Jun 232008
 

As promised a rough transcript of a presentation I gave as part of the Digital Content Session at the Trilateral KANZ Broadband Summit in Seoul on 19 June 2008. It looks at the emerging nature of Social Media Entertainment but focuses on how creative professionals can keep up with ‘the crowd’. Covers how Film, TV and Radio are early types of non-participatory, localised, social media content but interactive digital experiences are inherently global. LAMP, forward thinking companies and other Australian initiatives develops new multi-platform services that reach out to international markets – video sharing communities, social virtual worlds, alternate reality games, locative stories, simulations and newer hybrid forms. Gary looks at Australian successes of the collision of animation, online games, film, mobile, broadband web and social media applications and the potential for co-development and cross-training between NZ, Korea and Australia.

Transcript below the SlideShare embed

Innovating Global Social Media Experiences and Collaborative Entertainment Production – © Gary Hayes 2008

An nyoung, Hello

Thank you for inviting me to speak at this Kanz Broadband Summit this morning and I hope I can inspire collaborative action in us all. My talk is based around one key premise that those who we used to call ‘our audience’ are now empowered and creating, I would suggest, more compelling relevant and original content than ‘us’ so-called creative professionals. I look at how the creative content industry can become relevant again and innovate global social media experiences and particularly how collaborative creative development between cultures and countries can bring back the initiative. I will also touch on the fact that the real paradigm shift of broadband is not about technology but about enabling creative collaboration in social groups (the industry and audience). I use the ‘them and us’ metaphor for ease of presentation because of course they are us!

Don’t worry this is not another ‘community-created-content-will-take-over the world’ talk, there have been many of those because that has already happened, this is about a co-creative society sharing it’s media and creating tools to make the process much easier. A high bandwidth wired up world gives them the many-to-many distribution channels and with community created tools for self-publishing they are entertaining each other and creating flexible companies with a skilled and transient human resource. What does this mean for industry and creative professionals? The good news is that ‘they’, are showing industry (inside and across national borders) the best processes in how to create original and innovative content. We, the creative professionals must take note – be as flexible, fleet of foot and inventive as the ‘crowd’ are becoming.

We are hard wiring the world and humans when given the means to communicate over open, high bandwidth channels will share their stories and develop loyal followings from 100s to 100 000s of those who want to be engaged by them. Trying to regulate and halt the growth of social media will also be at our peril. Force majeure will mean ‘they’ will develop their own connected communities with or without telcos, governments or entertainment companies. But that is another story, what remains are new, niche ‘born to be wired’ communities of interest mashing-up content, engineering better software and deciding between themselves what products will succeed in the marketplace. How can industry emulate this force of nature?

Now everyone is a filmmaker, broadcaster and storyteller. The quaint but already outdated methods of distributing ‘stories’ that relied on reaching ‘captive’ audiences by broadcasting ‘at’ them in one direction, we can liken to someone watering a tamed forest with a spray hose. That walled forest was once refreshing but they have quickly learned that outside this wall they have the ability to ‘grow their own’ they will, with or without us –  and their combined wisdom dwarfs any sized company or government organization.

Playful Content R&D. Innovation is not about delivering linear tv and film over the wired network to a pc or onto a mobile phone. That is the utility business not the creative one.
The participatory audience are showing the way in how they create hybrid forms from film, tv, games and web applications. They often do this through behaviour rather than engineering. They mesh the way they consume media. Sending Facebook updates from their mobile phone while half watching a TV programme but talking about it on twitter while listening to a friends music playlist and so on. New generations learn that they can cherry pick key parts of services making the new form better than the source as this diagram illustrates, it is not about the content, display or distribution but about the format they enable. The way the community are creating this content is a model for industry and the content and telco industries need to move beyond old business models and look at cross-media form rather than distribution

We have to think beyond mono-media. By that I mean see media as just a single film or TV episode or a mobile game. In fragmented markets where participant audiences spend time across hundreds of touch points we need to provide our stories for them across those devices and channels.

Peter Jackson said “I think we’re on a threshold of a new way to tell stories… It’s a form of entertainment that’s not a game and it’s not a film. It’s a filmic game experience.”

As an example quite a few companies and academic organisations in Australia are now developing compelling hybrid forms, such as TV and Games. This cross-reality mix is showing real potential as the live dynamic element of TV utlises the immersive quest like elements of online games. We must also be careful of assuming all interactivity is equal. There is a big difference between on one-hand, point-and-click ‘broadcast-interactivity’ or games where there are preset outcomes (watch a video or hear a sound) and on the other hand, spaces and places where the community can promote, comment or co-create with the original creators.

Moving on a little, I would like to quote from Building a Creative Innovation Economy, A Cultural Ministers Council report from February of this year.

“The creative sector must engage with the community to ensure ongoing support and survival in a global environment where there is increasing competition for consumers’ disposable time and dollars from an ever-expanding choice of leisure services and products. In this sense, user created content on social media web services such as YouTube and MySpace can be seen as competition for cultural audiences’ attention.…The Australian Film, Television and Radio School’s Laboratory of Advanced Media Production (LAMP) is another example of an innovative approach to training. The program enables the conception and development of multimedia content and services in a live-in setting, facilitating collaboration between project teams and mentors. The four stage process equips participants with the tools they need to create compelling interactive content that meets the needs of their audiences and marketplaces. LAMP offers participants a healthy mix of creativity, business awareness, technical skills and audience awareness.”

So I am keen to talk about one of many innovative initiatives in Australia to aid the development of new form content. LAMP (The Laboratory for Advanced Media Production) was formed in 2005 through AFTRS and comes from a tradition of hothouse development initiatives in the UK, at the BBC and the American Film Institute’s Digital Content lab. My experience is that Australia has some of the most creative thinkers in new emerging media content and they are very keen to work on creative vs just technological collaborations.

Since its inception LAMP has propelled over 61 projects and transformed hundreds of participants at workshops and seminars. The reason the hothouse, live-in-labs work is that they create small social networks with a complimentary mix of great story tellers, innovative technicians, interactive designers and producers. They also take these time poor people away from the normal day to day activities and allow them to take risks. This is exactly what the community is doing and who naturally take risks. The more we allow international teams to come together and take risks, the better for all and innovation will result.

Here is a short sample of some social media projects that have been developed at LAMP. Four example projects and two from the last collaborative Australia/New Zealand lab. Portable ghosts explores games that cross from web to real world to mobile. Master Raindrop looks at the combination of online games, mobile and real life movement training. Thursday’s Fictions explores spirituality and literature in a social virtual world and Wild Ark tells stories using mobile devices around zoos and other immersive real life environments.

Our second was developing seven ABC TV original and existing IP of which many ideas are now being implemented in that organisation.

Many projects developed around the world now create content that the community can take up, give them the tools or the forums to continue the stories so they can build and grow the original idea. Most LAMP projects now take this onboard and see the interaction with the audience as a primary driver behind their original idea. A good example of this is Bush IPTV – a pilot LAMP is producing for a broadband TV service in remote indigenous communities in far north Queensland.

Many projects also fall into the ‘simulation’ camp, creating virtual spaces that allow scenarios for entertainment, research and social collaboration. Here is a small selection of testimonials from recent participants.

I can highly recommend LAMP to anyone with a great idea looking to turn it into a success. It was a totally immersive and focused, overwhelming experience – nothing like I’ve experienced before The impossible is possible It was a wonderful creative experience where I believe we were able to generate a wealth of truly new ideas. Marvellous! A creative vibrant practical atmosphere The lab exceeded my expectations…The way everyone helped each other out in an environment that was friendly, affectionate and creative allowed us to take our project in ways never thought of before. This has definitely been one of the best experiences of my life. Thankyou! I loved loved loved it! Concept of LAMP is wonderful and it was above and beyond expectation LAMP helped solidify confidence in the concept and creating a truly viable cross media platform LAMP 08 was the most amazing professional development experience of my life!

The role of media producers now is to create compelling cross-media immersive entertainment experiences for global audiences. The producer as aggregator of content/curator – creating the conditions to activate audiences.

Games I would suggest are the most social media. A recent report from Bond University said that in Australia social and casual games are now the most dominant with only 19% of all gamers preferring to play alone with more than 56% preferring to play with others.

That suggests why the merging of traditional online social networks such as myspace and Facebook with game worlds are growing so quickly. I personally have been involved in the creation of some of these spaces inside virtual worlds with Telstra’s and ABC TVs presence in Second Life (a great portent of future socio/economic virtual worlds) with BigPond now the highest globally for all brands in second life.

There are great opportunities for collaboration and the creation of a new form of global Social Virtual World like Korea’s Cyworld potentially stretching into English speaking countries –  and to reiterate the social aspect again, 84% of Australians think that playing together is important for forming family connections with more than half saying games are more social forms of entertainment than other media.

To jump back to the notion of the hybrid form again. Much of this is reflecting my definition of web 3.0, the live or synchronous web where we communicate and co-create in real time. Social interaction through virtual worlds, interactive broadband TV or web and mobile applications can coexist and mingle in this world.

Australia for instance already have a range of companies that are pushing the envelope of what new form entertainment is. Hoodlum for example have just won BAFTA awards for their extended entertainment titles alongside Lost and BBC Spooks and like many LAMP projects they are creating ‘social entertainment’ which is about connecting communities with common goals and quests and stimulating the wisdom of the engaged crowd.

In 2007 Australia had around 40 traditional game companies who have produced more than 200 games resulting in $100mill in exports –  notables include Ty The Tasmanian Tiger and De Blob but we still see the growth and dominance of MMOGs many originating in Asian countries and proliferating in Australia

AFTRS is pioneering new forms too. Alongside it’s world renowned TV and Film courses, AFTRS is developing a range of foundational and specialised graduate courses that will explore games, virtual environments and innovative new forms. They will explore the link between story and participatory applications and how interactive media can be made more ‘cinematic’ and immersive. At post graduate level it is planning to offer a project based course that encourages pioneering projects and inspires innovation.”

Australia, New Zealand and Korea are a wonderful mix of original thinking, great test-bed participant audiences and world leading technology. Able to leapfrog over legacy telecommunications we see in other parts of the world it is possible for ground breaking new formats to be developed in partnerships between the three countries. Australia and New Zealand particularly bring world leading innovative media forms to the mix.

Finally social networks have come about to both connect family and friends but also out of business and a collaborative need –  we as content producers must be very focused on this to be relevant to the audience that are doing it themselves. Governments and creative industries can become allies in this equation and become authentic co-creators of social media spaces where the voice and creativity of the ‘audience’ can play out.

Nations who have key creative synergies, technical innovation and highly motivated participant audiences to collaborate and develop new forms together. Which is why I suggest we endeavour to create an initial rapid content R&D lab between the three countries be set up this year. The outcome of these will be many real projects a selection of which can be developed to market.

Kamsahamnida
Thank you

© Gary Hayes 2008

 

Jun 042008
 

Gary Hayes will be speaking and representing LAMP and AFTRS at the The 2008 KANZ Australia Korea New Zealand Broadband Summit on 19-20 June 2008 in Seoul, Korea.

The ten or so Australian speakers at the two day summit will be led by Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and will be hosted by the Korean Minister, Mr See-Joong Choi, Chairman, Korean Communications Commission (KCC).

The summit will cover topics such as Broadband Technologies, Intelligent Broadcasting, Services and Applications, R&D and Safety and Security. Gary will be talking about the growing importance of participatory content, the collision of traditional media and new collaborative tools from a story perspective and how these hybrids are an analog for the way nations could be working together – ‘the international, digital mash-up’. He will also talk about how nations can develop strategies to share learning from R&D and new industry forms.

The KANZ Broadband Summit is an annual meeting of Australian, New Zealand and Korean organisations to discuss the latest developments in broadband infrastructure, applications and content. This year it is hosted by the Korean Communications Commission, providing a focal point for discussions on mutual international collaboration in commercial and research opportunities in broadband content, services and infrastructure.

The past three Summits have attracted around 100 organisations with the objective of fostering collaboration and exploring new business opportunities. With the passing of each Summit we are seeing stronger, closer business ties established between the participating countries.

There is also an opportunity for companies for all regions to attend and what follows is some information for late applications:

You will be joining an Australian delegation made up of representatives from commercial and research organisations involved in the creation and delivery of new content and services for broadband networks. Participants will take part in the Summit by attending the formal sessions and making contact with their counterpart organisations. The broad details and arrangements for the Summit are set out below.

This is a great opportunity to participate in a top level ministerial forum, to take advantage of that forum to liaise with counterparts from Korea and New Zealand at the cutting edge of broadband services and to establish new collaborative ventures.

I urge you to register your interest in attending with our Coordinator, Ruth Conry at ruth.conry@mnetcorporation.com by Friday 30th May. Ruth can provide all the information you need regarding arrangements in Korea – her mobile number is 0401 719 975.

Companies who have already confirmed their attendance from Australia to provide key speakers at the Summit include:

  • National ICT Australia (NICTA)
  • Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
  • m.Net Corporation
  • CSIRO
  • Australian Film TV & Radio School (AFTRS): LAMP
  • Internet Society of Australia (ISOC-AU)
  • Microsoft Australia
  • Australian Federal Police (AFP)

In addition you will have the opportunity to meet with New Zealand and Korean counterparts including senior representatives from:

  • Samsung Electronics
  • Electronics & Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), Korea
  • Korea Telecom (KT)
  • TU Media Corp
  • Mobile Convergence Co
  • Asia Pacific Satellite Industries
  • Korea Information Security Agency
  • Telecom NZ
  • Zodal
  • University of Auckland
  • MediaLab
  • HectorWorld
  • Kordia

The Week in Seoul
Australia will be represented at a senior level at the OECD Ministerial Meeting on “The Future of the Internet Economy” in Seoul from 17-18 June. After the OECD meeting, ministers will open the 4th Korea Australia and New Zealand Broadband Summit taking place from 19-20 June.

Also in Seoul that week, the World IT Show provides opportunities to discover both local and international technologies being promoted in the Korean market.

In Conclusion
The Korea Australia New Zealand Broadband Summit represents an opportunity to participate in a top level ministerial forum and to take advantage of that forum to make contact with Korean organisations which, in a number of cases, are at the cutting edge of broadband technology.

With so much happening in Seoul that week, this is an unprecedented opportunity which will not occur again for some time.

AIMIA have also covered this here

Apr 192007
 

A great 3rd day at Milia and a much broader spectrum of issues discussed around the many Milia halls. It started with the world’s most advanced broadband nation with Dr. Hyun-Oh Yoo giving us a rare insight into the worlds most culturally integrated social network – Cyworld in South Korea. This was the first time he had shared some of this information with a European audience (almost dwarfing the impact from and Asian perspective, Peter Li’s IPTV talk later in the day). Fighting through a hay fever Dr. Yoo talked in a gravelly voice about the ubiquitous infrastructure, and how it allows Cyworld to be accessible across the super-broadband fiber pipes and always-on wireless networks. The figures surrounding the service, particularly penetration make MySpace look like a niche activity, well not quite. But here goes:


20 million subscribers
40% of TOTAL population
96% of 20-29 year olds use Cyworld regularly
20 billion monthly page views and 22 mill monthly unique visitors
$300 000 in sales of digital items daily
100 000 video uploads daily
210 million songs sold, currently 6 mill per month

img_8670.jpg

That last figure makes it second only to iTunes for volume of music sales – who says social networks don’t have business models. Dr Yoo also presented a slide that compared the service to some of our more recognisable web 2.0 brands – it is interesting how Second Life is up there with YouTube and flickr, more so as the Cyworld virtual reality is extremely Habbo in style vs true 3D.

img_8666.jpg

A refreshing follow-up to this talk was an uncomfortably titled “The Future of Interactive TV”. Eloquently steered and captained by Brian Seth-Hurst (who is also the key enabler also for the International Interactive Emmy Awards of course– see later) it became apparent that labelling TV services that have an interactive component as Interactive TV is now too limiting and emphasises TV too much – perhaps if the service ‘€˜only’€™ appeared on the one (TV) screen and all interaction took place there fine, but these are really in the minority and most are via mobile sms, telephony, stretched out across many platforms (TV is a part of the mix) or synchronised with online. There were some great new kid on the block examples of iTV and ones that started to merge media . Kim Lindholm from Motion Avenue in Finland showed something on the edge of my “mixed reality” continuum (a soon to be published post) a game/quiz show from Vietnam that has viewers appear as avatars in a virtual audience who get knocked out if they get answers wrong – of course the audience pays per question. He was followed by the grandfather of iTV Robert Chua who presented a more philosophical view of iTV. He questioned the definition of iTV as a relevant term when the same type of services are controlled by or fed to PC, mobile and TV via broadband pipes. The second panel in this session looked at enablers like Microsoft and OpenTV who themselves appear to be struggling with the melding of broadcast and broadband, games and linear.

Then a day of pitching started. Top and tailed by commercial entities that sandwiched a swathe of public service BBC 360 panels. My LAMP friend and colleague Jackie Turnure was pitching in the most defined session being Cross-Platform Brand Marketing. The three propositions trying to fulful a tight brief from Ogilvy and American Express were in brief terms, 1) an amazing race clone, 2) a chroma key ‘card ride’ and 3) an Alternate Reality Game. Without showing any bias I personally thought the ARG from Jackie the much stronger in terms of reach and originality but more importantly having a story (we shall see tomorrow who won).

img_8678.jpg

These and many of the pitches that followed from the BBC panels seemed very light on narrative and most were function over form, without clearly defined structure or focus. There is a sense that many ad agencies and traditional broadcasters (as I said in the last post) are seeing Emerged Media as a way to allow users to participate, sometimes I feel to the detriment of the actual integrity of the proposition. We may be creating too many empty shells for viewers to fill without really drawing them in first with a great story. Frank Boyd again led key BBC folk though some less than enticing pitches. I thought the first two panels one on 360 docs and the second on 360 participation actually seemed interchangeable. All the doc props involved viewer input and the community ones were themed around documentary topics like the environment. So more blurring of labels as form, function and genre meld.

img_8680.jpg

By the afternoon I was suffering from conference fatique, that moment when panels and panellists start to blur into one another. Luckily the IPTV vs Internet TV was a great idea and Justin Hewlett and others showed off a great cross section of the new walled garden TV, data and telephony services. After a while though all the badly designed interfaces started to blur into each other too. It became apparent in these sessions that penetration for many pockets of services around the world in the 50-100 thousand audience range is still very low and not significant due to two key things:

1 You can get most of the IPTV offerings via traditional TV distribution channels, so nothing really new to entice viewers (it was cited that 50% of subs were actually for the telephony and data elements and not the TV!)
2 The topic of the panel, the wild west internet is now delivering a much broader and compelling range of audio, video content.

The panel topic echoed a talk I gave to an IPTV ‘hyped’ audience in Sydney nearly two years ago (and cited on a few IPTV info sites) – the main premise being, the cats out of the bag, Internet TV (or broadband TV as I called it), the wild west way to get your TV morsels means IPTV may only have another 12 months or so to deliver on its promise, or be gone for good. As mentioned earlier I found Peter Li, the VP from BesTV in China illuminating if only for the stats he presented as context to IPTV potential in China.

CNNIC report for China July 2006 Internet users 130m. 40% growth for past 6 years Broadband users 80m Youth: 18.5 hrs/wek online vs 6.7 hrs/wk on TV Over 220 online video portals, 500 000 clips uploaded daily Concurrancy of viewers watching video online 500 000. ADSL 2.0+ goes to over 10 million users

The keynote of the day, after I managed to rush out and get my glad rags from the dry cleaners, was Jana Bennett and Ashley Highfield. I would like to give this more time and the awards so will leave that until the next post. For now though a taster shot of the BBC keynoters.

img_8702.jpg

I was lucky to be a judge again at the Interactive International Emmy Awards and invited to the splendid evening session at the Carlton Ballroom. Only three awards up for grabs (and a special prize this year to BskyB -€“ well done). The event was excellently organised in the tradition of all the A-list ceremonies and I was lucky to be on one of the front tables, with the interactive programme folk. Also managed to grab a chat with Phil Rosedale who leads Linden Lab (Second Life) in the pre-award cocktails, which was a treat for me 😉

img_8735.jpg

To the awards. Great to see the BBC finally win for their BBCi all emcompassing eTV and 24/7 service (I remember the days when it was called Digital Text – but wont go there now!). Great to see my old cohorts Nick Cohen and Phil Jay with big grins on their faces for the rest of the evening. Canada took the second award, Interactive Channel, for BITE Television a slightly anarchistic, irrelevant channel. The most exciting award of the evening though for me was the interactive programme award and I was siting between two of the nominees on a distinctly Canadian table 8. Three of the four nominees were Canadian! But I had Aaron from the Zimmer Twins on one side and Patrick Crowe from Regenesis on the other (Zinc Roe Design and Xenophile respective companies) – and it was a surprise to all, that they both won! Yes a two-way tie and a table creaking later with the weight of two Emmys 😉 As one would expect both teams were delighted and it was wonderful both for Canada (and the Bell fund that partly helped Regenesis) but also for the interactive form as both services are innovative and pushing the envelope. But will write more later (congrats to Evan Jones and Tony Walsh also who were major parts of Regensis) – for now a picture I took of the double winners. A busy and even more exciting day tomorrow (well actually today now as I finish this).
img_8750.jpg

© Gary Hayes 2007

Jun 072006
 

Yesterday I chaired the Mobile Content World Australasia 2006 Conference in Sydney and moderated a couple of panels. I gave an opening (provocative as far as an industry conference goes) address and a few people have asked for copies. So as powerpoints were banned (by the switched-on Terrappin organisers), and as my notes eventually turned into a script (I prefer not to read scripts – no room for personalised delivery!) – well I had it to hand. So here it is. Short, succinct and afterwards I list the people on the panels during the day – and when I get time I will give some opinion, add on what I thought of the event, the discussions and a few of the toys I saw such as a 3D phone and some great social network services, very cool.

Where are we? Where is mobile content on its evolutionary path? Is it well adjusted late teens or is it still a screaming adolescent? What are the real signs of maturity in the industry?

I am Gary Hayes, Director of the Laboratory of Advanced Media Production in Sydney, part of a government initiative run through the Australian Film TV and Radio School. We work with major ‘heritage’ media producers to prototype next generation cross-media services. We will have prototyped over thirty eight services by October many of which utilise mobile devices. I am originally from a digital broadcast and broadband TV background and when I was senior development producer at BBC New Media for 8 years I started out by putting the first audio, video and vr services onto broadband PC too. This makes me sound old but this was only ten years ago remember. I also worked in the US for a couple of years developing broadband TV services. The only thing mobile was useful to the broadcaster, when we were beginning Interactive TV services six years ago, was to vote, SMS chat or send in text messages – at premium rate of course. Have things changed that much?

The mobile industry today reminds me to a great extent of the early digital TV and broadband PC days back in 1996/7. We weren’t sure if putting video (or TV as we used to call it) onto the web was really going to work. We were not sure if communities and social networks would grow with any permanence on the web, which in those days were mostly shopping malls and advertising billboards (web 1.0) – and we weren’t sure that people would really use the web to be creative – many thought the web was about email (simple communication) and information. Ring any bells?

On mobile phones, of which the current incarnation has evolved out of the early web so the comparison is slightly flawed, we certainly have lots of walled gardens, chat communities and ubiquitous shopping malls. We have first generation services streaming live video (or TV as we used to call it) and video downloads – and in trials people are using DVB-H for up to 20 minutes a day. We also have games that are catching up to the quality of PS1 consoles of the mid-90s and communities in a sort of trial phase. Then there are the tablets, the iPods, PDAs all part of a convergence as everything becomes connected and we can store all the content you would ever need, at any one moment in time at least.

But mobile devices, particularly connected, location senstive ones have so much more potential, even now. What is holding them back from becoming the epicentre of consumers media universe? Price? Storage? The Experience? Interoperability? Quality of Service? The Business Model itself? ROI or Greed?

In the last five years things have changed considerably on the web – and now web 2.0, as it is called, is flourishing, and millions are actively participating and creating content. Blogs, vlogs, podcasts, shared spaces and mass multiplayer online role playing games are everywhere. People who play online games are not watching TV anymore, in fact they are not doing much else besides these social network based, online games. So why did this happen, what can we learn?

Part of why this happened is that firstly TV, a medium that used to be the media hub, has not evolved quickly enough for the active consumer – who need to share, communicate and participate ‘in’ the medium itself. Sure TV (the form – bite sized chunks of entertaining video) is gradually breaking free of its chains in the corner of the room, slowly becoming connected on the web, but we all know it will have to quickly morph and change its stripes to survive the next decade. Those early broadcast interactive services I had a part in creating or the early TV walled gardens such as Sky’s Open… (RIP) were in retrospect, stepping stones towards the great triple play of IPTV – also known as broadband content delivered to the large screen we used to call ‘a TV’. So why did this happen, what can the mobile industry learn?

People move to where media (their own and that which they pay for) is easily shared, published and moved between all their devices and friends and family. They buy content for themselves and not one device. They go to where their voice is heard and where they can be active participants. Any platform that locks the active ‘panther-like’ consumer in a cage, in the medium term, is doomed to failure. Early web portals like AOL and digital TV walled gardens know this. The mobile industry needs to take stock and grow up. Break down the walls, create interoperable marketplaces that will create traffic, activity and flourish. It also needs to treat the consumer as an individual and it has such potential to be the test bed for real personalisation – in fact that is it’s USP, its saviour and the true thing that can set it apart in the platform jungle. Getting the right ‘rich media’ content on top of each individuals portal in real time, on the move is key and ARPU will increase exponentially.

Speaking of personalisation, or rather customisation, I forgot to tell you I am a flasher. Not in the pants domain no. Dismayed by the amount of relevant rich content on various 3G portals I tried, I decided to flash my Moto v3x phone a few months ago. Yes I joined the dark side of the force, the modder community and now, move ‘my paid’ for content freely between PCs, iPod, PDA and phones. I suspect there are many more that would like to do so too. Beware of that crowd, unless you deliver quickly they will be looking elsewhere and WiFi, WiMax and Bluetooth connected (non mobile phone) mobile devices are getting itchy feet in the queue behind you.
Imagine now Ennio Morricones theme tune as we quickly look at the Good, The Bad and the Ugly of the mobile industry, the themes that we will be exploring in today’s conference.

The Good – three of them:
1 – mobile phones are still the most effective way to connect, mobile people. So we have two sessions dedicated to how mobile communities can increase traffic and ARPU. In publishing consumer content there has been some innovative phone user generated TV shows such as Syamekke in Japan, Cult TV in France and even a dedicated TV channel Tu Media in Korea showing nothing but viewer content. Using the phone as a tool to vlog and publish onto TV will both educate and inspire the audience and inspire.
2 – Another good seachange is at MyNumo.com for example. They are creating tools to allow consumers to sell content (ringtones, wallpaper and create webpages) to each other – micro viewer economics that really drove traffic for eBay, MySpace and a few virtual shared spaces on the web like Second Life.
3 – Also in the good camp is the phenomenal success of the mobile phone billing system. Some have called it ‘implied commerciality’ – people accept they have to pay for everything – but that also means people are far less eager to try new things which is also…

…The Bad – to me bad is still the simple lack of interoperability and the walled garden. Interoperability between mobile devices, between operators, and across the off-portal piece – but really, between consumers. Sure things are improving but without simple ways to share and move media consumers will find alternate routes as digital content wants to spread. No one operator can fulfil the need of any consumer so providing easier routes to get to off-portal content is critical and providing a higher quality experience on that journey is even more so. We have sessions looking at fulfilling the promise of 3G and on and off portal internet

The Ugly – We can do so much more to get the right content to right consumers. Personalisation, targeting and easier search are critical. Finding content is sometimes ugly at the moment, no in fact it is very ugly. Deep menus, busy interfaces and superficial content once you get there– we have panels today focusing on the consumer experience and how to create stickiness through usuability that will hopefully help us out of this maze.

OK enough from me time for some statistics now and a look at What Consumers Actually Want from the Australian mobile perspective, from Claudio Sagripanti of AIMIA and Venture One.

Welcome and Opening Remarks from the Chair
Mobile Content State of Play – the good, the bad and the ugly
Gary Hayes, Director, Laboratory for Advanced Media Production

Mobile content industry landscape
What consumers want – results from the Australian mobile phone lifestyle index
Claudia Sagripanti, Chairperson, AIMIA MCIDG and Venture One

ENTERTAINMENT UNTETHERED
International Keynote
Engaging customers through mobile entertainment
Ira Rubeinstein, Executive Vice President,
Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment

TV to Go – Effective programming for the mobile
Jim Shomos, Creator and Executive Producer,
Forget The Rules

Panel Discussion. Carrier Panel session – Fulfilling the promise of 3G
Gary Hayes, Moderator
Michael Padden, Head of Mobile Content, Telstra
Mark Mulder, General Manager of Content and portals, Optus
Adrian Crouch, IPX Country Manager, Ericsson
Richard Sherwood, General Manager of Mass Markets, Vodafone Australia
Scott Taylor, General Manager of Content and Services, 3 Australia

CREATING MOBILE COMMUNITIES
Communities – find the way into the truly viral market
Jennifer Wilson, Head of Mobile, HWW

Panel Discussion – Exploring the benefits of mobile communities
Jennifer Wilson, Moderator
Olivia Hilton, Chief Executive Officer, Jumbuck
James Cleary, Founder and Managing Director, Amethon
Paul Gruebar, Product Marketing Manager Premier and Youth, 3 Australia
Gregan McMahon, Regional Director Australia and NZ, Yahoo! Mobile

USER EXPERIENCE – DELIVERING ON THE PROMISE
Creating a compelling – customer focused experience
Gary Hayes, Moderator
Annie Mackin, Head of Mobile Content, 3 Australia
Cyrus Allen, General Manager, Telstra Product Management, Telstra Corporation
Steve Watson, General Manager Group Portals and Entertainment, Legion Interactive
Oliver Weidlich, Managing Director, Ideal Interfaces
Trevor Goldberg, VP Global Partners, Bango
Arun Gupta, CEO, Mauj Telecom

Mobile Media: Mobile as a new opportunity
Sporte/Edistar
Peter Egberts, Business Development Director, South Pacific Region, Netsize

Speed Networking

Creating mobile content differentiation and brand experience through a consistent user interface
Dr. Yan Zhuang, Director Business Development, QUALCOMM Internet Services

Roundtable discussions
Roundtable one: Mobile Communities
Facilitated by Jennifer Wilson, Head of Mobile, HWW

Roundtable two: User Experience
Facilitated by Oliver Weidlich, Usability Specialist, Ideal Interfaces

Roundtable three: Mobile Media
Facilitated by Peter Egberts, Business Development Director, South Pacific Region, Netsize

Closing remarks from the Chair

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2006

2 pages