Archive for the ‘ mobile entertainment ’ Category

Nokia and NME offer mobile music

We’ve discussed mobile music services before (see Towards a DRM-free music distribution? and Music downloads for your mobile). A couple more market players are now getting into the mobile music business.

It is expected that at the end of the month, Nokia will announce the autumn launch of their online music service, to coincide with the European launch of rival iPhone. The service will allow to download songs to computers for transfer to mobile phones and other portable music players.

Another new service is NME Mobile, an off-portal mobile music service offered by the famous music magazine New Musical Express (NME). Their mobile internet site will contain over a million premium download tracks. Miles Ross, IPC Media head of mobile, reacts: “Now, with NME Mobile, music fans will be able to get music, news and more on their handset. NME Mobile is the best mobile music service on the go.”

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Mobile content via satellite

Soon it will be possible to send mobile content through satellites.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is currently working on a technology that allows mobile devices, such as mobile phones and GPS systems, to receive content that was send out by satellites. This mobile content can be videos, tv and radio programs.

With the large coverage of the geostationary satellites, the content can be brought wherever in the world. That’s why it could become a new interesting distribution channel for content providers.

As a reaction, the European satellite providers SES Global and Eutelsat Communications have started the development of satellite infrastructure meant for the broadcast of video, radio and data to mobile devices. The first of these broadcasts can be expected early 2009.

Music downloads for your mobile

British telecom Omnifone has launched MusicStation, a new music download service for mobile phone users in Sweden. All subscribers of the Norwegian group Telenor can enjoy unlimited downloads for a weekly fee of 25 Swedish kronor (2.99 euros, 3.98 dollars). About 80% of all mobile phones will be compatible with MusicStation. In the coming weeks, the new mobile service will be introduced on markets across Europe, Asia and Africa.

With this launch, Omnifone has beaten Apple to the global market. Apple’s iPhone, offering music storage and Internet access, will be introduced in the US within two weeks (June 29) and in Europe by the end of this year.

“MusicStation’s launch heralds the beginning of the next generation of mobile music,” states Omnifone chief executive Rob Lewis. “Hundreds of millions of mobile phone subscribers worldwide will soon gain the ability to download and play unlimited amounts of music, wherever they are.”

Music downloads for your mobile

Mobile entertainment impacted by cameraphones

More and more consumers these days own a mobile phone with build-in camera, which means they’ll less likely buy wallpapers or other graphics for their phone. Because with their cameraphone they can easily take a picture and use that to personalise their mobile.

That’s the main conclusion of a survey done by M:Metrics, an American mobile market research firm. Mobile entertainment revenue, mainly the sale of wallpapers and phone graphics, is declining as increasing numbers of people personalize their phone with photos taken on the device.

On the other hand, the pictures that are taken with the phone, are more often send out by photo messaging, which has a positive impact on operator data revenues. Photo messaging is one of the most popular mobile applications, with more than 31% of mobile subscribers sending photos or videos to other phones, e-mail or blogs.

For an extensive view on the use of mobile content and applications in the markets of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK and US, read the press release at the M:Metrics site.

Mobile Entertainment impacted by cameraphones

Towards a DRM-free music distribution?

In a recent publication Steve Jobs, the big boss at Apple, has given arguments to stop DRM (‘Digital Rights Management’) for the download of music. He is convinced this will lead to a significant rise of the online sale of music. The music industry badly needs the additional revenue from music downloads to compensate the decrease in revenue from CD sales. Will it be possible for them to keep their grip on music distribution still exclusive, or will they soon have to let go of all DRM security?

DRM, central in the strategy of the record companies
The large record companies have been struggling for years with the problem how to battle against the illegal copying and downloading of music. The past few years, the rise of the Internet and popular tools to copy CDs have caused the downfall of income for record companies. In Belgium IFPI, the association of record companies, reports a decrease between 2000 and 2005 of no less than 30%.
The development of DRM techniques initially seemed a blessing for the record companies. Through DRM music files are protected and can only be listened at by the person for whom the file was intended (and who necessarily also paid for it). Thanks to DRM, a legal music download business has developed. In Belgium this brought 4 million euro of income in 2006. This income is still only 5% of all music revenue.

iTunes Store

Executing DRM: complex and no interoperability
To prevent illegal copying, DRM systems have to make sure that only authorized appliances have the right to play the protected music. Therefore DRM systems use secret keys and complex cryptographic algorithms. However, no DRM system is 100% fully secure. Many hackers find a challenge in searching holes in such systems and then report them on the net.

Because of the intrinsic complexity and the need for a secret setup of the DRM systems, it is not easy to develop an ‘open standard’. The result is that every hardware producer has setup and maintains his own DRM system, and that these systems are not compatible with each other.

The world without DRM, a dream?
‘Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players.’ dreams Steve Jobs out loud in his open letter.

For the consumer, such a system only has advantages. To make this acceptable for the music industry, the business model will have to be further clarified.

Two possible scenarios appear. In the first, the price of a download purchase is lowered significantly, which takes away the incentive for illegal copying. In this scenario, downloading stays the most important distribution model. In a second scenario, the consumption of online or mobile music is only offered in streaming. The consumer has permanent access to the entire catalogue and pays a monthly fee to his ISP or mobile operator. Research has proven that consumers are willing to pay up to 6 EUR per month for such a service.

Both scenarios have significant pros and cons. No matter what, the music industry is confronted with the devastating choice to let go of the DRM model, that generates only limited revenues, and to try alternative ways.

Mobile blogging… moblog!

A while ago, this blog featured an article on Web 2.0, explaining the impact of the participation of the end-users. The success of blogs and user-driven sites such as YouTube and Wikipedia are textbook examples of the power of Web 2.0

In our business, it’s always interesting to see the convergence of the Internet and mobile communication. Belgian mobile operator Proximus started an interesting new project called ‘moblog’, which allows you to send a picture with your mobile via MMS to a the dedicated shortcode 4488. This picture then gets automatically posted on your ‘mobile blog’ where everyone can see it.

The initiative is targeted a young & dynamic audience and is therefor integrated into the “Pay&Go Generation” subsite. Check out the MobileWeb moblog here.

Proximus Moblog