Tuesday 25 May 2010

MomoLondon: Where Mobile Meets Media

My first Mobile Monday for a while — I’ve been kind of busy with my second child, Oren, born on 7th April.

I arrived late for the presentation by Hugh Griffiths, though what I caught was a bit slow and plodding. However, Helen Keegan did a good job getting an interesting panel of content providers and advertising services together.

Nothing much new was discussed, but it was interesting to hear how the media producers are dealing with the massive skew in the market of the iPhone. Various people are quite rightly saying that targeting the iPhone leaves 90% of your audience feeling left out, but then the percentage of traffic from only those devices indicates that the rest of the market are just so much harder to reach. The iPhone (and hopefully Android too!) makes it easy to interact with digital media when you’re out and about. You didn’t necessarily know you wanted to beforehand, but once you start using it you get hooked.

Panel discussion

Here’s my notes on the panel discussion. I definitely missed various comments from some people, so if you want something corrected or added please leave a comment or @me on twitter.

  • Chair: Russell Buckley @russellbuckley — Admob
  • Jason Daponte @jasondaponte — managing editor of mobile for BBC
  • David Gibb @dgibbs72 — mobile content @ Sky
  • Neil Johnson — Teletext Mobile
    • digital publishing arm of Daily Mail group
    • apps been downloaded about 500k times
  • Helen Keegan @technokitten — mobile media consultant
  • Dave Gwozdz @gwozdz/@mojiva — mojiva
    • serve ads on mobile (motion mobile)

What’s the difference between print & digital?

  • DGz: digital won’t perform the same — different
  • HK: reading more news articles — friends tweet the links
    • concentration span gone down, but media consumption gone up
    • not so much context, just an interesting article
    • not as much brand loyalty

What’s specific about mobile digital?

  • NJ: location
    • length & tone
    • iPhone has been sold with flat rate — key driver
  • HK: using NexusOne primarily at home, when can’t be bothered to get laptop out
    • less adverts on mobile web — can focus on what I want!
  • DGz: maybe you don’t notice the ads ‘cos they’re more relevant - part of the content
    • because it’s a small space, publishers think more carefully about what they place
  • JD: give consumers as much choice as possible
    • BBC have adopted strategy of customisation — allow user to say what their context is
    • short form is a bit of a myth — average viewing time is about 23 mins
    • definitely see people using full fat stuff when the device is capable
    • don’t use location that much — only for people customising content by saying what their local setting is (e.g. roads, weather)
  • DGi: have found that people want to get at the questions of the moment
  • RB: over 50% of pages on iPhone are accessed over WiFi rather then 3G

What about content behind the paywall?

  • HK: have to look at multiple niche revenue streams
    • need to be able to experiment
    • sponsored apps, micropayments, etc
    • lots of people don’t want big brands to experiment, and will crow when they fail
  • DGi: subscription business already…
    • web service is free
    • looking to add value to subscription
    • advertising is one part of our business but not the only part
    • I believe that people will pay for content — as long as it’s integrated
  • JD: not going to be putting up paywalls on the BBC anytime soon!
    • previous job was an editor at economist.com
    • had a subscription model that provided access to the whole brand: web, print, mobile
  • NJ: euromoney has been behind a paywall for a long time, mail & metro free on the web
    • paywalls need content that is valuable enough to pay for — the user can’t get that information elsewhere
  • DGz: question not whether people will pay for content, but how?

Why is the iPhone making such a noise when it has such a small market share?

  • JD: generates 80-85% of traffic
  • DGi: easiest thing to show a manager is to show them an iPhone — but then it can be hard to convince them
    • it has changed our business — that’s where the audience is
  • NJ: application platform
    • all you can eat data plans
    • frictionless payment system
    • all come together to make it many times more popular
    • would love another platform to get such an audience
  • HK: how do we convert this whole other audience to data using in the same way as the iPhone users?
  • DGz: seeing similar 80% of page views from iPhone — totally out of whack with market share
    • but Android is catching up very fast
  • JD: when started, people thought his job was driving around in a truck… now they say “oh iPhones”!
  • HK: still only small percentage of consumers — if advertise an iPhone app, then immediately alienate a large percentage of customers
  • NJ: can you get ROI from anything other than an iPhone app?

Is RSS a new platform for mobile?

  • NO
  • twitter has replaced it completely

Are we going to see traditional media companies failing like bookshops?

  • DGi: customers of tomorrow are on youtube and mobile
  • NJ: seems to be more of a willingness (and ability) to pay
  • HK: media owners have to innovate or die
  • RB: a big time lag between advertising agencies and reality…

Will iPhone-only dev mean another IE6 legacy…?

  • HK: already having legacy handsets — two year contracts and unwillingness to lose data
  • NJ: relatively new platform — actually quite cheap to develop compared to a fully-featured mobile site
  • JD: keep working with open standards on mobile web as well
    • BBC gets an incredible amount of traffic from Africa — pretty sure they’re not using iPhones
  • NJ: apps will remain part of the mix
  • JD: apps will be around for functional stuff — Shazam etc
    • content will move more to the web
  • DGz: the ultimate winner will be eBay — people will sell their apps that aren’t getting any money
  • HK: search & discovery is the issue
    • hard enough to find apps on Nexus One…
    • end up reverting to mobile web
  • RB: seeing increasing use of app providers using advertising to increase search & discovery

How will bi-directionality of mobile media affect things?

  • DGz: click to call
    • but when phones start ringing, they don’t know what to do
    • “that’s what you want to do, no? call, order”
  • HK: sms, email, IM, voice
    • customers should be allowed to give their feedback
    • but can’t assume that all your customers want to have a relationship with you
    • most don’t have time to interact
    • though social media allows sharing and selling on your behalf
  • JD: starting to include “share this” buttons on BBC mobile (facebook, etc)
  • DGi: how do we take calls out of the call centre?
    • customer service apps
  • NJ: a classified business fits perfectly — call to contact & buy
    • 35% of facebook visits came through mobile in March

Is the iPad niche, or a saviour?

  • HK: niche. have played with one and thought “hmm, so what”
  • DGi: “what do I need it for?”, but then what did you need an iPhone for before?
  • JD: coffee table device — my mum is the perfect consumer
    • want something to show friends on the table
    • content looks better than it does on some people’s TVs
    • it’s nice to sit on the couch and read the newspaper
  • NJ: when you start living with it…
  • JD: when we launched BBC iPlayer on mobile, peak time viewing has been after BBC primetime
    • think that people are watching shows in bed

What does the panel think of Android fragmentation?

  • JD: have a very big cupboard with lots of devices… it’s a risk
  • DGi: have to focus on the ones that you think will do well
  • HK: that’s where mobile web comes into its own
    • fragmentation won’t go away
    • not all customers will buy iPhones

How will people pay for content on mobile? @edent

  • HK: paywalls using traditional methods at the moment (i.e. credit card)
    • payment mechanisms as fragmented as platforms
  • DGi: require credit cards at the moment, but using other mechanisms (e.g. Apple)

Appetite — research at Yahoo by Laura Chaibi

  • See teaser on slideshare
  • 55% of people in UK don’t care if it’s an app or a website
  • 44% of people now blame brand if the experience is bad — no longer the operator!
  • “stop building vanity apps and having a one-night stand with your customers”
  • M&S going for mobile web, but with microsites and micro-apps to support
    • e.g. app to create labels for your kid’s school clothes
  • the touch revolution is coming — web site needs to be touch-enabled (and you might as well make it mobile friendly while you’re at it)

Why build an app when you can build it with a web app?

  • NJ: discovery — it’s more difficult to find a mobile web site
  • DGi: easiest way to market is an app store

This seems bizarre to me — surely it’s just as easy to search the web as it is to search the app store? I think it’s more awareness than discovery that’s the issue: iPhone users don’t search Google for a new icon on their device, even though lots of websites will make nice home screen bookmarks

What can happen to move us more towards 3 or 4 screen model (continuing access onto multiple devices)?

  • JD: have to relate to customer on the terms that they understand you, but move them into the digital world
  • NJ: some usage is substitutional to PC and some supplemental
    • e.g. “I saw this great house today — here, what do you think?”
  • DGi: with iPhone, finally have a direct channel to the customer without the operator getting in the way
    • previously, this has been hard
  • HK: phone usage survey
    • do you use the mobile web? No
    • but use facebook & email…

What’s the future of newspapers?

  • DGz: it’ll be here forever
  • HK: will decline, but not completely
    • if media owners can reduce their cost of producing
    • another 50 years
  • NJ: if it does die, the last paper sold will be a copy of the Daily Mail…
  • JD: will reduce to one or two titles
    • the ones to survive will be the ones that innovate and invest in journalism


  • Open Mobile Summit: code MOMO gives reduction to £850
  • Coming soon in MomoLondon:
    • June 14th: Mobile Fragmentation
    • July: Marketing Your Mobile App
    • Sept 10th/11th: OverTheAir
    • Sept 13th: Demo Night