30 June 2009

MEF Asia rounds up latest mobile media events

The MEF Asia regional chapter have been busy over the last few months, having a significant presence at the key mobile and media events taking place in the region. General Manager for MEF Asia, Crystal Chua, outlines some of the significant highlights from three of these events below.

1. Mobile Broadband Asia Pacific Summit 2009, 5 May 2009, Malaysia

MEF Asia Marketing Chair, Colin Miles, was there to share his insights on the “Is mobile advertising a viable play in emerging markets?” panel alongside Yahoo!, Ericsson and OmnicomMedia Group. Some MEF members also took advantage of the complimentary passes to join us at the event.

The key takeouts:

  • It was an excellent, highly focused event which was well organised, with about 150 attendees including all the mobile operators
  • MEF had a strong presence within the program, with the AFME report for Asia being discussed during the Mobile Advertising session
  • Most panelists and audience agreed (with the findings) that it would take a while to mature, and metrics were the key to adoption

2. MEF/CASBAA Mobile TV CXO Summit, 7 May 2009, Hong Kong

Some 42 senior industry players were present at this closed door event to address the pertinent issues on Mobile TV. Thanks to the kind sponsorship from i-POP, SpeedCast, Hungama Mobile & Dolby, MEF, jointly with CASBAA, was able to draw out some key issues such as:

  • Mobile TV depends upon all-you-can-eat data plans becoming standard, on this there was complete consensus
  • The industry was still wrestling with content Licensing models and revenue share challenges
  • Mobile advertising is still some way from becoming business model that is taken seriously for Mobile TV
  • Some great case studies, such as CSL were given, and it was felt VOD is critical to the user experience
  • The KPMG/MEF survey results (issued at CTIA) got an airing to a highly discerning group of industry leaders!

3. Music Matters, 2-4 June 2009, Hong Kong

Now in its fourth year, Music Matters is a forum created with, by and for the Asian music industry and has become a permanent, must-attend fixture on the global music industry calendar.

Social networking, brand awareness, mentoring sessions, digital music downloading and closer relationships between telecommunications and record companies were among the topics that dominated this year’s event. While the ever present issue of piracy was on the minds of many execs, other industry leaders focused on the user experience of consumers during today’s every changing digital age. Many speakers also predict that the US digital music market will be overtaken by Japan in less than 10 years.

An interesting new player in the music scene which was highlighted was none other than Google Music. Google Music was launched in China very recently to develop a potential new revenue stream for labels via a better product experience. Representatives demonstrated the use of an online music search “bubble” which will allow users to find similar tracks in a range of genres.

Supporting Music Matters for the 4th time, the MEF Panel brought about an interesting discussion on “Music Goes Mobile”. Here are the highlights:

  • Optmising the mobile device continues to be key in improving the customer experience for mobile music
  • Cellcos must take better advantage of their partnership with the music labels
  • Creative bundling and pricing strategies can help cellcos enhance the users’ perception of the value proposition

24 June 2009

Inventors of Java on Mobile receive Meffys Outstanding Contribution Award

MEF has awarded this year’s prestigious Meffys Outstanding Contribution award to Dr Antero Taivalsaari, Principal Investigator, Sun Microsystems Laboratories and Mark VandenBrink, Motorola Fellow & VP, the duo who laid the foundations for today’s thriving mobile applications business.

The winners were announced as part of the sold-out Meffys Gala Awards dinner held in London last night. The Outstanding Contribution award acknowledges the industry’s unsung heroes whose achievements have made a significant impact on today’s US$32 billion mobile entertainment industry.

Mobile applications have been the success story of the year. The critical contribution in developing the mobile version of Java paved the way for mobile application developers to create the first generation of downloadable content. The creation of Java for mobile devices was a huge achievement, combining a technology breakthrough with an ambitious vision and, perhaps most challenging of all, winning the support of the entire industry.

In 1997, Dr Antero Taivalsaari joined Sun Labs and within the space of a year had developed the foundation for J2ME, the technology bedrock of the applications business. He subsequently met with Mark VandenBrink of Motorola, who was so captivated by the potential of this technology for mobile devices that he drove its industry adoption. Mark persuaded Motorola to commit to Java and Sun to license it, and subsequently persuaded 26 other handset manufacturers, including Nokia and Ericsson, to commit to Java and to agree on the standardisation of the Java mobile device user profile.

Over the past decade, more than 2.5 billion handsets have been shipped with Java support, under every brand and in every region of the world.

Andrew Bud, the newly re-elected Global Chair of MEF, commented: “On the tenth anniversary of Java on mobile, I am delighted that we have recognised the men who founded this multi-billion dollar revolution, of which today’s Apps Stores are the heirs. Dr. Antero Taivalsaari of Sun, as inventor of the KVM and creator of J2ME, and Mark VandenBrink of Motorola, as the successful prophet of an idea and creator of MIDP, are worthy recipients of this year’s Meffys Outstanding Contribution Award.”

Antero attended the awards and acknowledged the team members who had helped make Java on mobile a reality:“Working in Silicon Valley to develop the J2ME platform was one of the most exciting periods of my professional career. Right from the start, there were so many talented people involved in this project, including Mark. The success of the technology has surpassed all our original expectations, and I am both humbled and proud of the contribution that it has made to the industry.”

Mark, who was not able to attend in person, said: “Back in the late 1990s, when Antero and I first met, we had no idea that a chance meeting over lunch in Cupertino would result in the first cross-platform application environment in the mobile industry. Ten years later, what once invoked incredulity is considered commonplace - now mobile phones are selected, at least in part, by their ability to run applications and to host content. I would like to thank the MEF Board for this award and to say that tonight, I am doubly honoured: not only to have been recognised as a global thought leader and pioneer, but also to have been associated with Antero for these last ten years. Thank you!”

Previous winners of the Outstanding Contribution Award:

2008: Greg Clayman, Gordon Gould and Alex LeVine - founders of ‘Upoc’ for the creation of the first mobile communities
2007: Alain Rossman, Chuck Parrish and Bruce Martin – the founders of WAP
2006: Dr Jim Brailean – Pioneer of mobile video
2005: Taneli Armanto – Put the game ‘snake’ on the mobile phone
2004: Vesa Matti Paananen – Inventor of the ringtones business model

Meffys winners showcase vibrant mobile entertainment industry

MEF last night unveiled the winners of this year’s coveted Meffys awards at a sold out gala dinner in London. The Meffys, in association with Nokia for the third year running, were hosted by Hardeep Singh Kohli, who captivated the audience with his quick wit and passion for mobile.

The winning entries of the sixth annual awards once again provided a snapshot of the range of products, services, apps and projects, from the newly launched to the tried and tested, which are driving the mobile entertainment industry forward.

This year’s winners, representing America, Britain, Denmark, Finland, India, Norway, Russia and Turkey, underlined the Meffys as the global benchmark for recognising success and innovation.

A new award for Business Intelligence highlighted the industry’s growing focus on building definitive metrics and analytics, key to sustaining investment and building on its long-term success.

Rimma Perelmuter, MEF Executive Director said: “In these times of economic uncertainty, MEF is proud to celebrate a $32 billion industry whose relevance and focus continues to inspire innovation and growth. The 2009 Meffys winners are a testament to the industry’s robustness and the central role that mobile is playing in engaging and entertaining consumers around the world.”

Meffys 2009 Winners

Gameloft - ‘Real Football 2009’

Music Service

24-7 Entertainment -‘TDC Play’

TV & Video Service

BBC - ‘BBC iPlayer on Mobile’

20:20 London - ‘Thmbnls Interactive Mobile Drama’

Social Networking

Handmade Mobile Entertainment - ‘Flirtomatic’

Search & Discovery
MTS - ‘MTS Super Search’

Ad Campaign

TURKCELL - ‘Tone&Win’

D2C Service

GetJar - ‘GetJar’


Opera Software - ‘Opera Mini 4.2’

Technology Innovation

Nokia - ‘Ovi Store’

‘Mobile First’ Innovation

Hungama Digital Media -‘Tata Sky’

Business Intelligence

comScore & the GSMA in partnership with all UK operators - ‘GSMA Proof of Concept’

Innovative Business Model

Orange - ‘Dolphin Pay-As-You-Go Package’

Quality of Experience

Dolby Laboratories - ‘Dolby Mobile’


INQ Mobile - ‘INQ¹ - The World’s First Social Mobile’

23 June 2009

Mobile entertainment industry confident despite economic crisis

The findings of the latest MEF Business Confidence Index (BCI) on the $32bn global mobile entertainment industry has shown that the industry remains confident despite the current economic challenges, predicting average revenue growth of 28% for the coming year. The Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) BCI is compiled by KPMG.

Commenting on the findings, Andrew Bud, Global Chair of MEF, said: “A vital part of MEF’s mission is to provide insight in to the market and the BCI is a uniquely valuable tool to do so. This second release begins to reveal the trends in the industry and confirms its optimism about the future.

“In spite of an incredibly difficult economic landscape, the prediction for average revenue growth in the mobile content sector is up 1% on the annual growth prediction from the last BCI to 28%. This echoes the finding that 81% of respondents are as confident about the future of their organisation as they were at the end of last year.”

Rimma Perelmuter, Executive Director at MEF, comments: “The mobile entertainment industry is relatively stable due to proven business models, with more than 50% of total revenue generated from consumer purchased content. Social networking looks set to be the biggest area for growth; followed by games and video; music and ‘infotainment’. It is encouraging to see an optimistic outlook throughout the mobile entertainment value chain, despite uncertainties around forecasting and budgeting.”

The analysis also shows that the ‘marketing mix’ of communication channels within the industry is evolving.

Mark Harding, Director of Digital Content at KPMG, added: “The revenue growth and confidence shown by the sector proves that, despite tougher economic times, consumers are still prepared to spend money on mobile content. The coming of age of the smart phone has no doubt helped to support this, by improving the customer experience and access to exciting mobile applications.

“More organisations in the mobile entertainment value chain are moving their marketing budget towards the industry’s own platform of mobile, at the expense of online and sponsorship and events. However, the mobile entertainment industry’s marketing budgets remained constant over the last quarter and are predicted to remain so over the next, with 87% predicting their marketing budget will remain the same or increase.”

MEF Responds to the CAP/BCAP Code Consultations

Over the last few weeks, we have been working closely with MEF members in the UK drafting a response to the proposed changes to the Code of Advertising Practice (CAP) and Broadcast Code of Advertising Practice (BCAP) in the UK. A cornerstone of the better regulation strategy and implementation is the five principles of good regulation which state that any regulation should be transparent, accountable, proportionate, consistent and targeted.

I am becoming increasingly concerned that the mobile media industry is being subject to a record number of significant reviews. As the CAP/BCAP consultations show, there are clear overlaps in jurisdiction between different regulators covering the same or differing aspects of content and advertising for mobile media services. These overlaps and lack of clarity as to which regulations apply and when, or by which regulator, clearly go against the better regulation principles. This is evidenced by the fact that some proposed changes to the CAP/BCAP Codes seem to clash with the PhonepayPlus Code. Any such 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. The mobile media industry has already been subject to considerable scrutiny through the PhonepayPlus “Mobile Phone-Paid Services and their Marketing” consultation which imposed prior permission for certain mobile services. Ofcom is currently consulting on its premium rate services scope review, we will have a new regulator for all audiovisual services soon and PhonepayPlus is planning to consult on its Code in September. All this in a short 12 month period. While I’m not saying that the industry does not need to be regulated, regulation should not be an impediment to the innovative services that consumers find attractive.

The CAP/BCAP reviews are very thorough and I certainly would like to commend and congratulate them for the time and effort they took to look at their respective Codes. However, there is still much work to be done. Ofcom, PhonepayPlus, the Office of the Information Commissioner, CAP/BCAP/ASA, the DCMS and other bodies with a regulatory function really need to meet to discuss the clear demarcation of their jurisdictions and the applications of their Codes. In terms of our response to the CAP/BCAP Codes, we propose:

  • That the Codes can be more goal based. They currently contain a long list of provisions that highlight misleading practices that can be incorporated in supplementary guidance to the Codes rather than being in the Codes themselves.
  • A clarification in the ambiguity caused by certain proposed provisions – particularly the difference of emphasis in the wording of the children’s provisions set out in the CAP/BCAP Codes. In fact the CAP and BCAP Code implement the same legislation in different ways in the Code.
  • Clear guidance should be provided to cover those situations where there is regulatory overlap. If the complaint relates to premium rate services, then PhonepayPlus should investigate, if it relates purely to advertising, then the ASA should investigate and if it is an issue of data protection and privacy, then the information commissioner should take the lead.

To get involved with MEF and our regulatory work, please contact Suhail for more information. To view our responses, please go to the following links:





15 June 2009

O2 Litmus add to their APIs

Following on from our previous post on Vodafone’s promise to mobile application builders to create a dedicated channel to market and a billing system for their services, we’ve heard the news that O2 Litmus has released four new APIs that will allow developer to query everything from the users location, through to what type of device a customer is using, down to whether they have an ‘all you can eat’ mobile data bolt on provisioned on their account.

Rather than cloud the APIs meaning from consumers, O2 Litmus has used "Enabler" as a jargon free name for an API and explained in simple terms how the Enablers provide access to features of the O2 UK network and infrastructure in a secure and managed way. This allows consumers and the content industry to be better educated about what Smartpipe Enablers are the positive potential that they carry. Their jargon-free description of Enablers is as follows:
“Think of Enablers like "plugs" into the O2 UK network. With your permission, App Developers can use these Enablers to retrieve information that helps them to make more compelling services that are tailored to you.”
They then go on to list example uses for types of information an app could retrieve to customise the user experience. As with the Vodafone framework, this openness and transparency is welcome, as success is intimately dependent upon the quality – reliability and simplicity – of the user experience.

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.

10 June 2009

Mobile Creativity in South Africa

This is a guest post written by Emma Kaye, CEO of Gate7, and looks ahead to the upcoming Meffys moible entertainment awards. For more information on the Meffys, please see here.

South Africa has a mobile penetration of around 90% with a growing mobile entertainment sector. The products and services that we are seeing emerge continue to show the high level of innovation being done to meet the market demands of this growing mobile economy. The global standards of these innovations are now being recognised as both Vodacom and Mxit have been shortlisted for the prestigious Meffy awards.

MediaOnline recently said: "MXit, the global mobile social network and instant messaging provider, has topped Google and Facebook as the social network and website that South African teens use most frequently." This is a good indicator that local innovation is proving to be a huge success within the mobile entertainment market.

As a board member of MEF and a representative from Africa, I am delighted to see that the innovation and products developed here are finally starting to get the international recognition they deserve. I wish them both all the best at the exciting Meffy awards in London.