27 May 2009

Meffys awards shortlist underlines mobile entertainment’s evolution and global reach

We've announced the shortlist for the 2009 Meffys Mobile Entertainment Awards, which were selected after three days of judging involving 43 international press and analysts. Now in their sixth year, the 180+ submissions reflected innovative content, services, applications and handsets deployed across more than 60 countries, intensifying the level of international competition and prestige.

The categories cover virtually every aspect of mobile entertainment and media, and for the first time included the Business Intelligence Award to recognise companies which are helping the mobile media industry better track, quantify and analyse data to support continued investment. For the second year running, the categories also included the Quality of Experience Award, judged by the end-users themselves through we are:London, an innovative user-centred design agency who are experts in multivariate testing and behavioural targeting.

The Meffys shortlist demonstrates the unprecedented evolution and highlights unique trends in mobile media and entertainment. For instance, emerging markets (in which mobile has overtaken internet penetration) are driving innovation and fuelling growth with a range of simple and practical solutions for overcoming economic, technological and commercial barriers and driving mass adoption.

“From the meteoric rise of apps-inspired vendors and content owners in driving consumer engagement to the remarkable growth achieved in emerging markets and the evolution of transparent, user-friendly business models, the 2009 entries provide a window to all the latest trends and innovations. More than ever, the Meffys reflect the increasing importance of mobile as a key engagement and entertainment channel for consumers.”
Rimma Perelmuter, Executive Director of MEF

This year’s winners will be unveiled on 23rd June at a special gala awards dinner in London to an audience of 300 key industry players. Hosted by leading social commentator, BBC presenter and comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli, the gala evening is set to be the most exciting Meffys to date. As every year, the event takes place on the first evening of MEF’s official annual conference, Mobile Entertainment Market.

For a full list of previous Meffys winners, please visit: http://www.m-e-f.org/meffys/meffyspreviouswinners/

The Meffys are supported by an impressive array of media partners covering the mobile, entertainment and advertising industries. These include: Admin, BPI, CDG, contentSutra, FutureMedia, Gomo News, IMA, MobiAdNews, mobilefest Brazil, Mobile K², MobileMonday Italy, London & NY, MSEARCHGroove, mocoNews, Musically, Music Week, NATPE, paidContent:UK, PocketGamer, Politecnico di Milano, STL Partners, TIGA, Wireless 4 Innovation.

Meffys 2009 Shortlist (alphabetical)


• Bolt Creative for ‘Pocket God’
• Gameloft for ‘Real Football 2008’
• Nokia for ‘ONE’
• RealNetworks for ‘Tropical Towers’
• Twistbox Entertainment for ‘Play for Prizes’

Music Service
• 24-7 Entertainment for ‘TDC Play’
• Dada & Dada Entertainment for ‘Dada Music Service’
• Gracenote & Gravity Mobile for ‘MusicID 2’
• IMImobile for the ‘IMImobile Full Track Music Download’
• Shazam Entertainment for ‘Shazam on iPhone’
• Vodafone Group for ‘Vodafone Music’

TV & Video Service
• BBC for ‘BBC iPlayer on mobile’
• MobiTV for ‘MobiTV’
• PacketVideo for ‘Orange World TV for iPhone’
• Rubberduck Media Lab for ‘Sonofon Mobile TV’
• Telegent Systems for ‘TLG1100/1120’

• 2020 London for ‘Thmbnls – Interactive Mobile Drama’
• MOFILM for ‘Talk to the Hand’
• Trixcell for ‘Mobile Magic’
• Xs2TheWorld and OgilvyOne for ‘Kodak Snow Stories’
• Zed for its ‘NBA Mobile Offering’

Technology Innovation
• AdMob for ‘AdMob for iPhone’
• Gracenote and Omnifone for the ‘Gracenote and Omnifone Solution’
• Kyte for the ‘Kyte iPhone Applications Framework’
• Nokia for ‘Nokia Ovi Store’
• Saffron Digital for ‘Rapivo’
• United Fun Traders for ‘JAM4ME’

Social Networking
• Handmade Mobile Entertainment for ‘Flirtomatic’
• MTS for ‘MTS City’
• Nimbuzz for ‘Nimbuzz’
• Vodacom SA/Vodafone for ‘The Grid’
• Zero9 for ‘Club KdVc’

Search & Discovery
• Handmark for ‘Pocket Express’
• MTS for ‘MTS Super Search’
• SurfKitchen for ‘Orange Downloads v1.0R’
• Telecom Italia for ‘Next Open Innovation’
• uLocate for ‘WHERE’

Ad Campaign
• 2020 London for ‘Thmbnls – Interactive Mobile Drama’
• Inside Mobile for ‘Reebok – You Got Rondo’d’
• Ogilvy Advertising London for ‘Fanta Stealth Sound System’
• Pontomobi Interactive for ‘Skol Beats 2008 – It’s Up to You’
• TURKCELL for ‘Tone&Win’

D2C Service
• Binbit for ‘Binbit’
• GetJar for ‘GetJar’
• Thumbplay for ‘Thumbplay ’
• Sony Pictures Television Int’l & Sony Ericsson for the ‘PlayNowTM Kiosk’
• Volantis Systems for ‘Ubik.com’

• CBS Mobile for ‘NCAA® March Madness On Demand®’
• Open Software for ‘Opera Mini 4.2’
• Orange for ‘GlastoNav’
• Pelephone Communications for ‘SuperTV’
• Social Gaming Network for ‘iFun’

Quality of Experience
• Dolby Laboratories for ‘Dolby Mobile’
• Skyfire for ‘Skyfire’
• Telenor Pakistan for ‘Telenor PhotoExpress’
• Thumbplay for ‘Thumbplay OPEN’
• Telefonica for the‘O2 mobile internet portal’

Mobile First Innovation
• Hungama Digital Media for ‘Tata Sky’
• MXit Lifestyle for ‘MXit IM Book’
• Sony Pictures Television Int’l & Sony Ericsson for the ‘PlayNowTM Kiosk’
• Telenor Pakistan for ‘Telenor PhotoExpress’
• Vodacom for ‘The Grid’
• Zain for ‘Zain Create’

Business Intelligence
• Bango for ‘Bango Analytics v3’
• comScore for ‘GSMA Proof of Concept’
• Flurry for ‘Flurry Analytics’
• Informate Mobile Intelligence for their ‘On-device metering technology’
• Openwave Systems for ‘Openwave Mobile Analytics’

Innovative Business Model
• mBlox for ‘Sender-Pays Data’’
• Orange for ‘Dolphin Pay-As-You-Go package’
• Telefonica for the ‘Global Mobile Ad Server’
• The Orchard for ‘Mobile Roadie’
• WDSGlobal for ‘configuremyphone’

• INQ Mobile for the ‘INQ¹- the world’s first social mobile’
• LG & Dolby for the ‘LG Arena (KM900)’
• Nokia for the ‘Nokia 5800 XPRESSMUSIC’
• Research In Motion for the ‘Blackberry Storm’
• Samsung for the ‘Samsung Tocco Ultra Edition’

Meffys 2009 Judges

A special thank you to all who took part in our judging sessions representing the following organisations:

Analysis Mason, Beep Marketing, Billboard, Bnet, Cnet, CCS Insight, Daily Telegraph, Five Eight, Forrester, Financial Times, Frukt, GoMo News, Guardian, IDC, IMA, Informa, Juniper, KPMG, Media & Marketing, MMA, Mobile Marketing, MobiAdNews, Mobile Choice, Mobile Communications International, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Game Faqs, Mobile Industry Review, Mobile Insight, Musically, Msearch Groove, NMA, Ogilvy, Ovum, Pocket-lint, PocketGamer, Politecnico di Milano, Really Mobile Project, Recombu, Register, Screen Digest, Strategy Analytics, Stuff, TelecomTV, Trusted Reviews.

21 May 2009

Meffys judge Alex Farber looks at opportunities for innovative mobile content providers

Writing on NMA.co.uk this week, Alex Farber argues that there’s a real opportunity for talented UK businesses in the mobile content industry to apply their skills and experience globally.

In an article titled 'Best entries in mobile awards expose others’ weaknesses', Farber looks at how, while helping to judge the sixth annual Meffy Awards, he was struck by how far mobile services have come.

Farber was part of a panel looking at the content and social networking categories for the event, organised by MEF, and gives advice to those operating in the industry:
"The best entries clearly stood out as well considered, thoroughly produced and mobile specific; those that help to fulfil a need in a real-life scenario or that entertain in an integrated way... The bar has been raised by innovative pieces of work. If you’re going to take time to offer a mobile service, do it properly."
You can read the whole article here.

The Meffy Awards ceremony will take place as part of MEF's Mobile Entertainment Market in London on 23 June.

20 May 2009

The API Arms Race

News of Vodafone’s promise to mobile application builders to create a dedicated channel to market and a billing system for their services has recently caused a stir in the industry.

This signals the importance of smart pipe enablers to the mobile content industry, an area that the MEF has been a strong advocate of as shown by our Smart Pipe Enablers Initiative, which Vodafone is leading, along with mBlox and the BBC.

One of the benefits to the smart pipe approach is that app developers will be able to charge for their products directly through Vodafone’s billing system. Although opening up these APIs could present regulatory problems, MEF is pleased to see that Vodafone is engaging with the content community to come up with the vital business definitions that are complementary to other industry efforts underway. MEF believes advances like this will be a boost for the content industry, allowing the off-portal community - where nearly half of the industry’s $32 billion value resides - to take Mobile Entertainment to the next level.

Vodafone’s announcement also made reference to a framework which will be put in place to provide customers with transparency and control over how their information is accessed and used. This openness and transparency is welcome, as success is intimately dependent upon the quality – reliability and simplicity – of the user experience. Rather than following the technology route and release API after API in a bid to ‘out arm’ their competitors, MEF is pleased to see that the operator is looking at other innovations to support the content community.

By involving the mobile content industry fully in smart pipe approaches such as this, operators can ensure that they are providing relevant services to address the needs of the content community and in turn encourage the enthusiastic uptake of newly-available enabling services. This first step by Vodafone is to be applauded.

MEF will be publishing the results from its Smart Pipe Enablers Market Survey this summer and this will be followed by the first of several White Papers outlining the agreed Service Definitions for Enablers such as bulk SMS, premium billing, short code rental, age-verification, identity authentication and location look-ups amongst many others to work towards a coherent and co-ordinated approach to enablers that delivers cross-operator alignment, sustainable commercial models and regulation of smart pipe enabling services.

19 May 2009

Judging the Meffys

This post is written by Rimma Perelmuter, Executive Director of MEF. To find out more about the Meffys and to book your seat at the event, please go to the offical website at http://www.m-e-f.org/meffys/

For the 6th year running, MEF hosted a marathon 3 days live judging session, bringing together 43 international press and analysts to demystify, debate and ultimately deliver 2009’s shortlist of lead industry innovators and trendsetters.

Things sure have come a long way since the days when MEF first introduced 3 categories for Music, Games and Innovation and recognised the ‘founder of the ringtone’ at the 2004 inaugural Meffys in London. With a whopping 15 categories, 180 applications and more than 40 countries represented, the Meffys have become the industry’s benchmark for recognising success and innovation.

I had the privilege and undeniable fun of chairing the judging sessions with MEF’s Kim Arazi, who manages the Meffys and picked up some useful trends worth sharing:

  • A proliferation of new off-portal business models has morphed the definition of what constitutes a ‘D2C’ player. With social networking companies, apps-inspired vendors and brands developing new ways of appealing directly to the consumer, D2C is going main stream and no longer just the domain of the aggregator.
  • ‘Mobile First’ markets in which mobile has overtaken internet penetration continue to drive innovation and fuel growth with a range of simple and practical solutions for overcoming economic, technological and commercial barriers and driving mass adoption. If you want to see what drives social innovation and revenue, this is the one to watch.
  • 2009’s successful mobile ad campaigns are less about the latest mobile technology and more about using mobile as the optimised medium for sharing content, achieving consumer engagement and ‘nudging’ the consumer to test and try new digital products. So simple yet so true.
  • Who pays for the content delivery and discovery continue as universal themes with new models proposing ad-based, transparent data options and other payment solutions that shift the onus from the operator.
So what remains to be conquered?
  • You won’t be surprised to hear that apps have transformed the market for mobile content discovery and adoption with their amazing range, targeting success and fun appeal. And yet, the apps movement has some way to go in terms of helping the average non iPhone consumer partake in the fun of it all. Democratising apps, monetising the freemium model and building a great user experience is surely the way forward.
  • Business intelligence has certainly come a long way from the days of Excel spreadsheets and educating the operators on the benefits of sharing anonymised data. At the same time, the mobile media industry is still in the evolutionary stages of agreeing definitive metrics and measurement. And while the Meffys judges were impressed with the range of analytics which meet the needs of developers, brands and publishers for accurate data, sustained advertising investment will require a much accelerated and comprehensive approach.
To see what our judges thoughts click here and view the buzz on Twitter about the Meffys here.

Stay tuned for more revelations once winners are announced on June 23rd at the Meffys gala dinner in London and be sure to sign up to attend the gala dinner to meet the industry’s luminaries and glitterati.

We look forward to seeing you there!

15 May 2009

Mobile Entertainment Forum response to Ofcom's Premium Rate Services Scope Review

Suhail Bhat, policy and initiatives director at MEF, has outlined his initial thoughts on the long awaited Premium Rate Services (PRS) Scope Review issued today by Ofcom:

"This follows the recent and thorough PhonepayPlus “Mobile Phone-Paid Services and their Marketing” consultation which imposed prior permission for certain mobile services. The Ofcom Scope Review is important to the industry as its aim is to ensure that the current PRS regulatory regime meets the needs of consumers, affords an appropriate level of consumer protection and also supports an innovative and quickly changing PRS industry. Ofcom states that there are currently gaps in the regulatory framework in the UK that need to be addressed and specifically targets areas of performance that need to be explored. These relate to:
  • The clarity of pricing in PRS and the impact on consumer trust and confidence
  • The mechanics of consumer redress in the PRS sector
  • The ability of the current regulatory regime to deal with new and emerging services
  • The effective application of a regulation across the PRS value chain
  • The feasibility of a service provider registration scheme and its benefits for regulation and
  • Any overlap between PpP role and that of other regulators and consumer protection bodies.
The Scope Review cannot be looked at in isolation of other regulatory developments within the UK or the EU. For example, we are working on a response to the recent Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) consultation on changes to the content of their Codes. CAP/BCAP is proposing to adopt aspects of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive which bring their Codes directly into conflict with the PpP Code. And the PpP Code itself is scheduled for a major overhaul from September 2009. There is also a proposed new regulator for audiovisual media services through the DCMS which again covers mobile content for video on demand services and advertising.

It is becoming harder to navigate the complex regulatory requirements set out by different regulators. MEF has produced clear guides to all these pieces of regulation for its members and will continue to work with regulators to ensure that the regulatory frameworks meet their objectives. However, at the same time, we hope that the Scope Review will serve as a comprehensive detailing of what needs to be done in the long term to promote our industry and adequately protect consumers - not just a review that is valid until different regulators issue any further consultations."

MEF will be discussing the implications of the Scope Review and other proposed changes in legislation on Tuesday 26th May at 4pm as part of its EMEA Regulatory Committee.