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eMarketer's Predictions for 2008: Part II

More of what's to come online in the new year.

Jeffrey Grau, Senior Analyst

Retail E-Commerce

Alternative online payment methods to credit and debit cards, such as PayPal, Google Checkout and Bill Me Later, will gain traction with Web retailers and consumers. Online retailers like these options because they save on processing fees, and research shows that offering several payment options increases conversion rates. Consumers like having more choices and feel more secure about making online transactions.

Multichannel retailers will begin rolling out "buy online, pick up in store" services in larger numbers. This option pairs the convenience of online shopping with the instant gratification of store shopping. Consumers like it because they can avoid shipping fees. A number of big name retailers, including Circuit City, JC Penney and Sears, offer this service.

Recently Wal-Mart announced a variation on that service just in time for the holiday season with its site-to-store option. Consumers who purchase online forego shipping fees by having their items shipped to a local Wal-Mart store for pickup in a few days.

Read more - eMarketer on Mobile, Western Europe, User-Generated Content.

eMarketer's Predictions for 2008: Part I

What will the new year bring?

Ben Macklin, Senior Analyst

Ad Spending

The Beijing Olympics and US presidential election will ensure that advertising spending will spike in 2008 across all sectors. The Olympics marks the "coming out" party of China. As was the case with South Korea in 1988, the games will be an important milestone for China's economic and political development. The competition will be fierce both on and off the sporting field as multinational organizations try to tap into China's growing middle class.

Politics Online

In the recent Australian election, a video appeared on YouTube that showed the prime minister-elect, Kevin Rudd, eating his ear wax. It didn't prevent him from winning the election, but it dogged him throughout the campaign. YouTube and the Internet in general will be an important battleground in the 2008 presidential election campaign in the United States. The influence of online-advocacy groups will continue to grow.

Read more - eMarketer on Online Video, Search Engine, Ad Spending, Social Networking, etc.

German Online Advertising Gets Rolling


Up to this point, the United Kingdom has outperformed Germany online.

Among European countries, Britain leads in Internet penetration, online advertising spending and e-commerce revenues. But German Internet activity is increasing.

In 2007, eMarketer projects that German online ad spending will reach €2.4 billion ($3.29 billion) and that growth will continue at double-digit rates, taking online spending to €3.5 billion ($4.48 billion) in 2010.

"Until recently, economic complications and a degree of conservatism have hindered the development of German online advertising," says Karin von Abrams, eMarketer Senior Analyst and author of the new report, Germany Online Advertising. "Between now and 2012, an expanding broadband infrastructure, vibrant e-commerce sector, active online population and recovering economy should help Germany consolidate its position as the most influential online power on the Continent."

Of course, Germany has a long way to go before contesting the UK.

According to data from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Wilkofsky Gruen Associates, the UK will continue to dominate spending, at least in the short term.

Read more - eMarketer

Retail Firms Treat Web Customers Best

  • Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Miscellaneous

By Jeffrey Grau, Senior Analyst

Apparel chains and mass merchandisers ranked high in The Customer Respect Group's "Customer Respect Index," which measured a customer's experience when interacting with a retailer's Web site.

Overstock.com led all sites with a 7.4 score on a 10-point scale. Behind Overstock were a number of apparel brands, such as Ralph Lauren, Gap and Old Navy, and traditional mass merchants like Kmart, Sears and Wal-Mart.

All these companies outperformed the retail industry average rating of 6.1. The retail industry led all other industries reviewed in 2007, outscoring the insurance, telecommunications and financial services industries.

The study evaluated the sites of a representative sampling of major retail companies across three dimensions.

Site usability measured how easy and accessible sites were to a variety of users. Communication was an indicator of how willing the company was to engage in one-to-one communications to answer customers' questions. Sites were also judged on how trustworthy they were with customer data.

Read more - eMarketer

MCN Launches Digital Content Search Services for Yahoo! Japan for Mobile

Mobile Content Networks (MCN), the world's leading mobile search management solutions provider, today announced the launch of "Uta Search," a music search service available from the home page of Yahoo! Japan for Mobile's market leading portal. Uta Search is the first of several Digital Content Search channels that MCN will power for Yahoo! Japan for Mobile and is available to nearly 80,000,000 mobile users across the NTT DoCoMo and KDDI/au wireless networks.

"MCN believes that mobile search is not an 'all or nothing' proposition, and that mobile operators and portals must create an ecosystem that leverages best practices and partners in order to drive high value transactions," said MCN CEO Marc Bookman. "Our collaboration with Yahoo! Japan for Mobile is an excellent example of this shared understanding, one that begins by putting user needs first."

Yahoo! Japan Corporation is a leading internet brand and one of the most trafficked Internet destinations in Japan. Yahoo! Japan seeks to provide online products and services essential to users' lives, and offers a full range of tools and marketing solutions for businesses to connect with Internet users in Japan. Yahoo! Japan is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.

Yahoo! Japan for Mobile, a subsidiary of Yahoo! Japan, provides a wide range of Yahoo! Japan portal services to mobile subscribers accessing Wireless Internet services on iMode (NTT DoCoMo), EZweb (au) and Yahoo! Keitai (SoftBank). With over 100,000,000 page views per day Yahoo! Japan for Mobile is one of the world's largest and most active mobile sites, and is Japan's most popular starting point for mobile information and content discovery. [Newswire/FierceMobileContent]

UK Leads Digital Race in Europe

By Karin von Abrams, Senior Analyst

The latest report from Britain's Office of Communications shows the UK to be well ahead of most other European countries in its use of digital media. The "International Communications Market" report, designed in part to provide international comparisons for the UK's digital progress, also covers France, Germany, Italy, the United States, Canada and Japan.

Despite noteworthy levels of broadband penetration in Britain, take-up is still rising. At the end of 2006, more than half of all households had high-speed connections, according to Ofcom.

The Ofcom data agree closely with eMarketer's estimates for 2007 and puts the UK ahead of the US for the first time. The UK also has a relatively high number of broadband connections per head; only Canada outranks Britain by this measure.

The UK can boast of other successes. By the start of 2007, more than three-quarters (76%) of UK TV households were receiving digital TV services. This is higher than in any of the other countries surveyed and more than double the percentage of homes in Germany, for example.

Ofcom also found that UK adults spent more time on social networking sites than other Europeans polled. Two in five UK adults regularly log on to these sites, clocking up an average of 23 visits and 5.3 hours each month.

Read more - eMarketer

Outdoor Advertising: A New Look

You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

Outdoor advertising has been around as long as advertising itself, but the old medium is showing new life.

In fact, as digital, video and wireless technologies redefine the sector over the next few years, out-of-home will rank second only to Internet advertising in ad spending growth.

eMarketer projects that US outdoor advertising revenues will rise from $6.8 billion in 2006 to $10.2 billion in 2011.

"Outdoor advertising is bucking the trend," says Ben Macklin, eMarketer Senior Analyst and author of the new report, Outdoor Advertising: A New Look. "While other traditional advertising sectors are struggling to adapt to increasingly fragmented audiences and changing media consumption patterns, the out-of-home advertising sector is actually reaping the benefits of the evolving media landscape."

Unlike TV or radio, out-of-home advertising is immune to channel or Web surfing and digital and video technologies are making the medium more compelling and effective.

As an example of the opportunities that new technologies are opening up, out-of-home video advertising networks will comprise the largest component of what is described as the "alternative" out-of-home advertising sector.

Read more - eMarketer

Social Media Future Bright, Challenging

What's the best way to market to a billion users?

Social media applications will attract over one billion broadband users within five years, according to Strategy Analytics' "The People's Revolution: Implications of Web 2.0 and Social Media Applications" report.

It is usually a great thing to be able to use the word "billion" in a forecast. Yet Strategy Analytics said that real pitfalls could ruin business prospects for some social networks.

"The long term financial viability of even the largest social media sites depends heavily on the ability to develop targeted advertising techniques that are as yet largely unproven, or may ultimately be thwarted by privacy regulations," said David Mercer, principal analyst at Strategy Analytics.

Social networks are attracting marketers' attention for a reason. eMarketer estimates that by the end of 2007, 38% of all US Internet users age 3 and older, or 72 million people, will have used social networking at least once a month.

By 2011, one-half of all Internet users, nearly 105 million people, will use social networking regularly, and that's just in the US.

Read more - eMarketer

Marketers Missing Out on Word of Mouth

  • Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Marketing

When pitching a new product to consumer influencers, use WOM.

Advice from friends, family and experts is consistently cited as an important factor in consumer-purchase decisions. And the Internet has made it easier to spread word of mouth quickly.

Yet fewer than one-quarter of marketers surveyed in September and October 2007 by Ketchum and the USC Annenberg Strategic Public Relations Center for their "Media, Myths & Realities" report said they had a word-of-mouth program in place.

"Communications professionals need to vigorously reassess their communication priorities to meet consumers' needs in this multimedia channel world," said Nicholas Scibetta, senior vice president at Ketchum.

Influencers in the Ketchum-USC study often asked for advice themselves, making word of mouth a good tactic for reaching influencers in particular.

The number of people who have influence—because of their expertise, their passion and their connections—is likely to grow, as the Web offers more user-generated content opportunities and as more companies make word-of-mouth a priority.

eMarketer projects that, in 2007, 66 million adults will have shared advice about products and services and 27 million will exert influence online.

Read more - eMarketer

Ringbacks To Play Ads Instead of Music?

Ringbacks, which play alternative audio instead of a traditional ring to callers while they are dialing a number, are starting to make noise with US mobile users.

The number of US ringback subscribers tripled last year, according to M:Metrics.

A recent J.D. Power and Associates study also found that 9% of US mobile consumers used ringbacks. IDC predicts that 40 million worldwide users will subscribe to ringback tones by 2010.

"In North America, 10.8 million people are using ringbacks today," said John Orlando, vice president of marketing at NMS Communications LiveWire Mobile. "Places like Spain are north of 10% penetration, India is near 40% and markets like Korea have stabilized around 60%."

In a potentially cringe-inducing move, ringbacks could include advertisements. Subscribers could force friends to listen to ads. The subscriber would get free minutes or discounts on mobile content, and the mobile operator could pocket the ad revenue.

Read more - eMarketer

Online Video Revenue To Approach $4B

The research company said that although the United States had the most developed online video market so far, online video revenue for the country would only reach $280 million in 2007, accounting for 1% of the total home video market.

"By 2011 online video in the US will represent 8% of total home entertainment revenues, with Western Europe close behind at 7%," said Mai Hoang, analyst at Understanding & Solutions.

"What's more, multiple formats will coexist in the future, and no one format will control the home entertainment landscape, quite unlike the domination of DVD since the demise of VHS," Ms. Hoang said.

"The new generation of high definition video formats will also help to shore up packaged media's presence within home entertainment revenue streams," she said. [eMarketer]

The MVNO Love Affair is Over

Two years ago there was a new acronym in the wireless industry and many analyst reports predicted that it signified the next big thing: mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO. Earlier this year two of the biggest MVNOs in the U.S. crashed and burned: Amp'd Mobile and Disney Mobile. Their demise followed closely on the heels of Mobile ESPN's closing in 2006.

Disney Mobile, which launched in June 2006 using the Sprint network, ultimately discovered that it could not lure as many subscribers as they originally hoped they could from the big carriers' family plans. Innovative mobile content and special services like Disney's family-finder application pushed the industry to support more location-based services, but weren't enough to convince subscribers to join Disney to get their hands on them.

The service will remain live through Dec. 31 and Disney has offered to reimburse subscribers who purchased handsets, accessories and content through the company. The fate of Disney Mobile's 120 employees is presently under discussion.

Amp'd had subscriber acquisition problems of its own, but rumors circulated that the real poison pill for this MVNO was its subscribers' inability to pay their bills. Despite having more than $360 million in venture capital financing and 200,000 subscribers, Amp'd had more than $100 million in debt, owing some $33 million to Verizon Wireless for network operations and at least $16.4 million to Motorola for handsets. The embattled MVNO alerted subscribers that it was shutting down its service via text message in mid-July.

Now that Amp'd and Disney shuttered their doors, few are bullish on the MVNO model in the U.S. Well, that is, with the exception of SK Telecom, which keeps investing hundreds of millions of dollars into Helio. [FierceWireless]

Boomers and Matures Mix Media Usage

  • Posted: Saturday, December 22, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Market Survey

Get ready with those multi-channel campaigns.

The Web surfing habits of boomers and over-60s are more firmly rooted in traditional media than those of their younger counterparts, according to a Deloitte & Touche study conducted by the Harris Group.

The study found that 67% of boomers visited sites after seeing ads on TV or in print. Matures, those between 61 and 75, were just as likely to be driven to the Web by print ads and less likely by TV ads.

Yet these two age groups were less likely than Generation X (25 to 41) or millennials (13 to 24) to visit the Web as a result of an Internet search engine or ad on another site.

A Lumin Collaborative study reinforced the connection between boomers and traditional media. The company found that boomers, defined as those currently ages 42 to 62, spent an average of 2.69 hours a day online, versus 2.83 hours watching TV and 1.93 hours listening to the radio.

The trends were flipped among the echo boomers (ages 18 to 31) and Gen X (32 to 41), who spent more time online than watching TV or listening to the radio and whose time spent online also exceeded that of their boomer counterparts.

Read more - eMarketer

The Promise of Social Network Advertising

How much can social networks net?

Social networking is an Internet success story. This year, 37% of the US adult Internet population used online social networking at least once a month. That figure will rise to 49% in 2011.

”The continued growth of social networking seems assured,” says Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer Senior Analyst and author of the new report, Social Network Marketing: Ad Spending and Usage, “unless teens stop social networking as they become adults.”

Don’t bet on that. Currently, 70% of all US teens visit social network sites on a monthly basis.

“By 2011, one-half of all online adults and 84% of online teens in the US will use social networking each month,” says Ms. Williamson. “There is little to suggest that this activity will go away.”

When it comes to translating eyeballs into advertising revenues, eMarketer projects that worldwide online social network ad spending will grow from $1.2 billion in 2007 to $2.2 billion in 2008, 82%.

Worldwide spending will top $4 billion in 2011. In the US, spending is projected to rise to $1.6 billion in 2008, from $920 million in 2007.

Read more - eMarketer.

Operators Want Femtocells

The hype surrounding femtocells reached a fever pitch in 2007. These router-sized mobile home base stations promise to solve the many shortcomings faced by existing WiFi/cellular fixed-mobile convergence services and enable operators to offer consumers high-speed data, VoIP and voice services in the home with reduced infrastructure costs. Operators had begun talking about their trial plans, while Sprint launched commercial services in two markets.

The Femto Forum, an industry group advocating femtocell technology, was born this summer with a handful of smaller vendors, but closed out the year with some 40 members that include Alcatel-Lucent, NEC, Nokia Siemens Networks, Motorola, and ZTE. Operators have also joined the ranks: Bharti Airtel in India, Bouygues Telecom, Carphone Warehouse Networks, Orsacom Telecom and Telefonica 02.

Still, there's much work to be done before femtocells can become a widespread reality[FierceBroadbandWireless]

AT&T to Debut Mobile TV 'As Early As Possible' in 2008

AT&T said it plans to launch its long-planned live mobile TV service "as early as possible" in 2008, citing efforts to improve the user experience as the culprit behind the delay. AT&T told Multichannel News the MediaFLO-based service will launch with eight live, linear channels: CBS Mobile, Fox Mobile, NBC2Go, NBC News2Go, ESPN Mobile TV, MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.

Neither pricing information nor an official brand for the service has yet been announced. Also unknown is the role of spectrum licenses totaling $2.5 billion acquired by AT&T in October from Aloha Partners, parent firm of DVB-H-based mobile broadcast TV service Hiwire.

AT&T and MediaFLO were expected to debut their mobile TV offering in the fourth quarter of 2007. "The testing of the software and hardware is going very, very well, but we decided to take just a little extra time to make sure the user experience is absolutely optimal," said AT&T executive director of media relations Mark Siegel.

Siegel confirmed that AT&T’s mobile TV service will carry the lineup of eight live, linear channels offered by MediaFLO, which are CBS Mobile, Fox Mobile, NBC2Go, NBC News2Go, ESPN Mobile TV, MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.

AT&T will announce pricing information – and the name for the mobile TV service – when it launches next year, Siegel said. Verizon Wireless’ V CAST Mobile TV is available in different tiers for $13 to $25 per month in addition to regular phone-service charges.

Meanwhile, AT&T recently procured wireless spectrum holdings that it may use for mobile video services. In a $2.5 billion cash deal with Aloha Partners, AT&T picked up two 6-Megahertz channels in the 700-MHz band, covering 281 U.S. markets. [FierceMobileContent]

Yahoo, America Movil Ink Mobile Search Deal

Wireless operator America Movil announced a strategic global partnership with Yahoo that will bring the Internet giant's suite of mobile services available to 143 million subscribers across 16 nations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Per terms of the deal, Yahoo's oneSearch will be installed as America Movil's default mobile search service--in the months ahead, Yahoo will customize and deploy localized versions of oneSearch for each region. The two companies will also collaborate to bring additional Yahoo products and services to America Movil handsets.

Under the global framework agreement, oneSearch, Yahoo!'s industry leading mobile search product, will be the default mobile search service on America Movil's wireless carriers' portals, making it easier for consumers to find relevant answers to search queries on their mobile devices. In the coming months, Yahoo! will customize and deploy localized versions of oneSearch for each region, integrating America Movil's wireless carriers' content and tailoring the experience to best meet the needs of each country's consumer audience.

Yahoo! oneSearch delivers a search experience specifically designed for the mobile phone by delivering relevant results and instant answers in a user-friendly interface, thereby removing the need for consumers to navigate through a sea of PC Web links. oneSearch provides consumers access to news, financial information, weather conditions, flickr photos, Web images, and Web and Mobile Web sites.

Together, America Movil and Yahoo! are enhancing the experience for consumers on mobile devices. Over the coming months, the two companies will look to bring additional Yahoo! products and services to mobile devices. [FierceWireless]

Top 10 Hot Business Technology Trends for 2008

With the holiday season in full swing and the new year only weeks away, chief information officers are making their lists and checking them twice to determine which key information technology initiatives will take flight in 2008. Verizon Business has identified ten business technology trends that are driving those New Year's "resolutions."

"They're responding to the business challenges of their enterprises — solving technical problems, boosting the efficiency of their organizations, wringing costs out of the business — delivering business benefits that are not merely financial or technical, but environmental as well.

Here's Verizon Business' list of ten hot trends for 2008:

Continued Globalization
Successful companies will continue to expand their borders in 2008 with workers, offices and facilities located around the world. While globalization can help multinational companies control costs, new challenges will emerge such as deploying a reliable communications infrastructure, whether an office is located in Seoul, Rio de Janeiro or Rome.

Securing the Extended Enterprise
The coming year will see an even greater proliferation of data as companies look to open their boundaries to connect partners, suppliers and customers. More than ever, companies will need to keep track of where their data resides and then develop a strategy to safeguard it.

Global Greening
Increasingly, converging communications and computing (IT) technologies will be the great enablers to help business and government address global warming by reducing their energy footprints. Use of audio, video and Web conferencing services will more often supersede business travel and reduce carbon emissions while helping increase productivity of employees who are actually working rather than waiting in long airport security lines.

Virtualization and On-demand Computing
As companies seek to maximize the efficient use of their infrastructure, achieve their green objectives and strengthen security, no technology holds more promise. Multiple dedicated servers — which may be underutilized and consume space, power and cooling in the data center — can now be replaced with virtual servers sharing network-based resources such as common storage. Businesses will continue to adopt this model because it helps them achieve data center consolidation and further reduce expenses.

Coming soon to a boardroom near you, the next generation of virtual meetings, enabled by immersive video technology, will bring people across the globe together face-to-face without ever having to hit the road. While today's state-of-the-art immersive video equipment is expensive, widely available and ever-more-affordable IP bandwidth will help lower the total cost of these high-end video conferencing solutions.

While outsourcing is not new, strong adoption is and will continue to be in 2008. What will become even more compelling is out-tasking — the process by which a company decides which functions to keep in house and which to hand off to a third party. Flexibility, scalability and the ability to achieve higher performance, increased reliability and stronger security will make out-tasking the preferred model.

Smartphones and Managed Mobility
Professionals will call on their smartphones to work harder in 2008, relying more and more on mobile e-mail, integrated calendars and contacts lists while away from the office. As a result, businesses will spend more on mobile devices and will need to manage and secure numerous devices as part of an overall global enterprise mobility solution. Managed Mobility will become the next frontier, helping businesses track, monitor, secure and manage the mobile devices accessing their corporate networks.

Unified Communications
The complexity of managing multiple communications devices will ease dramatically as more companies adopt unified communications to enhance workforce collaboration both in and away from the office. With the increasing prevalence of voice over IP in the workplace has come the ability to streamline communications while enhancing capabilities.

Soft phones — IP-based phones that can plug into any IP network — can control costs, particularly in this era of globalization where workers may need to connect from home with their colleagues in other regions of the world.

Work-Life Balance
The steady growth of communications technology in our lives has created a "love-hate" relationship with the smart phones and wireless laptops that increasingly blur the lines between the workplace and our personal lives. In 2008, professionals will continue to grapple with achieving a work-life balance. Telecommuting is one useful option.

The CIO as Business Strategist
CIOs will take on an even more pivotal role in determining how to invest capital most effectively to help their companies reduce costs, increase productivity and achieve a wide range of corporate objectives. CIOs also will be responsible for making supply-chain management decisions and environmental improvements.

Today's successful organization is reaching new heights through the tight integration of business and technology. By presenting a strategic point of view from the technology side, CIOs have become today's top business strategists, and with this comes a change in the boardroom. [WirelessIQ]

Mobile TV to Miss 2008 Milestones

While many international operators have targeted 2008 as a turning point for mobile TV, citing consumer demand tied to the Beijing Summer Olympics and soccer's UEFA Euro 2008 Championship, media analysis firm Screen Digest predicts those opportunities are likely to be squandered.

China, France and Germany are all planning significant mobile TV rollouts next year, but according to Screen Digest senior mobile media analyst David MacQueen, "coverage will be far from nationwide when key sporting events kick off … [and] a key opportunity to measure European consumer desire for mobile TV services is likely to be lost."

MacQueen adds that fledgling 3G TV services from Orange and Vodafone will enjoy a viewership boost, while broadcast services in the U.S. and Italy should see a significant subscriber surge as well.

On the other hand, Chinese regulators has announced the creation of a 400 million Yuan ($54 million) government fund to galvanize mobile TV technology development over the next three years.

According to China's Ministry of Science and Technology, the funds are earmarked to create domestic mobile TV standards in an effort to sidestep paying platform royalties to foreign firms. The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television will oversee the fund. [FierceWireless]

Viacom, Microsoft Ink Digital Content and Advertising Partnership

Media giant Viacom Inc. announced a strategic content and advertising alliance with Microsoft Corporation spanning across the two companies and multiple digital platforms. Per terms of the agreement, Microsoft will license long and short-form television and theatrical content from Viacom divisions including MTV, Comedy Central, BET and Paramount Pictures for use on properties like MSN, MSN Mobile and Xbox 360.

Microsoft's Atlas division will serve advertisements for Viacom's U.S. websites, with Microsoft retaining exclusive rights to sell remnant display advertising inventory -- in addition, Microsoft will purchase advertising on Viacom broadcast and online networks, and the firms will collaborate on promotions and sponsorships for MTV Networks and BET Networks award shows. Viacom will also become a preferred publishing partner across Microsoft's casual gaming platforms.

While financial specifics were not released, the deal boasts a projected base value of approximately $500 million in financial considerations and business services over its initial five-year duration, and features a combination of revenue sharing provisions, guarantees and content licensing agreements.

"We are very impressed with how closely Microsoft's business plans complement our strategic objectives. This is a novel and comprehensive partnership that demonstrates the scale of our digital operation and the value of our branded content across all distribution platforms," said Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman in a prepared statement.

By taking advantage of industry leading assets at both our companies, this landmark alliance brings valuable promotional power and increased monetization to our wide portfolio of branded websites, which collectively represent the leading entertainment presence online. Microsoft's superior assets and expertise in the ad serving and sales business will drive enhanced value to our digital operations."

Dauman added, "We look forward to collaborating closely with Microsoft. This partnership will generate significant value on both sides. This deal is an important example of how the growing success of our digital properties is driving greater revenue for Viacom as a whole." [FierceMobileContent]

Mobile Backhaul Upgrades Deemed Essential

In order for mobile operators to deliver the expected bandwidth of 3G and newer technologies, backhaul is critical,” says ABI Research senior analyst Nadine Manjaro. “Backhaul is a major contributor to network performance and cost, and operators should design their networks to meet peak traffic demand – not just average usage levels.”

Service provider testing shows that end-user data rates and the number of active subscribers served per sector vary greatly, based on the backhaul technology employed. For example, as T1 reaches near capacity, the network performance degrades by over 40%. But some operators believe that traffic usage is bursty, so a single T1 is sufficient to support a 3G cell site backhaul.

In a recent study, ABI Research forecasts global CAPEX for backhaul to increase from $14 billion in 2007 to $23 billion in 2012. OPEX also is expected to rise from $1 billion to $6 billion during the same period.

"As a result, operators should be focused on solutions that will meet their performance requirements with the minimum CAPEX and OPEX,” Manjaro explains. In 2007, T1/E1 and microwave backhaul became the two largest contributors to CAPEX and OPEX. ABI Research recommends that operators focus more on Ethernet-based solutions, including Ethernet over fiber and Ethernet over copper solutions, to optimize costs.

“In 2012, there will be a more distributed mix of backhaul technologies across the various options,” continues Manjaro. “However, microwave is expected to be the primary backhaul solution in all the regions studied, except Latin America and North America. “Ethernet over fiber will be a very popular choice for upgrades between now and 2012, primarily due to its lower cost per megabit and high data rate, compared with other backhaul options.”

As operators upgrade their networks to meet growing bandwidth demand, they are upgrading to Ethernet-based solutions in both wired and wireless backhaul. The location of cell sites in existing service-provider infrastructure, bandwidth requirements, alternate carriers, interface requirements, and other factors all play a role. [WirelessIQ]

Mobile Markets Moving in China and India

Mobile phone users in China sent 429 billion text messages in 2006— nearly one thousand per user— according to Ofcom's "International Communications Report."

The agency also said that mobile phones accounted for 53% of total telecommunications industry revenue in 2006.

Worldwide revenue for the sector, including television, radio and telecommunications, totaled 873 billion pounds ($1,787 billion).

India added 150 million new mobile phone subscribers in 2006, which Ofcom noted was more than the UK total of 70 million mobile connections.

Mobile phone penetration in India is still relatively low, however, at only 14% of the population. [eMarketer]

Partnerships Vital in Developing Enterprise Voice Over Wi-Fi Markets

While Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) has made some inroads in consumer markets, several inhibiting factors are temporarily restraining its adoption by business, according to a new study from ABI Research.

“The future is pretty bright for VoWi-Fi, but it will be a little while before it becomes a horizontal application that’s attractive to mainstream enterprises,” says ABI Research vice president and research director Stan Schatt.

“We’re seeing historic early Wi-Fi adopters with special needs that are addressed by VoWi-Fi once again becoming early adopters of this technology, in key verticals such as healthcare, retail, manufacturing and hospitality. Large enterprise clients, however, have tended to be more conservative.”

There are several hurdles to overcome.

One is the complexity of this embryonic technology, which in almost all cases requires extensive partnering between manufacturers and vendors of individual system elements, both at the handset and network levels. “Enterprise VoWi-Fi is a complicated market because there are so many disparate pieces of technology that have to work together,” says Schatt.

“That requires a lot of partnering, and some vendors are better at partnering than others. Cisco Systems, Trapeze Networks, Xirrus Networks, DiVitas Networks and the SpectraLink division of Polycom have all found partnering models appropriate to their niches and needs.”

Other problems include the lack of industry-wide standards. The Wi-Fi Alliance is scheduled to start enterprise VoWi-Fi equipment interoperability testing only in Spring 2008. “With key standards still not in place,” notes Schatt, “vendors have jumped in with proprietary solutions. So for now you’re still forced to go with a one-vendor solution. The start of certification testing on enterprise-grade Wi-Fi handsets will go a long way towards opening this market up.” [ABI Research]

Mobile Femtocell Market to Increase Tenfold Next Year

Worldwide sales of GSM/GPRS and 3G femtocell access points will grow tenfold from 2007 to 2008, with sales reaching more than £315m in 2010, says analyst Infonetics Research.

Femtocells are small, low-power, indoor cellular base stations that can achieve higher-quality local-area coverage, and allow mobile operators to extend their cellular footprint in the home and office environment.

Infonetics said the greatest opportunity for operators will be presented by 3G femtocells that are deployed in households, where they can be used to provide consistent high-speed coverage, as well as improved home-zone-type tariffs and services for customers.

3G femtocells offer operators a practical and potentially much less expensive alternative to enhancing coverage by further investing in denser 3G macro cell networks, said Infonetics.

In addition, as femtocells are backhauled over an internet connection, such as a consumer's DSL line, the mobile operator could make operational expenditure savings on macrocellular backhaul architectures.

Richard Webb, an Infonetics analyst, said, "Femtocells could allow mobile operators to make a significant shift away from just relying on traditional cellular network architecture.

"The prospect of capex and opex savings, combined with new personal broadband service opportunities, is generating intense interest from operators in femtocells and more vendors are developing products."

He said, "If the hype translates into deployment, femtocells could radically transform the economics of mobile data and content-based services." [ComputerWeekly

Forecast: Mobile TV to Miss 2008 Milestones

While many international operators have targeted 2008 as a turning point for mobile TV, citing consumer demand tied to the Beijing Summer Olympics and soccer's UEFA Euro 2008 Championship, media analysis firm Screen Digest predicts those opportunities are likely to be squandered.

China, France and Germany are all planning significant mobile TV rollouts next year, but according to Screen Digest senior mobile media analyst David MacQueen, "coverage will be far from nationwide when key sporting events kick off namely the Olympics and UEFA Euro 2008 Championship. A key opportunity to measure European consumer desire for mobile TV services is likely to be lost,”

MacQueen adds that fledgling 3G TV services from Orange and Vodafone will enjoy a viewership boost, while broadcast services in the U.S. and Italy should see a significant subscriber surge as well.

However, where broadcast services have already launched, such as Italy and the US, these events could provide a significant surge in subscribers. Sports programming from the likes of Sky (in Italy) and ESPN (in the US) has already proved popular and could drive uptake of mobile TV in those countries." [FierceMobileContent]

Newspaper Site Readers Spread the Word

The well-informed make great evangelists.

Readers of newspaper Web sites are 52% more likely to share their opinions than those who do not visit newspaper sites, according to study conducted by Millward Brown and sponsored by the Newspaper National Network and Newspaper Association of America in September and October.

"There are billions of conversations every day, and newspapers and their Web sites are a powerful catalyst to word of mouth interactions," said Ed Keller, CEO of the Keller Fay Group and co-author of The Influentials.

Newspaper Web site visitors who were surveyed were also more apt to believe their newspaper Web sites had credible advertising, compared with users of non-newspaper Web sites.

Credibility is also a concern among those who get their news mainly from the Internet. Internet users who got their news mainly from the Web had unfavorable views of national newspapers in particular, according to a study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Read more - eMarketer

Higher E-Mail Ad Spending Hits Hurdles

Subscribers wary of marketing creep.

US spending on e-mail advertising will grow to $2 billion by 2012 from $1.2 billion in 2007, according to JupiterResearch data presented at MediaPost's E-mail Insider Summit.
JupiterResearch estimated that about one-quarter of e-mail delivered to users' main inboxes is now opt-in.

"There's less junk, but there's still as much email -- we're competing with other legitimate marketers," said David Daniels, vice president of JupiterResearch, speaking to the e-mail marketers in the audience.

JupiterResearch asked why recipients stopped subscribing to opt-in e-mails. More than one-half said the content was no longer relevant, and 40% said they were getting too many offers.

It is also getting harder for marketers to figure out which e-mail address to use. Nearly two-thirds of US Internet users have three or more active e-mail addresses, according to a November 2006 Bluestreak-commissioned study conducted by ROI Research.

Read more - eMarketer

Yahoo Announces New Mobile Search Deals Across Asia

On July 2007, Yahoo! announced that it has signed partnerships with six mobile operators across Asia. These six operators, who together have a subscription base of nearly 100 million, will distribute yahoo!’s mobile search service, Yahoo! oneSearch.

The six mobile operators are Globe Telecom (Philippines), Idea Cellular Limited (India), LG Telecom (Korea), Maxis Communications Berhad (Malaysia), PT Telekomunikasi Selular “Telkomsel” (Indonesia) and Taiwan Mobile (Taiwan).

“These partnerships with leading operators in Asia help extend Yahoo!’s clear leadership in the mobile space,” said David Ko, vice president and general manager, Connected Life Asia, Yahoo!

Yahoo! oneSearch is now available in 14 countries around the world (Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Italy, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam) and will soon be available in Korea and Taiwan.

Five months later, on December 2007, Yahoo again announced several agreements to provide mobile Internet search services to nine Asian mobile operators, bringing Yahoo’s oneSearch distribution partnership total to 20 mobile operators worldwide.

Marco Boerries, executive vice president of connected life at Yahoo, laid out the search company’s mobile agenda: “We will continue to develop new and enhanced services for our consumers to drive increased mobile adoption while working with our partners to accelerate monetization and grow new revenue streams.”

On top of this, Yahoo has released Yahoo Go 2.0 in Chinese for the Taiwanese market. Yahoo’s application allows users to personalise their mobile internet using content from the whole internet. It also enables consumers to use a selection of Yahoo widgets, e-mail, local information, news, sports, finance, entertainment and weather. [MobiAdNews]

More Indians Online, Over 1 Billion To Go

The number of Internet users in India grew to 46 million in September 2007, up from 32.2 million in September 2006, according to the "Internet in India [I Cube] Report 2007," published by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International.

In a country of more than 1.1 billion, that means there is still a long way to go. Subho Ray, president of the IAMAI.

Increased computer literacy is driving user growth, the groups said. The number of people who knew how to use a computer unaided was 65 million as of September 2007, versus 15.8 million in 2000. [eMarketer]

Zad Mobile Launches Mobile Advertising Platform with Smart Communications in the Philippines

Zad Mobile, in partnership with Smart Communications Inc. (SMART), the Philippines’ leading wireless services provider, have launched a range of mobile advertising services, which will be delivered through Zad Mobile’s Mobile Advertising Platform (ZMAP) that offers campaign planning, execution, and analyses across multiple mobile channels.

“Operators worldwide are taking a close look at mobile advertising and Smart intends to lead in this area,” said Napoleon Nazareno, Smart’s President and CEO. “We are using a model where we blend advertising into a range of value-added services. Given SMART’s leading position, we will provide the advertising community with a targeted advertising channel of unprecedented reach. At the same time, we will put in place policies that protect the interests of our subscribers.”

Smart Communications chose Zad Mobile based on its ability to deliver relevant ads across a broad range of channels and mobile services. The Zad Mobile platform targets ads using proprietary algorithms and a sophisticated user model which captures subscriber interests, attitudes and propensities across multiple inputs. This is then matched up to appropriate ads ensuring relevance for the user, optimal use of inventory for the operator, and high response rates for the brand.

By joining the Zad Mobile Ad Network, advertisers and agencies can access this platform through easy-to-use web interfaces that offer sophisticated campaign planning and execution capabilities, reflecting the way they do business today. Smart will present ad inventory on this platform and enable advertisers to reach targeted consumers.

“Mobile advertising is the first true example of mass customization in advertising,” said Ori Sasson, CEO, Zad Mobile. “There’s a wealth of information about the mobile user. Gathering it and making sense out of it requires clever technology. Using it to drive relevant mobile ads, while addressing subscriber concerns, is the sensible approach. Zad Mobile is innovating to lead in both these areas.” [MobiAdNews]

Zumobi "Zenzui" Rolls Out Beta Version of Zooming User Interface

Mobile UI developer Zumobi - the re-brand name of ZenZui - announced the beta version of its Zooming User Interface and mobile widget platform is now available for Windows Mobile-based handsets. The Zumobi UI enables consumers to personalize the mobile experience via custom-designed interactive widgets relevant to their particular interests and lifestyles -- content is now available from more than 75 mobile widgets, among them tiles spotlighting partners including Amazon.com, MTV Networks, The Associated Press, AccuWeather.com, Traffic.com and FlightStats.com.

On the other hand, mobile user experience solutions developer ZenZui announced it will continue operations as Zumobi, explaining the new brand better reflects its Zooming User Interface and mobile platform business. The firm also said the Zumobi mobile web interface will launch in beta across Windows 5 and 6-based devices on December 14--the UI enables consumers to personalize the mobile experience via custom-designed interactive tile widgets relevant to their particular interests and lifestyles.

"The Zumobi team has been working for over a year to make this product a reality, and we're very excited to launch the first version of our public Beta today," said Zumobi CEO Eric Hertz. "Our partners who have created Zumobi Tiles for the initial Beta have delivered an excellent portfolio of news, entertainment, travel content and more."

Zumobi revolutionizes the way people access, retrieve and share Web-based content on their mobile phones. Through an intuitive, lush user interface, Zumobi allows people to easily "bounce" in and out of snack-sized bits of the entertainment they want and to stay on top of the information they need throughout the day, while offering advertisers a better way to connect with consumers through their mobile phones.

"We're constantly creating new touch points on-air, online and on handsets that deepen our audiences' engagement with their favorite programming," said Jeremiah Zinn, Senior Vice President of Digital Distribution for MTV Networks. "Zumobi's new platform brings Web 2.0 functionality to wireless devices, and that allows us to create even more experiences for our audiences to stay connected to their favorite music, music news and gaming content."

"The exciting combination of Zumobi's intuitive interface combined with Traffic.com's nationwide real-time traffic content gives on-the-go consumers the relevant, valuable, engaging user experience they demand," said Barry J. Glick, Vice President, Consumer Markets for NAVTEQ, parent company of Beta partner Traffic.com. "When users download Zumobi to their phones, they'll instantly benefit from the graphical, dynamic interaction with our mobile traffic solutions by making informed decisions about the best time to leave and the fastest way to get there." [FierceMobileContent]

Mobifusion and ContentNow Team on Mobile Retail

Mobile media developer and publisher Mobifusion announced an agreement with online content subscriptions reseller ContentNow enabling online wireless cell phone and plan retailer LetsTalk to offer its subscribers Mobifusion content. ContentNow manages subscription processing, fulfillment and account setup for LetsTalk, an independent resource for wireless products and services for both consumers and enterprises.

According to Mobifusion, the deal broadens its mobile content distribution into online subscription models. "We're joining forces with ContentNow to provide more than 30 rich mobile content products via an innovative mobile content subscription model through LetsTalk," said Mobifusion co-founder and chief content officer Chris McKenney in a prepared statement. "Given LetsTalk's reach in the marketplace, we believe this exciting venture will open new gateways to mobile entertainment and information."

As the market leader in the development of content-rich mobile products, Mobifusion’s partnership with ContentNow and LetsTalk broadens distribution into subscription models online for mobile. LetsTalk online subscriptions showcase a variety of products including Rick Steves’ European travel series, information sources from Oxford, Britannica and World Almanac, inspirational and spiritual works from Dr. Wayne Dyer from Hay House and the Power of Now from New World Library, as well as fun and useful products such as mobile fitness coach BeFit, sCool Diary, the ultimate organizer for school, Shop&Go shopping assistant, and Monetizer, a personal finance assistant.

“ContentNow is changing the face of online information by showcasing the unique benefits of online content subscriptions while providing a seamless shopping experience for consumers,” said Michael Goldstein, founder and President of Content Now. “This new partnership will enhance our online subscription services with a large selection of high quality mobile content.”

ContentNow is quickly becoming the leading reseller of online and mobile content subscriptions. ContentNow’s unique business model brings together a wide variety of subscription offers and markets them through top-tiered sales channels, such as LetsTalk. Subscriptions are offered to consumers via ContentNow’s partners' websites, with ContentNow managing the subscription processing, fulfilment and account setup. [FierceWireless]

Japan and South Korea Leading in Mobile Advertising

Globally, mobile marketing has been regarded as a new way to monetize services and develop new sources of revenue for mobile operators. Japanese and South Korean operators are building on existing technologies and consumer preferences to pioneer this new medium. By 2012, the total value of all mobile advertising and marketing will reach $1.2 billion and $684 million in the two countries respectively. With closely-targeted marketing using demographic data from existing mobile subscribers, mobile ads over phones are effective in reaching consumers who are open to receiving commercial messages.

Senior analyst Andy Bae of ABI Research says, “Japan and South Korea have almost the same market structures, value chains, and service applications. This is because mobile operators in both countries established their own mobile ad agencies to support operators’ business models for mobile ads. The relationships between operators and the affiliated mobile ads firms are close, in order to produce desirable business results.”

One of key reasons for mobile advertising’s market growth is the well-established range of 3G and HSDPA-based handsets available in both regions. Consumers in Japan and South Korea are well accustomed to accepting rich content advertising messages.

Compared with other regions, these markets are entering a new, advanced phase. SMS-based mobile ads are still mainstream, but consumers here are quite ready to accept rich format advertising that utilizes multimedia capabilities. More important, consumers sometimes regard SMS advertising as spam, so that some consumer-related companies are changing their advertising vehicle to MMS (multimedia messaging service), instead of text-based SMS.

Bae concludes, “Mobile search and gaming will be promising sectors for the next growth phase in these regions. Mobile operators believe that search results with location-based advertising messages could generate large revenue streams with gradually increasing usage by subscribers. Google and Yahoo are already implementing their business activities in the regions by cooperating with mobile operators in Asia.” [ABI Research]

Internet Use at Work Keeps Climbing

  • Posted: Friday, December 14, 2007
  • |
  • Author: pradhana

Clock in. Login. Logout. Clock out.
All that Internet time at work is adding up.

The average US Internet user now clocks about a full workday online every week, according to the USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future. At 7.8 hours per week, that amounts to about 31 hours in a four-week month.

The school said that Web use at work has increased by about 70% since 2001, and attributed a dip in 2002-2003 to a change in the work environment from the dot-com meltdown.

USC's findings line line up well with data from comScore. In May 2007, comScore Media Metrix found that time spent online at work averaged about 28 hours for the month, and that total time spent at all locations averaged about 29 hours per month.

Read more on eMarketer

Sprint First to Sign on With Free MySpace Mobile

A day after reports surfaced that MySpace will introduce a free, ad-funded mobile version of its social networking service optimized for all U.S. carriers, the firm announced its first operator partnership with Sprint, which will directly link to the free MySpace Mobile website upon its official launch in early 2008.

In addition, the Sprint portal will include direct links to other mobile websites owned by MySpace parent Fox Interactive Media (FIM), among them Photobucket, IGN, FOXSports.com on MSN, RottenTomatoes and AskMen along with a host of MyFOX local affiliates.

"Our partnership empowers Sprint data subscribers with easy access to their MySpace community at no additional charge," said MySpace VP of business development Amit Kapur in a prepared statement. "We're also in the process of redesigning the mobile site to provide an updated look and feel and enhanced functionality."

This means that Sprint customers with enabled phones will not have to type a URL address to access MySpace Mobile on their phones, but instead will be able to click to access it from the Sprint portal. The new version of MySpace Mobile will feature rich graphical design, a revamped email interface and other new features. The site is currently in beta at http://mobile.myspace.com/ and has seen over one million unique visitors since its release in September.

“Launching mobile versions of MySpace and our other FIM sites in September was a huge step forward for our mobile efforts, and we’re excited to join with our long-time partners at Sprint to take mobile Web access to the next level,” said Peter Levinsohn, President of Fox Interactive Media. “With prominent placement on the Sprint mobile Web home page, customers will have immediate and easy-to-find access to our network of sites on Sprint phones.”

"Sprint has been a leader in providing customers with open access to the mobile Web on their phones, and MySpace and other Fox sites are the latest example of that,” said John Burris, vice president of wireless data content. “By providing a direct link to these sites, we’re making it even easier for customers to use their phones to access their MySpace accounts and other online services that are important to them, whenever and wherever they want.” [FierceMobileContent]

Bytemobile Offers Carriers New Mobile Advertising Inventory Channel

Bytemobile, Inc., today announced the general availability of its Unison Advertising Module (UAM), which enables operators to serve targeted ads in off-portal web pages on virtually all mobile devices. As a result, carriers can quickly create new ad revenue streams to complement data revenues and subsidize the cost of data delivery.

UAM is part of the latest release of Bytemobile's Unison Multi-Service Platform. It is fully integrated with Unison Web Fidelity Service (WFS), which provides intelligent content adaptation for open internet browsing on mass-market handsets, feature phones and smartphones. Inserting ads via the Web Fidelity Module, operators can monetize subscribers' off-portal experience, in addition to on-portal traffic, and potentially generate a multiple of their data revenues through a new ad inventory channel.

"In an increasingly competitive environment, where mobile convergence is changing the landscape, we are helping our customers to drive data plan adoption, deliver new and richer data services, and now sell advertising on the open Web," said Adrian Hall, vice president of Marketing and Business Development at Bytemobile.

"Mobile ads are proving highly effective for several reasons: the one-to-one personalization of the mobile device, its proximity to the point of sale, the value of subscriber data in ad targeting, and consumer receptivity to advertising in exchange for content. This is clearly the direction of the mobile Internet," he added.

According to ABI Research (April 2007), total spending by mobile advertisers worldwide will grow from approximately $3 billion in 2007 to $19 billion in 2011. A November 2006 research study sponsored by Amobee Media Systems found that mobile consumers chose ad-sponsored over pay-for-download video by 50 to 1 and that mobile ad revenues could total up to four times the equivalent download value.

In another study conducted by Harris Interactive and Enpocket in October 2006, 78% of respondents claimed that they would accept mobile internet advertising if it were targeted and relevant to their interests. [WirelessIQ]

MySpace Introduces Premium Ad-funded Mobile Service

Social networking website MySpace introduced a free, ad-funded mobile version optimized for all U.S. carriers, calling into question the future of premium MySpace services available via AT&T, T-Mobile and Helio.

According to MobiAD Network, the new service enables users to send and receive messages and friend requests, comment on photos, post bulletins, update blogs and search for friends--while advertising will at first remain limited to sponsorships and banner ads, parent Fox Interactive Media said it will eventually introduce more targeted campaigns based on user registration data as well as local ads based on GPS data.

"Accessing the Internet from your mobile phone will soon be as common as text messaging and voice calling," said Fox Interactive's senior vice president of mobile John Smelzer.

At first, advertising will take the form of sponsorships and banner ads. But in the long run, Fox Interactive hope to sell more targeted advertising, using registration data from cell phone carriers. The company also hopes to send local ads based on a user’s location using GPS data sent by the phones.

According to mobile media market research firm Telephia, 32 percent of American mobile social networkers -- defined in the study as users who upload content captured via wireless handset -- cited MySpace as their favorite service, followed by Facebook at 13 percent and Windows Live Spaces at 11 percent.

In Britain, MySpace Mobile is the favorite among 21 percent of the social networking population, followed by Windows Live Spaces at 11 percent. Telephia adds that mobile social networkers are generally much younger than the average mobile subscriber -- 69 percent of all 15- to 17-year-olds surveyed shared photos, videos and other personal content on MySpace sites. [FierceMobileContent]

Helio Debuts Feature-rich YouTube Service

Mobile virtual network operator Helio announced a new YouTube application it is calling "the most comprehensive YouTube experience currently offered on mobile," promising integrated video capture and upload for near real-time sharing, GPS tagging, personalization and community features like rating and commenting.

Available free for Helio Ocean users, the custom YouTube app also enables subscribers to view tens of millions of videos, save and share favorite clips, and access their own video feeds. "This is the closest thing to the YouTube web experience available on mobile today," said Helio VP of media and community services Rob Gelick in a prepared statement. "With the ability to do things like GPS tagging and posting video responses right from a device wherever you happen to be, it brings new possibilities to the YouTube world."

"Accessing YouTube while on the go has been limited to browsing and viewing, without the rating, sharing and personalization features that have made YouTube a runaway hit on the Web," said Sky Dayton, CEO of Helio. "Helio is taking mobile YouTube beyond anything else on the market, letting members view tens of millions of videos but also giving them true community interaction comparable to the Web and even beyond the Web.”

"Helio has taken the mobile YouTube experience to the next level," said Chad Hurley, CEO and co-founder, YouTube. "This innovative application offers people even more customization and provides them with instant access to interact with the YouTube community whenever and wherever they go." [FierceWireless]

YouTube Shares More Wealth, Expands Partner Program

YouTube is now expanding the amount of money it shares with amateur video uploaders. The company first dabbled in the concept in May, following the example of rival upstarts like Revver.

Now, the YouTube Partner Program is widening its number of partners, subject to various qualifications. "Even in this limited release, the program has been an amazing success – already, millions of video views each week are earning revenue for our partners," the company explained.

According to YouTube, chosen videos must comply with a number of specific terms. Although anyone within the United States and Canada can apply at youtube.com/partners, the company noted that it will only accept submissions from users that are already "viewed by thousands of YouTube users," among other qualifications. All content must also be copyright controlled (no exceptions), and suitable for online streaming.

In May, YouTube said it had revenue-sharing deals with more than 1,000 partners, including media companies CBS, the BBC, Sundance Channel, the NBA and Sony BMG, as well as independent content creators like lonelygirl15.

Newer partners will join a class that includes Universal Music Group, PerezHilton, and the NBA, as well as smaller creators like artist Tay Zonday.

First round of several hundred users had been selected by the company for building a sizable audience on YouTube and complying with the site's terms of use. YouTube said it hopes the program will encourage users to "create compelling, engaging and viral content" for the site. It also hopes the expansion of the number of vids will encourage more marketers to consider buying ad time on YouTube. [DigitalMusicNews]

iLoop, Ortiva Team for Mobile Previews

Mobile marketing and advertising firm iLoop Mobile announced a partnership with Ortiva Wireless to launch the Mobile Previews entertainment marketing platform via the Ortiva Mobile Content Delivery Network. Mobile Previews delivers movie, DVD, video game and TV show trailers to handsets.

Ortiva's hosted solution promises to enable content providers to pro-actively manage the mobile video viewing experience by adapting in real time video or audio streams according each user's unique and changing network conditions. "Our customers want to quickly extend rich content to users via WAP sites without worrying about the quality of the end product," said iLoop Mobile EVP of business development Michael Becker in a prepared statement.

"Ortiva's hosted Mobile-CDN meets this requirement and will therefore be an important technology for driving mobile video adoption and bringing broad content choice to the marketplace. With Ortiva, content providers can finally predict a consistent, high quality viewing experience, even in GPRS and EDGE networks."

Ortiva's Mobile-CDN is the only purpose-built solution for managing the mobile video viewing experience. Unlike repurposed Internet content delivery solutions that fail during common wireless network fluctuations, Mobile-CDN constantly monitors each mobile connection and granularly adjusts the audio and video signal to account for rapidly varying conditions.

As a result, Ortiva's customers are better able to control and maximize the value of their investment in mobile video, while delivering the highest possible quality of experience to their subscribers. Furthermore, Ortiva's hosted Mobile-CDN service enables content providers and aggregators to easily manage and scale video delivery, and control insertion of additional targeted viewer content, all without the need to buy equipment.

"We're excited to be partnering with iLoop Mobile, a company that shares our commitment of simultaneously bringing content variety and viewing predictability to the market," noted Brad Hurte, Vice President Marketing and Product Management at Ortiva Wireless. "We look forward to working with the company to help businesses cost-effectively meet mobile content initiatives without sacrificing viewing quality." [FierceMobileContent]

Microsoft Intros MSN Mobile Ad Service

Microsoft is introducing display ads across the U.S. using a new version of its MSN Mobile portal, naming Paramount Pictures, Bank of America and Jaguar as its charter advertisers. The software Goliath previously launched mobile ad initiatives in Japan and several European markets.

Microsoft's move into the U.S. market follows it mid-2007 acquisitions of European mobile advertising firm ScreenTonic and digital advertising firm aQuantive, Inc. -- Phil Holden, a director in Microsoft's Online Services division, told the Wall Street Journal the company is not yet targeting ads based on mobile subscribers' location or web surfing behaviors, but may change its mind in the future.

ScreenTonic boasts partnerships with mobile operators in the U.K., France and Belgium markets; according to Microsoft, its "mobile expertise and industry relationships" will complement the software goliath's Digital Advertising Solutions platform by providing advertisers with a range of ad formats, from display to text, as well as ad management and reporting capabilities.

In addition to both small graphical ads and text ads, MSN Mobile -- which connects consumers to Hotmail, instant messaging, search, news and related content -- will debut services from MovieTickets.com and mobile content provider Thumbplay.

Steve Berkowitz, senior vice president of Microsoft's Online Services Group, said the company is emphasizing an ad experience that is mutually beneficial to publishers, operators and consumers. "The mobile Internet is an extraordinary vehicle for brands to connect with their target audiences, because devices like cell phones enable interaction to take place virtually anywhere or anytime," Berkowitz said in a prepared statement.

"The acquisition of ScreenTonic will be part of our long-term strategy to deliver ad experiences that map to the environment. Together, we will be able to provide relevant ads where consumers are, when they are actively engaged and communicating." [FierceMobile Content]

2012: Mobile Video Messaging Opportunity Will Reach $10 Billion

Mobile video messaging services are at the center of the technology convergence that is helping mobile customers realize greater levels of self-expression and online community participation.

According to principal analyst Dan Shey of ABI Research, “Mobile video messaging is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the convergence of increased mobile device capabilities and consumers’ desire for broader communication options beyond voice. In fact, we expect the opportunity for mobile video services to produce a compound annual growth rate of nearly 60%, amounting to $10 billion in 2012.”

But mobile video messaging is just part of a much bigger portfolio of mobile video services that includes video calling, video sharing, and mobile TV services. The complexity of the mobile video value chain affects mobile equipment and service suppliers not only in industrialized countries but also in developing regions of the world.

Given such complex conditions, ABI Research has created forecasts for uptake of mobile video messaging and telephony services for eight regions of the world: North America, Western Europe, Asia Pacific-Developed, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific-Developing, Middle East, and Africa.

The industrialized parts of the world with the highest concentration of advanced video devices will see the greatest uptake of mobile video services. However, don’t discount the developing regions. Says Shey, “Social networking sites such as Orkut are very popular outside of the US and Europe. Mobile video messaging will facilitate mobile content delivery using a growing base of video recorder devices and established 2.5G networks.” [ABI Research]

TV and Movie Sites Are Prime Ad Turf

They're not just for movies anymore.

TV and movie sites are generating the highest advertising awareness among consumers under the age of 55, according to Myers Emotional Connections' "Report on Audience Attentiveness to Advertising."

Myers said that major portals such as AOL, Yahoo!, MSN and other portals were fifth in ad attentiveness overall.

Ad attentiveness varied somewhat by age. For example, Web sites visited for information were ranked highest among 55 to 64-year-olds, but sixth and seventh respectively among Internet users ages 15 to 17 and 18 to 24.

Film sites were also high on Nielsen//NetRatings' March 2007 rankings of top US Web properties.

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com), a repository of production notes, credits, reviews and trivia, came in at number 14, with nearly 20 million unique visitors that month. Disney Online was close behind, followed by the NBC Universal site.

In fact, IMDb.com is the top movie site among US Internet users, according to comScore Media Metrix. The research company said that IMDb.com had nearly 19 million unique visitors in February 2007, up from 15 million a year earlier. The other top-ranked sites were also celebrity-driven portals such as Yahoo! Movies and Hollywood.com.

Read more

Few Answer Mobile Marketing Call

American Idol votes are just a drop in the bucket.

About one-quarter of mobile users are interested in mobile marketing, according to a November 2007 study by the Mobile Marketing Association.

Sweepstakes and voting campaigns (think American Idol) were the most common types of mobile marketing in which respondents had participated.

The MMA also speculated that marketers will begin taking advantage of mobile phone features such as cameras. For example, camera phone usage is up more than one-third since 2006.

"Camera phone [usage] dovetails perfectly with the coming cross-carrier interoperability of picture messaging via a short code," said Gene Keenan, vice president at Isobar, in a statement released with the MMA data. "We expect to see some very innovative campaigns this coming year using picture phoning," he said.

Read more

Happy Holiday for European Web Shops?

Euros and pounds head online.

Retail e-commerce continues to grow in the largest Western European economies, although smaller countries are likely to take market share from them in the coming years.

160.6 million European Internet users visited online retail sites in the month of October 2007, an increase of 5% over October 2006, according to comScore World Metrix.

"The fact that the online retail market now covers 70% of the European internet population and is still growing is impressive," said Bob Ivins, executive vice president of comScore, in a statement.

"The stronger than average growth rates in the UK and France portend a healthy Christmas shopping season there," Mr. Ivins said.

The variety of projections on the future of European B2C e-commerce sales widens as the forecast horizon lengthens.

eMarketer's 2010 forecast is more bullish than Forrester Research's but less positive than Deutsche Bank's. Divergent outlooks are not unusual given the complexity of forecasting macroeconomic trends and e-commerce growth for groups of markets around the world.

Read more

Mobile Music Growth and Experiments

Spending on mobile music will reach $11 billion and account for 30% of global recorded music revenue by 2011, according to Understanding & Solutions.

Mobile music spending currently represents 13% of global recorded music revenue. "Alongside online, mobile music is essential to the future of the music industry," said David Sidebottom, consultant at Understanding & Solutions.

Understanding & Solutions said that some operators are not pursuing the mobile music opportunity aggressively since they cannot make money directly from selling full track downloads. However, they pointed out that this creates opportunities for off-portal and third party service providers.

Underscoring the point, Nokia announced this week that it would offer free music from the Universal label to phone buyers. Under the arrangement, Universal would get a percentage of phone sale revenue.

Music labels have reportedly sought similar revenue-sharing arrangements with Apple for some time. [eMarketer]