06 July 2009

Reflections on an industry preparing for the future at MeM ’09 and the Meffys

One week since the MEF official annual conference – the Mobile Entertainment Market – and we have an opportunity to reflect on what a busy and informative few days it was. The global economy may be facing unprecedented challenges, but it would have been difficult to recognise within the conference centre as MeM made a powerful and recession-busting return to London; attendance was up 26% on last year, the exhibition space was completely sold out weeks in advance and the panel discussions were without fail focused on future growth.

The tone for the 2-day event was set during the opening presentation from MEF Board Member and KPMG Director, Mark Harding, who presented the exclusive findings of the second MEF Business Confidence Index (BCI), compiled by KPMG, as well as the Consumers & Convergence study. With the BCI predicting average revenue growth of 28% for the remainder of 2009 and growth areas predicted in Social Networking, Games and Video, the industry is showing its resilience and ability, through robust business models, to protect and sustain the $32bn market.

Throughout many of the panels, two topics continued to be raised – applications and their role in future entertainment enabling services and the impact of the iPhone. The Apple device along with flat rate data plans have clearly had a profound impact on the ecosystem and raised consumers’ expectations; it is acknowledged that this has been primarily through the outstanding user interface, but with only 1.4% of the market (Gartner) this is still a niche, predominantly western, experience. Apps stores are the latest topic de jour and companies across the value chain, from networks to OEMs, are leveraging this new opportunity. However, as James Parton from O2 Litmus commented, the most important thing to consider is the consumer experience – if the market creates further fragmentation whereby we end up with 3 apps stores on a device, this will cause confusion and impede ecosystem growth.
The panels on day 2 which focused on content categories, including music, games and video all highlighted the importance of addressing new business models for delivering enhanced, rich content services to consumers. The MEF Smart Pipe Enablers initiative, discussed during a panel on day 1, will be a vital part of this process as we ensure content owners’ requirements are addressed when developing these new business models. MEF will be announcing in the next few weeks our first webinar on the Enablers Initiative, which will allow both members and non-members the opportunity to understand why this is such an important topic and the significant effect this could have on the value chain. Content owners and content providers are particularly encouraged to register to learn how these new business models, if developed in a coherent and workable manner with your involvement, could have a profound and positive impact on your bottom line.

The need to ensure consumers can access content where and when they wanted was also a focus of the multi-platform discussion and it is clear that mobile will play a fundamental role in this future development. Richard Titus – formerly of the BBC and now CEO of Associated Northcliffe Digital – remarked that the mobile is becoming the “personal remote control” which runs and organises the lives of consumers and acts as an interface for their other digital devices, enabling content to be delivered at a time, place and platform of their choosing. Mobile also presents tremendous opportunities for advertisers and content owners to engage with niche relevancy with consumers in a manner that online could never achieve.

With such a diverse conference, the strength of the MeM event is its ability to address all the key areas that will affect our industry and the opportunities that will deliver future growth; from new content categories and methods of delivery, to the impact of regulation and the importance of growth markets. MEF drive the agenda with kind assistance from our advisory committee, which ensures the key topics are set by the industry, for the industry and this delivers essential learning and business development opportunities for all.

The Meffys

The 6th annual Meffys awards, dubbed the Oscars of the mobile world, are the industry's foremost celebration and global benchmark for recognising success and innovation. This year’s event was massively oversubscribed and saw over 350 of the industry’s most senior–level executives from 25 countries come together to celebrate the nominees and winners. As @JMacdonald tweeted on entering the event “At floridita #meffys - the entire industry is here”! The awards were hosted by the writer, comedian and TV/radio presenter, Hardeep Singh, who entertained the audience with his quick wit and encouraged interaction throughout the night. Twitter was alight with comments and congratulations for, as @princess17 put it “definitely top 10 parties attended in 2009!” and you can read some of the Tweets and chatter here and here.

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 are a testament to the industry’s robustness and the role that mobile is playing in engaging and entertaining consumers around the world."

We congratulate all the Meffys winners for 2009. A slideshow of photos from the night is also available on our website for your enjoyment and to help relive the night. Further coverage of the Meffys will be released over the next few weeks, but for now you can sample a flavour of the event through the footage taken by our media partner, bnetTV.

MEF Global AGM

Before the glamour of the Meffys and the illumination of MeM, there was the important task of electing 3 members to join the prestigious MEF Board at our global AGM. Denton Wilde Sapte graciously lent us their impressive 9th floor offices and - after on opportunity to catch up with other members over canapés and drinks - we updated members on our results for the year and provided a forum for input on the future planning for your trade organisation. It was then time for some impassioned speeches from the nominees and a closed election which saw Andrew Bud of mBlox re-elected as Chairman, joined by Billy Wright from Nokia and Pete Wood from Sony Pictures. They in turn join the following, existing board members:
  • Jim Beddows, MEF Americas Chair
  • Mark Harding, Media & Digital Content Specialist, KPMG
  • Gerrit Jan Konijnenberg, MEF EMEA Chair & EVP of Sales, Comfone
  • Miguel Lopez-Quesada, General Manager, Zed TV
  • Patrick Parodi, CMO, Amobee
  • Neeraj Roy, MEF Asia Chair & CEO, Hungama Mobile
  • Seth Schachner, VP, Digital Business Latin America, Sony Music Entertainment
  • Ingrid Silver, Partner, Denton Wilde Sapte
After 3 days which took in over 80 speakers, 15 panels, 11 ½ hours of passionate, positive and intellectual debate, numerous networking sessions and serious business development – and that’s even before we mention the jubilation and unbridled enthusiasm of the Meffys Awards (!) – it was hard to believe we are in the midst of a recession. The mobile entertainment industry is not immune to global challenges, however it is an industry that has weathered and prospered through hard times as well as good and 2009 is a year in which almost a decade of investments and experience deliver returns. The MEF organised events over the last week proved how proud we should be of this industry and excited by the challenges and opportunities ahead.

MEF will continue to provide competitive advantage for its members, through the sharing of insights and experience at events such as MeM; we will continue to offer member connections and an opportunity to praise at gatherings such as the Meffys awards; we will continue to inject the industry with the appropriate levels of fun and excitement; and through it all we will continue to address the key issues to drive future growth for our members and the industry.

We hope you had a positive and illuminating experience at MeM ’09 and the Meffys and we are looking forward to addressing the challenges and opportunities ahead with our members to shape our future agenda. We are always keen to hear suggestions for how we can improve the event for all the attendees so please contact Stephen, MEF’s Marketing Director, with any comments and suggestions.

Thank you for participating, demonstrating the resilience and positive attitude the industry has to its future and we look forward to welcoming you to the next MEF global conference in 2010.

- The MEF Team

1 comment:

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