Tag Archives: Adrian Hall

How to Make Money from Mobile Content

From the Mobile Content & Marketing Expo

San Jose, CA—How can you miss with a panel on making money? This session, with Joe Laszlo, director of advertising at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), moderating a panel made up of mobile video executives, was packed. Each executive spoke about his or her company’s business model. Susan Cashen, vp of marketing at mywaves described the company as a handset agnostic mobile video service that delivers video around the world. “Because we’re free, we’re dependent on advertising,” she said. “We’ve also recently launched commerce with entertainment. When a consumer is immersed in an entertainment experience like watching a free Beyonce video, it’s a natural for them to be able to buy Beyonce content, both virtual and real goods.”

Transpera CEO Frank Barbieri described his company as “building the largest premium ad-supported mobile video network.” Networks in Motion is an applications and platform provider for the mobile phone, focused on search and navigation, with a subscription-based model. “Navigation and search is alive and well on the paid platform,” said CEO Doug Antone. Bytemobile CMO Adrian Hall said his company provides services to the carrier as an enabler to the end-user. “We basically enable the mobile Internet for the end-user,” he said. “And we see user-profile information which is useful for contextual and behavioral targeted advertising.”

On the advertising front, asked Laszlo, are advertisers are willing to pay a premium for mobile? Bytemobile’s Hall said the one thing that appears obvious is that the more targeted the ad, the more valuable. Barbieri said that mobile has far more focus of attention than the PC, where the screen could be displaying several windows and other distractions simultaneously. “For brand advertisers, that increased attention leads to better numbers,” he said. “I think the news is fairly good in these early days.” Cashen said about 6.5 million unique come to mywaves every month; they come twice a week and spend 20 minutes, watching 2 or 3 minute segments. “A 30-second pre-roll just won’t cut it,” she said. “In the short term, there are big opportunities to connect with consumers via direct marketing. There’s genius to leverage the video entertainment on the handset from the point of view of a brand. Taking what works on the web on mobile is taking baby steps,. You have this incredible storefront on the handset. Click-to-call, click-to-buy: there’s no better measurement. Leveraging the entertainment to create action is where we feel good.”

Cashen said that transcoding video for the consumer gives her company information on the consumers. “We have the ability to target by DMA, time of day, and type of handset,” she reported.

Everyone is trying to drive personalization and the consistency of brand across multiple devices, noted Hall and more personalized advertising based on user needs will create a dramatically stronger click-through rate. The mobile marketing campaign has to have ways to interact with the user, said Barbieri. “We work with our brand advertisers to brainstorm the mobile marketing campaign and how to target the audience.”

Antone observed that his company’s business model is different in that the user pays $10/month to navigate. “It’s no longer how you get from Point A to Point B,” he said. “We want someone to turn it on in the morning for real-time traffic information. Not just where’s the local movie theater but what’s playing and when. It’s all available on your client-server application on your handset. See us as a publisher that’s getting your content out to people. Our customers are the carriers, who sell to their customers. That’s our strategy. All of them have this $10 price point. At some point it’ll be $5 and beyond that it will be zero, a free application. The relevance of this is that when someone is mobile, they’re also motivated. When you’re in a browsing application and looking for a restaurant, you’re motivated to go. Targeted, pertinent advertising that can happen during that search is what we’re focused on.”

But to get the numbers, the only way the carriers can make that work is to draw in big percentages of their users. To get 50 to 60 percent, they’ll have to change the pricing model. “We’re betting on the idea that they’re going to try to do that and not roll over,” said Antone

Focusing on how the Networks in Motion product will one day be free, Antone talked about the challenge. “It depends how good we all are at creating the economics on the back end,” he said. “That listing of Italian restaurants in your neighborhood, for example. Would you find it offensive to get a manipulated search, where the restaurant that’s farther away pays to be listed first? When do consumers say, Forget it – you’re giving me something I don’t want. We have to do this in a way that there’s enough economics but the consumer still likes it.”

Finally, panelists spoke about the role of the carrier, between the extremes of a dumb pipe and a walled garden. “There is a smart pipe concept where there’s a tremendous amount of marketing and merchandising power that any one would be a fool to ignore, because they have a connection to the user with billing inserts, with product marketing on the deck,” said Barbieri. “There’s a relationship that can be used to promote content well. We have to move from a programming-type mentality of carriers to more of a merchandising, marketing and retail type of relationship. And that’s good for us and for the consumer as well. We have yet to get to the point where there are tremendous marketing and retailing competencies at some of the carriers, but that’ll change.

The carriers could move faster,” added Hall. “They are desperately trying to be smart pipes and it’s incumbent on us to work with them to become smarter. While they’re starting to recognize they’re sitting in a unique place and make smarter use of the user profiles they see. By doing that effectively, they’ll continue to be smart pipes or, in some cases become smarter pipes.”


Filed under Advertising/Marketing, Content, Monetizing Mobile

Targeted Advertising: Is Mobile the Holy Grail?

There are those who think the subscription model for mobile content is the way to go. There are others who think content will largely be free and that advertising will be the predominant revenue model.

For those of us who are in the second camp, one of the compelling reasons that advertising is alluring on the mobile platform is that it’s the only device that is always on and always with you. And, unlike the fuzzy metrics of a “household,” the mobile phone user is a single individual, who drinks Coke or Cabernet, likes NASCAR or knitting. The mobile phone is the ultimate platform for targeted advertising, a way to address ads to a more granular audience and the Holy Grail to the cable and broadcast industry.

The mobile phone may be ideal in its form factor and shape for addressable or targeted advertising, but still has a long way to go to be a practical player in the game. One of the main reasons for this is that most mobile users still don’t consume video and, for those that do, the experience can be slow and trying. I spoke with Adrian Hall, CMO of Bytemobile, about his company’s work in making the mobile phone a friendlier platform for video and, thus, for serving targeted advertising.

Hall says that their customers report that 30 to 50 percent of their data traffic is video and multimedia. (Group deployments of Bytemobile’s products include T-Mobile, Vodaphone, China Mobile and Orange, among others). The main product is the Media Fidelity service, which enables video on phones with no additional technology or extra clients. “It’s all done from the server within the network we have. we have a software-based platform with multiple different services, from web adaptation to video adaptation, and even a service that filters content,” he says.

Click here for a demonstration of Bytemobile’s Media Fidelity product.

“Most mass market phones can’t cope with video’s intensive, big files,” adds Hall. “Because of where we sit in the network, we can change the format to something the phone can accept. We look at that device and adapt, whether it’s video or web to the limitations of that device and serve the right amount and type of data.”

Of course, using a solution like Bytemobile’s Media Fidelity service means that a carrier can offer new data services without asking customers to swap out handsets or download software. “The chances of signing up for a data package rather than just standard voice are massively increased,” says Hall.

The end user also doesn’t see how Bytemobile adapts to the inconsistencies of the network itself. “We dynamically look at the speed of the network and we will measure and change the amount of data that can be accepted, protecting the integrity of the video,” says Hall. “Even on a slow link where there’s no way to send video, you can and it’s extremely viewable. It makes the mass market phone look like a more sophisticated smart phone.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean that smart phones can’t use a boost.

Click here for a demo of Bytemobile and the iPhone.

Now, back to the topic I started wtih: targeted advertising. What role does Bytemobile play in this?

Bytemobile sits within the networks of the 92 carriers it works with and has access to all of the subscriber data passing through, which means that it has the ability to deliver relevant and personalized ads based on contextual, behavioral and demographic targeting.

Click here for a Bytemobile demo on mobile advertising.

“What’s very exciting is that advertising is one way carrier can fund its overall model of much higher bandwidth networks,” says Hall. “From an end user perspective, we won’t accept a bill that’s ten times higher. Advertising is a palatable way to make this affordable.”

Not everyone agrees with Hall’s assessment on this, but he points to a survey Bytemobile did that revealed that 80 percent of users would accept advertising if they could get a video for free.

Bytemobile has the capability to insert a pre-roll or post-roll. “What’s fascinating is that because of where we sit in the network, we see user behavior,” says Hall. “If you like sports, the carrier can start targeting ads of interest to you rather than something completely irrelevant. Then, therefore, the amount of dollars attributable to click-through rate is higher, which helps the industry fund the new business model.”

In this regard, carriers and their partners face the same spectre as do cable and broadcasters: privacy rights. Hall stresses that the data it sees and uses is the carrier’s data, and that the carrier is charged with abiding by privacy laws. “We enable the carrier to use the data that they see anyway,” he says. “That’s a really critical point. We’re not taking data out of the network, but enabling carriers to use it more effectively within the legal constraints.”

Though the reality is that wide-spread adoption of addressable advertising for the mobile phone isn’t going to happen tomorrow, it’s just too good of an opportunity for advertisers to ignore. Even–or perhaps especially–for broadcasters and cablecasters developing advanced advertising strategies, the possibilities of targeted advertising on the mobile phone will be too enticing to ignore.


Filed under Advertising/Marketing, Devices