Archive for September, 2008

Media companies join Nokia’s mobile advertising network

 Nine European media companies, among which AFP, RTL, Cnet and International Nokia Herald Tribune, have joined the Nokia Media Network.  This means they allow the Finnish mobile manufacturer to exploit visits to their mobile internet sites.  Nokia claims to have a commercial reach of more than 100 million mobile surfers.  The click-through rate on the mobile advertising on the Nokia network is supposedly above 10%.  Apart from revenue sharing from advertising income, Nokia also offers technical services such as banners, the creation of mobile sites, location finders, mobile coupons, etc.

Pumbby partners with Mobistar

Mobistar and Pumbby enter into a partnership and launch a joint mobile phone advertising initiative for Mobistar customers. Thanks to this partnership, Mobistar customers can earn some extra euros by subscribing to a service sending them commercial messages they are interested in.

Research has shown that 50% of young people are prepared to receive commercial messages on their mobile phones in exchange for certain benefits. Mobistar therefore launched a promotional initiative with Pumbby to reach these young people. Pumbby offers Mobistar customers a Pumbby subscription to receive commercial messages on their mobiles in exchange for a fee. Subscribing to Pumbby is possible on Orange World, Mobistar’s mobile portal, or the tempomusic.be website. Customers decide themselves which information they want to receive and can unsubscribe at any time. Once customers have subscribed to the service, they receive text messages with a link they can click on to see the commercial message.

Pumbby gives users a fee of 0.44 euros for each commercial message they visit. Because TempoMusic customers only pay 0.25 euros per mobile internet session, their net profit per visited commercial message is at least 0.19 euros. Pumbby sends no more than 10 commercial messages a day. Mobistar postpaid customers can earn some euros with Pumbby if they opt for the Orange World bundle of 6 euros/month. If customers subscribe on Orange World, they can view several commercial messages in one session.

On the Pumbby portal, customers can exchange their obtained credit for Tempo prepaid calling cards, cinema tickets, DVDs, CDs, books … or they can choose to have the amount transferred to their bank account.

SMS texting is more popular than voice calling

Sending SMS text messages has become more popular than calling the person. A study by The Nielsen Company has found out that the average US mobile subscriber sends or receives more than 350 SMS messages per month, while making or receiving only 200 voice calls. The number of voice calls has remained steady over the past two years, while the volume of text messages has increased with 450%. Back in early 2006, the monthly average was at 198 calls and 65 SMS messages.

The biggest drivers of the SMS traffic are teenagers: teens between 13 and 17 years send on average a staggering 1.742 SMS per month! This amount seems to go down with age:
– Age 18-24 send/receive about 790 SMS/month.
– Age 25-34 send/receive about 331 SMS/month.
– Age 35-44 send/receive about 236 SMS/month.
– Age 45-54 send/receive about 128 SMS/month.

Google unveils own mobile g-phone: the T-Mobile G1

Yesterday, after months of anticipation, internet search giant Google unveiled their own mobile phone.  The mobile device, manufactured by HTC and developed in collaboration with mobile operator T-Mobile, has been baptized the T-Mobile G1.   It will start quite a competition with the popular iPhone of rival Apple.  The handset, which is based on Google’s Android platform, will be available in US stores on October 22nd for $179, which is 20 dollars cheaper than the iPhone.  It comes with a 2-year subscription with T-Mobile.

the T-Mobile G1

At first glance, the design seems to us a bit less sophisticated.  It’s thicker but narrower than the iPhone.  Many of its features are similar to the iPhone and Blackberry: touch screen, trackball navigation, 3G, Wi-Fi, e-mail, GPS,…  Advantage over the iPhone is the Qwerty keyboard and a higher resolution camera (3 megapixel). However, the G1 can’t shoot video, while the iPhone can. 

To compete with Apple’s iTunes store, the T-Mobile G1 offers access to 6 million MP3 songs in the Amazon store.  And of course, there are lots of Google applications integrated in this smartphone: Google maps, Gmail, Youtube.  The mobile device is also aimed to boost Google’s open source Android software platform.

Surely, we’ll hear lots more about this new toy in the coming days & weeks!
Full product presentation can be found on www.t-mobileg1.com/

VRT launches beta version of DeRedactie & Sporza Mobile

Yesterday, the flemish VRT launched the beta version of the mobile site for their news site DeRedactie and the sports section Sporza.  After the launch of De Standaard Mobile, this is the second large mobile news initiative in Belgium. You can visit these beta versions at m.beta.deredactie.be and m.beta.sporza.be.

DeRedactie mobile on an Apple iPhone

The mobile internet site of De Redactie visualizes on its first page the latest headlines.  A drop-down menu leads to other news articles in the sections politics, economy, culture & media and the regional sections.  Interesting feature is that you can listen to the latest news bulletin and the latest newspaper headlines.  Too bad this feature is hidden so deep in the drop-down menu.

Sports news is separated into Sporza Mobile, but can be reached via the top navigation of DeRedactie Mobile.  Same concept there: latest headlines and pictures on the first page, other sections in the dropdown menu.

DeRedactie mobile also contains the latest updates on weather and traffic info in pure text form.   The weather map and the traffic jam map (filekaart) that are visualized on the website have disappeared on the mobile version.

Mobile search on the rise

A recent study of Comscore M:Metrics revealed that mobile search is gaining in both popularity and frequency of use in the US and in Western-Europe.

The UK has the highest penetration of mobile subscribers using search at 9.5 percent. The U.S. reported the strongest growth (68% on an annual basis).

Mobile Search via Mobile Device

Three-month average ending June 2007 and June 2008

United States and Western Europe

Source: comScore M:Metrics MobiLens

Mobile Search Users (000)

% of Mobile

Subscribers

Country

Jun-07

Jun-08

Percent

Change

Jun-07

Jun-08

France

1,483

2,196

48%

3.3%

4.7%

Germany

1,316

1,837

40%

2.8%

3.7%

Italy

2,010

2,810

40%

4.5%

6.0%

Spain

923

1,293

40%

2.9%

3.8%

United Kingdom

3,454

4,497

30%

7.7%

9.5%

Europe*

9,186

12,633

38%

4.3%

5.6%

United States

12,353

20,793

68%

5.8%

9.2%

*Includes top five countries listed.

The study reveals further that as the number of mobile search users increases, the frequency of activity is also growing. The number of people accessing mobile search at least once a week grew 50 percent in Europe.

Accessing Mobile Search via Mobile Device at Least Once a Week

Three-month average ending June 2007 and June 2008

United States and Western Europe

Source: comScore M:Metrics MobiLens

Users (000)

Country

Jun-07

Jun-08

Percent Change

France

423

715

69%

Germany

462

634

37%

Italy

860

1,219

42%

Spain

298

487

63%

United Kingdom

1,105

1,695

53%

Europe*

3,148

4,714

50%

United States

4,990

10,177

104%

*Includes top five countries listed.

Google is the preferred search brand attaining market share between 63% and 90%.

Telegraaf Media believes in Mobile Advertising

After a testing period of 4 months, Telegraaf Media Nederland is starting mobile advertising on the mobile internet sites of De Telegraaf and Sp!ts. Advertisers can buy bannerspace for 40 euro; the banner will be displayed until it has reached 1.000 views. There’s only one banner per page, but it takes up to a third of the screen, to make it is obvious enough.

The test results were very positive. Having one banner on the page didn’t seem to bother the visitors. Even better, the clickthrough rate was similar to the early days of the Internet. Of course this is because it is a new service.

The success rate of the mobile banners in the long term remains to be seen. Ashu Mathura, CEO of MADS, the mobile advertising provider involved, explains: “Mobile advertising is still small in Holland, but it’s gaining popularity because of the iPhone and other smartphones on the market. We expect that within 24 months from now, mobile advertising will be a default part of every marketing campaign.”

The two mobile sites of De Telegraaf have a combined reach of 240.000 unique visitors per month (180.000 for telegraaf.mobi). Both sites have a total of 4 million page views per month.

In Belgium today mobile advertising is only available on Vodaphone Live (the mobile portal of Proximus). Orange World (the portal of Mobistar) will launch a similar offering in the near future.

Combined sales for mobile phones? Yes please!

With the recent launch of the iPhone 3G, the discussion about combined sales of mobile phones and mobile subscriptions in Belgium has started again. According to an article in De Tijd on September 13th, the European Commission wants to have this ban on combined sales lifted.  As a service provider, we are a very much in favour of making such combined sales possible. This is an absolute necessity to stimulate the development of new multimedia services on mobile networks and to give this young and promising industry a chance to blossom.

Belgium has once again made the international news tribunes with less favorable news: we have the most expensive iPhones 3G in Europe in the shops of Mobistar. Benoit Scheen, CEO of Mobistar, excused himself for this at the launch of the iPhone 3G. He mentioned the lack of combined sales between mobile subscription and mobile device as principal reason for this high price tag. Minister Q, who is busy these days with the planning of the telecom policy, hurried to express his discontent on this ban as well. Even Test-Aankoop – who is generally against combined sales – explicitely spoke in favour of lifting the ban under certain conditions.

In other countries, for example The Netherlands, where combined sales are allowed, the iPhone is marketed at considerably lower prices. In certain packages, the iPhone is even offered at 1 euro. Without any doubt, such low price tags lower the access barriers for the purchase of new multimedia devices. This way, the mobile phone park is renewed much quicker. On average, most users also buy better quality devices.

We also see the combining of mobile devices to subscriptions erases another important barrier in the adoption of new services: the devices are all properly confiured at purchase. From my own experience: GSM with Orange subscription bought for 1 euro in the Fnac in Paris. 5 minutes after purchase: ready to use and surfing on Orange World. In Belgium, we can only dream of this.

Because of the ban on combined sales, the penetration and the use of new mobile internet services is a lot lower in Belgium than in countries who do allow this. In France for example, about 25% of all mobile subscribers between 15 and 50 years old uses the mobile internet every day. Because of the lack of combined sales Belgium risks to get seriously behind in this market. That is not only a bad thing for the mobile operators, who desperately need the revenues from data services to achieve their growth goals. It is also a missed chance to build up a local mobile multimedia industry, with the loss of employment as a result. The amount of companies active in this sector in Belgium can be counted on one single hand.

We are hereby calling on all policy makers, including minister Magnette who in De Morgen reacted rather negative on the initiative of the European Commission: lift the ban on combined sales and open the gate to a growing and florishing mobile multimedia activity in Belgium. We are convinced that in the end the consumer will get better from this as well, with better devices and more mobile services available.

MobileWeb launches mobile site VDAB

MobileWeb.be has launched a mobile internet website for the VDAB. This gives the possibility to search a job on your mobile phone, no matter where you are. The site m.vdab.be is available for free on every GSM, smartphone, iPhone and Blackberry with WAP function. With this introduction on the mobile internet, the VDAB further extends their services for job searchers.

Job offers on your GSM
The mobile site concentrates on the consultation of job offers. For the moment, the technology allows to search a job in a certain region and to refine it with a keyword. “We have kept it simple to facilitate the surfing.” says Karim El Sayeh, product consultant at VDAB. “We follow the technological innovations closely. In the long term, the possibilities of the mobile website can be extended, but for the moment we give priority to the quality of the service.”

An optimal presentation on every GSM, Blackberry and iPhone
Since the VDAB wants to have all offered information available for as many people as possible, the mobile site was modified to be displayed perfectly on the different mobile devices that are available in the market. For this, the VDAB collaborated with MobileWeb.be, specialist in the development of mobile sites, who optimized the mobile site for GSM, smartphone, iPhone, Blackberry and HTC. The size of the images and the font are automatically adapted to the screen size of the device.

To consult the VDAB database, you can surf with your mobile to m.vdab.be, or you can send a free sms with the code “VDAB” to the number 8080. You will then receive a direct link to the mobile site of VDAB.

Coca-Cola uses Bluetooth for mobile campaign at Olympics

Coca-Cola launched a mobile marketing campaign at the Olympic games in Beijing, using Bluetooth technology to contact consumers.  The soft drink giant collaborated with Shangai-based advertising agency Pioco, who installed some 1500 hot spots in and around Olympic stadiums and surrounding areas.  All Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone users who entered the hot spots received a request to download an Olympic-themed Coke commercial.  Even though consumers didn’t receive an incentive to respond to this request, the campaign generated 880.489 downloads from Aug. 1–31.

Coca-Cola, an official sponsor of the 2008 Summer Games, employed various media for its Olympic marketing, including television, online and print. According to Steve Chao, co-founder and CEO of Pioco, “the goal was to open up an extra distribution channel for the Coke TV commercials targeting the young generations.” He added that, since most of the stadiums were built around schools, the hotspots enabled Coca-Cola to reach as many students as possible.  Bluetooth was chosen for the campaign in part because of its popularity among Chinese consumers. “China has a 35% Bluetooth penetration,” Chao said.
In addition, Bluetooth is user-friendly. It offers a faster transfer speed than many other mobile formats, giving marketers more options to design compelling content. And downloads don’t cost the consumer a dime.

Source: BtoB