Mobile Experts Mull Future8 Dec, 2010 By: Chris Tribbey
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — Amy Randall, VP of creative partnerships and innovation for NBC/Universal, posed a simple question Dec. 7 at the L.A. Mobile Entertainment Summit: “There’s a lot of things you can do [to market content] with a mobile phone. Our question is: What should you be doing?”
It’s pertinent, considering that research firms peg worldwide mobile content as a $60 billion-plus industry by 2012.
For “Heroes” in 2009, NBC/Universal and Sprint rolled out a 10-week story arc for a character in the series, offering Sprint customers the chance to watch the episodes a full 24 hours before anyone else got to see them.
“The goal for us was to link everything together and engage fans using mobile,” Randall said of the initiative, which earned Best Mobile Marketing Campaign at the conference’s awards event.
It’s ingenuity like that that makes mobile a relevant vehicle for promoting content, panelists at the two-day conference agreed.
“Mobile is very much multiplatform,” said Natalie Farsi, head of mobile for Warner Bros. “Thank God it’s no longer just ringtones and wallpaper.”
Embedded radio, live sports streaming, full movies and instant TV episodes, e-commerce, advertising and more are finding a bigger foothold by the day, thanks to smarter phones with faster speeds.
“We’ve spent the past year getting mobile off the ground for Disney theatrical and making it part of every marketing campaign,” said Cheryl Koll, associate director of media innovations and mobile for media agency Starcom.
Michele Tobin, VP of media sales for mobile advertising firm Millennial Media, said the past year has seen an especially strong push by content owners to promote their theatrical titles on mobile devices. “Everyone is testing to see how it works,” she said. “[But] you have to be a little bit careful about giving away [bonuses].”
Farsi said she believes eventually people will be profiled based on their mobile hardware, with specific apps with specific content geared toward different users. “It’s not one-size-fits-all anymore,” agreed Bill Sanders, managing partner for Imagine One Mobile.
For Joerg Bachmaier, SVP and GM of Americas for entertainment programmer Endemol Worldwide Brand, the big issues with mobile content is making it work across all items, and making sure content owners are getting the right return. A $2 mobile phone sale probably shouldn’t be sold that cheaply on an iPad, he said.
“If there’s one truth about the mobile world, it’s that it’s fragmented,” said John Fogarty, VP of business development for Fox Mobile Group. “Once you find that home run, it’s difficult to scale it across multiple platforms.”