Tag Archives: TV

Mobile video use with teens

Great to see some new stats from Nielsen about the use of mobile video – especially amongst teenagers.

Their latest numbers are showing major usage and growth in the 13-17 area. These figures are for the US and some unofficial stats I’ve seen for the UK indicate they may be even higher. Interesting and short full details here: http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/americans-watching-more-tv-than-ever/

MIPTV Keynotes: It’s all about mobile and TV will not die

I’m at MIPTV in Cannes and am incredibly impressed – almost shocked – at just how important many of the keynote speakers are saying mobile is.  It’s amazing and great to hear some of the real big shots in the media carrying on about the space I’m working in – and it feels a little like 10 years ago when the industry really started taking the web seriously.  So brace yourselves folks, I think this is yet another sign of alot of excitement to come.

The other good news was that while all the speeches I saw predicted a tough time ahead for TV, they predicted a bright future.  Now, they would say that at a TV industry conference, wouldn’t they?  But, there was some serious data and thought behind the predictions and again, mobile played a big role in their thinking.

Here’s what I took away from some of the keynotes:

Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP Group

TV will not die – network tv will still be effective for reaching large numbers quickly and cheaply.  But, he predicted, it won’t have the same dominance.  Sir Martin predicts the balance of advertising spend will redistribute itself like this:  20-25%, Newsapper 20-25%, Other 20-25% and New media around 25%.  He predicted that an increase in mobile would make up a good part of the increasing spend in new media areas.

PC video and mobile content – especially mobile in B R I C s (his term for the Brazil, Russia, India and China markets) – would be especially important since this is where mobile can give cheap access to those who are not yet connected.  He pointed out the significance of China Mobile having 450m subscribers out of a total 650m mobile subscriptions in China to emphasize this.

The ability for mobiles to become a distribution and consumption platform for TV/video content is what makes them important in combination and why it’s likely they’ll survive the tough times and come out stronger than before.

This sentiment was echod in the next keynote I attended.  (Official/full MIP blog post on the session here.)

Jeffrey Cole, PhD – Director USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future

Jeffrey’s speech backed up Sir Martin’s predictions with some serious academic data that the Center for the Digital Future has been collecting for years.

His basic premise was that ‘all media survives.’  Media never get completely wiped out – they just change and often thier market dominance becomes smaller.  He cited that radio was not wiped out by TV and (in America at least) is still a vibrant business, though not as huge as it once was.  He predicted similar fates for music, film and newspapers (scarily he predicted there will only be 3 or 4 newspapers in America after the next few years).

TV is the exception, he said – “Rather than shrinking, television (video) will grow dramatically in importance.”  People will watch TV on a small screen – including long form and series.  TV is our constant companion and follows behaviour of people turning to their mobiles when they’re bored.  This lines up with the way we’ve seen people using Mobile BBC iPlayer in my work.  The myth that people will only watch tiny clips of short-form videos on phones disappears once you give them a means of easily accessing and consuming full length content.  (Official/full post here.)

Niklas Savander from Nokia also echoed similar sentiments in his keynote; but this was mainly with the aim of promoting the long-talked-about Ovi store.  Which sounded like a completely different Ovi to the one that Nokia were talking about here last year which was all about sharing media created on phones.  Strange.

Video of Niklas:

I’ll be writing about some more highlights from the conference soon.

Mobile predictions for 2009 from Fjord

Christian Lindholm and his team at Fjord (whom the BBC have worked with on a number of occasions) has released a set of predictions for the mobile world in 2009 – and if they’re right, it sure looks like an exciting year ahead. In fact, taking an optimistic view of the trends, you might even say this could be THE year where mobile really comes centre stage. In the spirit of these being ‘Fjord Thoughts’ I wanted to share some of my own thoughts, which I’ve gathered under the headlines from the report. Make sure you read the full report and not just my comments – it’s really good stuff!

App Stores are digital Innovation Bazaars

The app stores are clearly going to be a crucial access point between consumers and content/services for their devices – there’s no doubting that. However, what I thought was really interesting here was the prediction that “The long tail of the App Store will allow the iPhone to attract great content and emerge as a true mobile gaming platform that puts pressure on the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP.”

Sure, you’ve been able to download and play games on a range of devices before and sure, many portable games consoles can connect to the internet, but I think this blurring will be particularly interesting. First, interesting to see which devices become prefered/dominant with which types of users but, moreso, from my perspective because its potentially where content and gaming can come much closer. Anyone fancy an alternate reality game that gives you clues in news stories based on where you are and the proximity of other players?

The Cloud puts digital life at your fingertips

“The PC is displaced as the hub and takes its place as a powerful but non-mobile client.” When I first read this, all I could think was, “Wow!” and then “But REALLY?” Much as I’d love to believe this and it would be great with relation to what I do for a living, it seemed a little implausible – reading on into the report, this is refined a bit to talk about teens and people in developing countries, and I think this is more likely. We see this happening for a small wedge of UK users – a growing minority – but I don’t see a full reversal of hub/client devices this year for mainstream audiences. Watching the behaviour of those audiences who DO make this switch will be interesting though. My youngest brother and a teenager I work with already can’t see the point of having a laptop (nevermind a desktop) when they can have a Blackberry.

I think the other interesting thing about how ‘the cloud’ will affect our experiences that will emerge will be around how entertainment and media cross between equally connected clients. With over-the-air downloads from the iTunes store, does the music ‘live’ on your PC or your iPhone? And will this be the year that delivers on the dream of being able to ‘take’ a programme you were watching on TV away on your phone when you leave the house?

TV finally goes mobile

I can’t write about this report without being grateful for the praise that Fjord has given the BBC in this section naming us as one of the players who will help drive this trend. Nice. We’re already seeing “mobile couch potato” behaviour growing – peak time for the use of BBC iPlayer on mobile is between 8.00pm and midnight – times when people are relaxing at home (possibly in bed) and using their reliable, fast wifi connections. This is different to what’s seen on the desktop version of BBC iPlayer and later than peak time for traditional TV viewing so very interesting to keep an eye on.

I recently saw another presentation (by another company) looking at mobile in 2009 that predicted that Mobile TV was dead. At first these seemed contradictory – but actually, they were in agreement. What the other presentation meant was that TV on operator portals was dead; and that its time for other TV/video services to emerge – perhaps like BBC iPlayer on mobile and the others that Fjord are suggesting. Wouldn’t it be cool if we stopped watching video on our mobile screens this year and that its when “video goggles” (aka virtual retinal display) takes off?

Location becomes the new service bedrock Sure, I buy this. BUT… the editor in me would modify this prediction slightly. I think there’s going to be a proliferation of applications that use location – but I’m not convinced they’ll all be very useful or as easy to develop as some people think. I talk to a lot of people who make the assumption that if something’s near you, it’s automatically relevant – this isn’t always the case, and even if it is, it might not be what you want.

If I’m searching on my geo-aware device for information about an upcoming business trip or holiday, I definitely DON’T want information about what’s currently nearest to me. I’d probably like to know what hotels people who LIVE near me stayed in when they went to my destination – but I suspect working out these types of subtleties and the user experiences that make them excellent will be a little bit of a way off and that we might see a lot of gimmicks in the meantime (excluding maps, of course). And worse, the top 10 headlines near me, might actually do me a dis-service if it turns out that the raging fire a few towns over is the 11th story, meaning I never get to find out that my home is in danger.

Secret Society Wins at Nordisk Panorama!

The pitching competition for the projects developed at Crossover Nordic was last night and I’m really excited to say that Secret Society has won!  I worked alot with this team and am really proud of them – I hope that prize of SEK 100,000 (10,000 Euro) goes a long way towards making the project a reality.

Our Secret Society is an interactive game and web-series telling the story of 4 girls as they explore their sexuality. With an aim at 13-16 year old girls with some or none experience of sex we let them try out pre-sexual situations in a safe and fun environment. Playing the free web-based game, involving the 4 characters from the web-series, is a way for young teenager girls to approach sex without the risk of being harmed physically or judged for doing right or wrong.” – Andreas Öhman (team member who did the pitch)

One of the things I really liked about this project is that it aims, in part, to use mobile as a way for teens to consume and experience media in a private environment, which I think is one of the most interesting aspects of mobile media that has yet to be fully exploited.  The crossover with TV that makes the overall experience both something teens can socialise about AND have a private experience with seems like a great combination.

X|Media Lab Korea: Mobile TV

One of the most exciting things about being here in Seoul is that I’m finally able to see mobile TV (DMB) in action.  Hopefully, Mobile TV of some sort will be launching in the UK during the next few years and so the opportunity to see this new opportunity for content distribution in action is great.  Here’s a few pictures (on a rather dashing pink iridescent phone)…

I was surprised that they all had long extendable antennas!  Not sure how that will go down in the UK where we’re used to very slick mobiles without antennas.

I’ve been trying to talk to people here about the programming they watch on it – looking for insights into what’s worked and what doesn’t.  Interstingly, they keep telling me, ‘It’s just TV.  Nothing special.’  And, they don’t seem particularly aware of any interactivity – other than the programme/channel guide – on the platform.  This is, of course, a consumer perspective – I know there’s more going on behind the scenes editorially.

Functionally, two cool features I saw were texting alerts about live programming reminders to friends in your phone contacts and DVR functionality, which one user really raved about liking.

Consumers I’ve been talking to have also been complaining about problems with reception and been telling me that WiPro is a better way of getting video content to their phones.  I need to check the WiPro stuff out but no one I’ve talked to has been able to show it to me on their phone yet.

I’m now at the Mobile Content Awards 2008 and the categories are:

Mobile Games
Mobile Service
Mobile Entertainment and Community
Outstanding Contribution
Innovative Content

… No category for mobile TV (and no broadcast entries in the above categories).  This backs up the attitude that ‘its just TV.’

I hope that’s not the case.  From what I’ve been seeing at work, I think it can offer us new opportunities to create specific content for audiences that are on the move and who have different user and content needs in those situations.