new Social Media Press Office. We’ve designed this site so that we can communicate quickly and dynamically with the industry and the world’s media.

As the global trade association of the mobile media industry, it is our task to deliver change that enables the industry to grow faster, to illuminate key trends in the market, and to carry out public affairs work to support the industry’s development through better regulation and a positive consumer experience.

We’ve had a busy and effective 2008. Key achievements include:

  • Shaping regulation by gaining industry-wide backing for MEF’s UK and US Participation TV Codes of Conduct
  • Raising awareness of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS)and the Unfair Commercial Practices Directives (UCPD) to protect the Industry’s revenues and ensure a positive consumer experience
  • Launching MEF’s Content Sales Reporting initiative to tackle revenue leakage of up to 10%
  • Succesfully lobbying helped halt the Verizon Wireless proposed MT fee increase 
  • Delivering competitive advantage to members by sizing the market for Advertising Funded Mobile Entertainment across 3 continents and 5 countries
  • The best ever Meffys Awards showcasing the global and diverse mobile entertainment industry
  • New members including BBC, Bharti Telecoms, Dolby; KPMG; MediaFlo, Publicis, RIM; Telefonica Group, Turkcell, Vimpelcom and Zed.
  • The expansion of MEF activities into the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Canada
  • Launching the MEF Business Confidence Index to highlight the state of the industry and key trends

2009 promises to be an important and interesting year for mobile entertainment. On one hand, the global economy is facing unprecedented challenges. On the other, our $25bn global industry has already weathered and prospered through hard times as well as good and 2009 will be a year in which almost a decade of investments begin to deliver returns. By the end of 2009 over 30% of consumers in the developed world will have 3G handsets with 80%-90% HSPA coverage, making 2009 the year that mobile internet and video really take off.

Through an emerging combination of flat-rate data plans and content-sender-pays data schemes, the consumer’s fear of using rich mobile media will start to dwindle. The ‘iPhone effect’ has resulted in mobile applications emerging as a new content category which will grow in 2009. New phone-top widgets and applications, and the proliferation of touch-screen devices, will make the purchase experience better for many consumers. The consumer’s desire for quality entertainment in anxious times will grow our industry’s market, as it becomes increasingly able to deliver a better product.

The higher growth economies continue to prosper and in many cases to lead the way. In 2009, Russia will become the largest mobile entertainment market outside the US, and the Asian and South American markets continue to impress. The success in such markets of ringback tones and mobile micropayments will in 2009 have a big effect on the revenue-hungry Atlantic markets. MEF is forecasting that demand for mobile entertainment consumption will remain robust as people enjoy small luxuries during the global recession whilst Emerging Economies will be the driver for mobile entertainment worldwide.

MEF’s task in 2009 is to illuminate these trends in a rapidly changing market with data, metrics and insights which give our members real competitive advantage in the mobile media market. We will identify bottlenecks – such as poor content reporting or a lack of network enablers – and work to address them. And we will work to ensure that the global trend towards more active, hands-on regulation and away from risk-based approaches, resulting from the global banking crisis, has positive results and does not harm our industry and its market.

Despite the challenges, I am excited about the prospects for our industry and MEF’s role in it. Founded in 2000, MEF grew continuously through the very lean years of 2001-3, and today our 160 members represent the toughened leadership of a mature and fast-changing industry. In the digital economy, they will make history, not submit to it.