Mobile content for cell phones

The Guardian

Everyone had a new buzzword at last week’s mobile media congress in Barcelona. But few had any decent ideas.

From IHT

Angel Gambino, vice president for commercial strategy and digital media at MTV, one of the television companies that has taken the biggest steps toward distributing to mobile phones, said the key was to make mobile-specific content that kept in mind both the limitations and the strengths of cellphones.

The challenge

LetÂŽs assume the future will be bright. LetÂŽs assume cellphones will be exceptional and they will be able to run everything (web, video, audio, office…).

In this scenario MTV will want to have direct access to the consumer (probably throught MVNO) and be able to collect all the information and revenue available.

Microsoft, SUN, Apple, will do the same. They will want to have complete control of the consumer experience and pocket (just as they are doing now).

So, will the carrier be someone neutral? Consumers, whoever they choose as carrier, will have access to the same content.

Yes, you got it, just like over the internet.

So NOW carriers need to move fast. They need to create something special so consumer will consider paying extra for that content, software or whatever defines the future.
Otherwise, carriers will be a shadow in mobile’s bright future.

Content is king

If you think content will be king, there are two words you need to forget.

  • LIVE.
  • General audience.

And two you need to put on your "to do" list.

  • On demand.
  • Long tail.

Now, letÂŽs look at a few key points that may help to create something worth using.

1. The experience of using a mobile as a multimedia platform is unique

Most mobile operators are developing content in a way that doesn’t have the "user experience" in mind.

Companies are just getting "popular content" aiming for the big head.
Things like Madonna in Movistar, or the UEFA Championship in Vodafone are dull.


Emulating Playstation or Tv is a big mistake.

Because these products have exposure everywhere and in better ways than over the cell phone.

The quality (picture and sound), the delivery system (broadcasting, cable, satellite), the user experience (I am at home watching MTV on my TV) isnÂŽt something you can take as it is and put it on a cell phone.

If you think about gaming, the experience of the playstation or the game boy is richer than anything you can do on a cell.

2. The mobile experience is personal. Exploited

Because a cell phone is a very personal tool (the tv, the pc or the console are household tools) you need to think about content that can fit in this environment.

Things that people can not share over mainstream media is content that you must deliver over mobile (or any P2P) platform.

Think blogs, think podcast, the personal connection, the personal opinion, the personal expert, are
values you can bring to the mobile experience.

3. When can you use the cell phone as a multimedia device? Scenarios

Another factor is the "moment of use".
A cell phone has its time. When you are moving from one place to another, or when you are working, or when you have a break on your own.

At home, the cell is something secundary because of the PC, Playstation, TV, family, friends, etc…

The mobile content needs to fit in a time when the user is alone and has little to do, and that time should be exploited.

People commuting is a huge universe

Making nice content that you can listen to during a 20 minutes ride should be a must for most mobile

LetÂŽs think in someone call "John Regular".
He takes the same ride daily from home to work. This ride is something like 20 minutes. He likes sports, news, technology, and some bands.

He is waiting for something that can be interesting/fun to listen to during the ride.

People at work is another universe

Making content that you can listen to during work hours is another must.

The word "listen" is important. Not "watch".
Watching something is a very intrusive experience. You need to leave everything to concentrate on the images you have in front of you.

The audio experience is a more relaxing experience that you can do at work. And there are plenty of hours at work that content providers can fill.

LetÂŽs think about "Mary Fun".
Mary likes dancing, shopping and the gym. She wants to know the latest about music, fashion and some cool cars. But with a feminine edge.

Also, she is always the one to take a group of 6 friends to bars, clubs, and restaurants.

Got it?

People who work all over Europe

I guess this is a smaller market, but still interesting (the business traveller). Providing a guide when you are in a city that you donÂŽt know is a nice feature.

Where to go, places to see, etc…

LetÂŽs think about "Paul Busy"
Paul Busy travels weekly for business around Europe. Monday = London, Wednesday = Amsterdam…

Every week the same thing. The same food. The same hotel.

He doesnÂŽt care much about the bill. The company is paying for all the expenses. But he doesnÂŽt have time to bother finding something new.

Or does he?

And donÂŽt forget the tourist

Most tourists donÂŽt want or donÂŽt have internet access while they are on a holiday, but the cell will be with them.

Fill it up with content that matters. And here, we are talking about millions of visitors. What about all the british that go to Spain on a holiday. Millions of tourists in France.

The carrier knows when the users is in another country. They should guide them to content that matters.

4. Create content that matters

Compressing mainstream media to the mobile is not going to work.

It is ok to have CNN on the platform as a brand, but you need to have another kind of journalism.

Direct, straightforward, casual, are the key elements.

Anchors. But not the usual ones

I think now is the moment to bring new experts to the platforms. People with a different perspective, more insights, more edge to say things you may not expect from the traditional media.

Or the usual ones but in a more personal way.

Or just bring the sacred cows but without the corporate corset. Let people talk as they would do
without the mic. Saying things that they think are important instead of reading some edited feed.

5. Viral content as a tool to promote long term relationships

Viral content right now is the big thing over cell phones. Because they are short, "funny" and can be delivered without much trouble.

Right now it is a tool that promotes content and technology.

But you should not think of viral as a final product.

Virals are ok to promote more long term relationships and by long term relationships I mean stuff that you request to download, not stuff that gets on your phone without permission.

Final notes

Mobile carriers should move NOW towards the platform status (like NBC, BBC, TF1…) where they will buy content to sell ads.

The content they should be creating or buying should be something that fits in the "mobile user experience",

This content can not compete with mainstream media or video games on the same level.

This content needs to find new moments when the experience over a cell phone is better and richer than over any other media.

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