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3GSM and Mobile Advertising

jim_cookSpending a week in Barcelona at the 3GSM conference was a perfect opportunity to take a snapshot of the mobile advertising industry, an industry that, according the various pundits is either in complete confusion or poised to take off at any moment. And although there was a tremendous amount of talk around the subject, it seems that there are still more questions being raised than answers being found.

In fact, the Mobile Advertising industry is going through a phase that is typical of many emerging industries. At the moment there is a high level of activity with lots of companies jumping into the market. But everyone seems to have their own individual approach to how things should work, there hasn’t yet emerged a common view as to how the different pieces of the value chain can fit together, technically, contractually, or financially. Many very clever companies are addressing the various bits of the value chain, but getting all the pieces linked up and working smoothly to offer a compelling proposition to everyone from the advertisers to the end users is still a ways out.

So what can we expect over the next 12 months? Here’s a couple of thoughts:

• You can be sure that we will hear a lot of announcements from companies about partnering with other parts of the value chain “in order to bring a more complete solution to their customers”. It’s a good idea. Already at the 3GSM show you could see the people from these new companies visiting other stands trying to figure out what they did and if they should compete or partner.

• A much better understanding and communication will develop between the mobile people moving into mobile advertising, and the advertising people moving into mobile advertising. As I was told by one executive who had come from an advertising background: “I used to think that mobile industry was simple, but now in Barcelona I see how complex it really is. And in the same way, I meet people here who think of “advertising” as one simple topic, and have no appreciation for the nuances of the industry”

• Some large channel players will enter the fray. Often mobile operators are not willing to buy systems from small companies, especially if they are linked to the core systems such as billing or CRM. Instead, they wait until one of their preferred system suppliers can offer a complete solution, backed by the installation, integration and support capabilities that only a major company can provide. So expect to see some of the large players (eg Ericsson, Nokia/Siemens, HP, Openwave, etc) beginning to license technology from the startups for implementation at the operator.

• Some operators will push forward aggressively with ever larger trials, but as usual some operators will prefer to take a “fast follower” approach. However, you do get the feeling that mobile advertising is definitely on the radar screen of the major operators. They view it as a potential additional revenue source, and they really don’t want to be cut out of the value chain. So lets expect a faster uptake than the last big wave – Mobile TV.

Overall, it should be a fascinating year ahead.

Jim Cook
Editor & Publisher
MobiAD News

26.02.2007    Tags:
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