An individual sport (Volleyball):
More than 100 million people are expected in the U.S. (and perhaps over a billion globally) to tune in.
We get questions about mobile CPMs and ranges. The answer is that "it depends" on the network, the campaign and other variables. However the general range in our survey is $20 to $40, with rates going as high as $120 or more in a couple of outlying cases.
At the IAB mobile show the following was said: There’re a lot of inflated CPMs—anywhere from $25 to $125, which is “completely unsustainable.” In general, Bader sees CPMs ranging from around $7 or $8 to $35. You’re not seeing the $70 CPMs you were seeing a few years ago.”
One big network reportedly just cut rates across the board, which will put downward price pressure on others.
In what it characterizes as a "trial", Google is offering voice search on a toll-free phone line that is accessible in Hyderabad, India (population 10+ million). Callers to 1800-41-99-99-99 reach live operators who provide information on local business and movie showtimes. As with the GOOG411 service in North America, callers are also offered the option to be connected directly to the local business for free and Hyderabad residents will also be possible for users to request this information through SMS.
Like so many voice search services these days, this offering is characterized as a way to gauge user preferences and refine the service before a full-fledged launch.
In a realated story coming out of India, Bangalore-based Ubona Technologies scored Series A funding to help subsidize further development and marketing of a phone-based voice search service for "foodies" in Bangalore. Its patent pending speech recognition software claims that its differentiator is the ability to recognize utterances in various local dialects.
Its Web site exhorts visitors to call the toll-free, automated service at 080-40700000. It says that caller can "just say ‘Mainland China' to get connected to [the restaurant called] Mainland China, or to get their address and phone number." Callers can be connected for free and then "Go on...reserve a table, order a takeaway, or just check out the menu."
Up next for Ubona, according to its Web site is voice search of Automotive, Entertainment, Fashion, Healthcare, Hospitality, Travel & Leisure, Beauty & Wellness, Banking & Financial Services, Insurance and Real Estate.
According to comScore, 132 million people visit a social networking site every month, spending 3.5 hours per month per visitor. That represents about 69% of the total US Internet population. One would thus anticipate that this behavior will translate into mobile. Yet early survey work indicates barriers to adoption.
A recent Vodafone-sponsored study has generated results that are broadly consistent with we found in our study of mobile social networking in North America with Multiplied Media. The Vodafone study was conducted in the UK by ICM Research in May and June of this year as part of a larger, omnibus survey (n=709). The survey was conducted by telephone.
Here are the top-level findings:
Cost was the greatest deterrent to those who didn't access social networks on mobile phones; but this goes beyond social networks alone to all manner of mobile Internet access and activity.
Below are some sample slides from the mobile social networking study we developed (2008, n=1,022). Only 6% of respondents currently accessed social networking sites (mostly Facebook and MySpace) on their mobile devices.
Note: small base
Beyond cost, which is present in our study and the UK study as a barrier to mobile social networking, our study reflected a lack of interest or perceived need: "generally not interested, no need."
But how does one reconcile these findings with the previously reported data from both Vodafone and Opera.
Vodafone (May, 2008):
Top 4 searches on the Vodafone Mobile Internet (VMI) (ranked by most searched first)
Top 10 mobile internet sites on VMI (ranked by most visited first)
Opera (May, 2008):
These Vodafone and Opera data are behavioral data. But there's also reason to trust the UK and LMS surveys. The discrepancy can perhaps be explained by the "early adopter" nature of the Vodafone and Opera browser users. They are potentially a leading indicator of the potential future popularity of social networking on mobile devices.
Cultural factors will likely drive social networking on mobile devices; when the person on your left and on your right are doing it you'll be similarly inclined. Until that time, cost considerations and a lack of need or urgency will likely keep the mass of mobile users from tapping mobile social networking.
It remains unclear whether marketers and NBC will seize the "Olympic moment" to mainstream mobile marketing. I'm skeptical. But clearly fans will be tapping mobile resources (WAP, SMS) to check results and standings. Nielsen Mobile (via Fierce Wireless) has found strong interest in access to Olympics coverage and results on mobile:
What information do users want on the mobile internet?
US mobile users:
UK mobile users:
On the desktop, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Live Search have created shortcuts and special "onebox" features to efficiently showcase the medal counts and standings. Yahoo has also developed a mobile site (as well as SMS alerts) to provide coverage to mobile users:
Note the Visa banner, which when clicked leads to this site:
The near-term growth for mobile marketing and advertising will come in the form of "mobile response" or other mobile tie-ins with traditional media (e.g., TV, newspapers, magazines). The benefits of this are more self-evident to advertisers and there are fewer questions about reach, analytics, etc.
It will be interesting to see how much mobile is referenced or otherwise promoted by NBC and/or its sponsors during the games. I'm guessing not much. If not, however, it will be a missed opportunity given the huge audiences that are expected to tune in.
The NBC Olympics Mobile website will enable Olympic fans to get real-time access to NBCOlympics.com content wherever they are. The NBC Olympics Mobile website currently offers top Olympic headlines, news for every Olympic sport, exclusive videos, slideshow galleries, profiles of Team USA, and other feature content. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the NBC Olympics Mobile website will also offer live results and schedules, medal counts, and detailed TV and online listings for NBC Olympics programming. Mobile users will also be able to watch video highlights, vote in daily polls, and sign up for alerts.
Here's the "alerts" screen:
Forrester's latest demographic research contrasts technology usage and adoption among "Gen X" and members of "Gen Y." Those in Gen Y are currently 18-28 years old, while Gen X are 29-42. (A "generation" used to be 20 years.)
The big "takeaway" is that Gen Y is the first "native online population." That means technology and the Internet are more central to their lives that previous generations, even Gen X.
Here are some of the characteristics of the group according to the Forrester research:
In another "generation" we'll see some of these numbers grow higher, even mobile phone penetration and especially mobile Internet access. Data plan penetration will likely drive more mobile Internet and a further erosion of landlines. We may even see mobile become the primary Internet access vehicle for some number of users.
The Mobile LinuxWorld conference, covered by both InternetNews and InformationWeek, representatives of the LiMo Foundation appeared to reach out to competitor Android/Google to join forces on a common platform to expedite development and create broader reach. Google, for its part, appeared to resist the call:
"Unification for the sake of unification is not the path we decided to go down," [Google's Eric Chu] said during a panel discussion of the mobile marketplace at the LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco. "In the end, what matters most is what consumers are looking for. But having too many people on the design phase, especially early on, would have hurt the project. You could have three different user interfaces and a couple of application layers. That doesn't make sense."
LiMo already has a range of phones from Motorola, LG, Panasonic and others in various markets today. Android phones are supposed to be out (from T-Mobile, HTC) by the end of this year.
U.S. number three carrier Sprint released Q2 results. Losses continued but the company suggested that things were stabilizing:
These continuing subscriber losses compare unfavorably with AT&T and Verizon, which posted subscriber and revenue gains.
Here's more on the Q2 financial results from Bloomberg.
The EU has moved toward broad access to in-flight mobile phone usage and related Internet services. However, the U.S. House of Representatives last Friday voted to advance a bill that would “permanently ban” cellphone use on flights in U.S. airspace.
I agree generally that the prospect of dozens of people talking on cellphones might be disruptive, although one could argue it’s no more disruptive than people talking to one another on the plane.
It’s likely that the following situation will now arise on EU-based carriers leaving U.S. airspace: “We’ve just left the United States, you may use your mobile phones.” A compromise position which will likely survive in the U.S. will be “Internet” but not mobile Internet access. (But if access is permitted via laptops how would they prevent VoIP calls?)
American was the first U.S. carrier to introduce in-flight Internet access on selected flights. Others in the U.S., that have announced similar plans are Virgin America, JetBlue and Alaska. Virgin would allow Internet and email access via a console that is part of the carrier’s in-flight entertainment system (”Red”).
Eventually all major U.S. carriers will probably offer Internet but the question is: will it be available in coach or only business class?
Delta just announced that it will offer broadband on its full fleet.
A post on TechCrunch yesterday suggested ChaCha was cutting the pay rate of its human guides to save costs as a prelude to “implosion.” When I had last spoken to ChaCha the company had presented a very different picture so I decided to investigate and contacted co-founder Brad Bostic.
Bostic told me that ChaCha had been seeing near triple digit growth in query volume and that the company was beginning to introduce advertising, having done a successful mobile campaign with Coke around MyCokeRewards in connection with a Nascar event. He also said ChaCha was gearing up for mobile commerce.
Regarding the compensation of guides, Bostic said that the company was trying to improve the compensation of efficient and successful guides and do the opposite with those who weren’t performing. He told me this was just another step in an ongoing process of refining their compensation.
Based on my history of conversations with Bostic and dealings with ChaCha I have no reason to doubt the veracity of what he’s telling me. But if one was a skeptic one might want additional, “empirical” confirmation of Bostic’s growth claims. I asked the company for some data.