The ever industrious Rudy de Waele and his team are staging the next version of Mobile 2.0 Europe in beautiful Barclona on 16/17 June 2011. Last year’s version was awesome but this year they seem to have upped the ante significantly again. Staged in Telefonica’s mindblowing R&D centre Diagonal 00 (just look at the picture, for heaven’s sake!) and boasting a speaker line-up that should everybody get going!
It’s a developer conference, so none (or little) of the usual preaching but you will get more hands-on workshops on everything from app store marketing to HTML5 development. And all this in summery Barcelona! Go on, sign up here!
And if all that is not enough, here’s a selection of the people that will speak with you, work with you, talk to you (a full speaker list is here):
- Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio (yes, he, the Mighty Eagle of the “Angry Birds” guys)
- Daniel Gurrola, Orange
- Sanyu Kirulata, Blackberry
- Reimund Schmaid, Nuance
- Carlos Domingo, Telefonica I+D
- Jose Valles, BlueVia (Telefonica)
- Lucas Allen Buick, Synthetic (they of “Hipstamatic” fame)
- Matthias Sala, Gbanga
- Andy Goodman, Fjord
- Caroline Drucker, Soundcloud
- Vincent Hoogsteder, Distimo
- Andreas Constantinou, Vision Mobile
- Tom Hume, Future Platforms
- John Roberts, Quostodian
- Yes, and yours truly will also be there
See you in the sun very soon!
Last week, I moderated a panel at Mobile 2.0 Europe in Barcelona on “How to Make Money as a Developer”. Interestingly, there was no developer on the panel… However, there were representatives from Orange’s Partner Programme and from Telefonica, and I asked them if they would move from the “classic” 50/50 carrier revenue share (no one confirmed or denied the accuracy of that classic share of course) and, whilst they were clearly not willing to confirm anything (they probably couldn’t, to be fair), they did indicate that a revision of legacy models was under way in view of the not so new anymore challenges of app stores with their – now prevailing – 70/30 split in a developer’s favour.
This week, Vodafone came out a little more openly: at MEM, their Content Services Director pondered to
give [...] it back to the developers to let them monetise it.
The big one then followed. She said – and this must be close to an industry-first – that carriers
don’t necessarily have to drive towards revenue for all of that content.
And that is the real point: I have long been arguing that the real value of (great) content to carriers may not lie in incremental revenues (be it 50% or 30%) but in softer albeit much, much more important values, namely marketing, positioning as well as customer retention.
An example: a couple of years ago, we shipped a whole suite of X-Men 3 content, game, wallpapers, tones, you name it. The launch was, of course, around the movie launch (which was tremendously successful) and we had carefully crafted marketing plans including many brand partners (20th Century Fox, Activision, Panini, etc). We managed to drive some exceptional campaigns to which carriers in a lot of countries contributed serious marketing dollars. Did they do this in order to obtain an SMS-margin-matching ROI? Not in the strict sense. To them, this was brand extension and affiliation. And, boy, did it work!
Carriers biggest trouble is ARPU and customer churn. I am not sure about the latest numbers but for years the annual churn was reaching towards a third. And that is real money. If you can reduce churn by only a few points if you provide your users with great content services, you will see your money back many times. It is (brand) marketing, not incremental revenues that make it.
Now, as long as the content guys have revenue targets, the (normally very mighty) CFO of a carrier will ask painful questions on ROI and margins; and they will always come up short. Classify it as a marketing task though, and you’re looking really good: effective marketing that should yield measurable results at no cost. Hang on: at negative cost. How cool is that? I know that many a content guy at a carrier agrees with me here. Would they ever admit as much in public? You must be kidding me.
It is therefore good to see that Vodafone starts thinking publicly about alternative approaches with a view to strengthening and/or supporting their core business. Now put it in motion, folks!
It’s been looming and was long expected but today Vodafone announced it would embed its Vodafone 360 app store on two Android devices next to Android Market. Vodafone says their store would give partners a richer retailing experience than Android Market – but then they would say that, wouldn’t they?
But cheap puns aside, the move does have some legs: Vodafone uses Qualcomm’s Xiam personalisation engine, which provides recommendations based on user behaviour. They claim – and you may have heard that before in any number of my talks – that recommendations are a much stronger driver than promotions, stronger by a level of 4x to be exact. This ties in with my preachings: nearly 3/4 of all purchasing decisions (not only mobile, all of them!) are made on the recommendation of friends. And, alas, this is where “user behaviour” as the applicable pattern comes short: do I care how many, say, Amazon buyers of Grisham novels are also buying other authors’ crime thrillers? No. Why not? Because I don’t know these people. Do I care what my friends may think I like? You bet! Why? Because they know me and my tastes. Doh!
Anyway, back to Vodafone. They have realised (and, credit to them, admit it!) that a vertical implementation where you only get the full scope of 360 services if you have one of two phones doesn’t work. And, well, that’s somewhat obvious, isn’t it? Or is it a reasonable assumption that all my friends will all of a sudden (and at the same time) exchange their various handsets for a Samsung M1? No, I thought not either.
Vodafone did divulge a little data sniplet that must encourage them though, and that is that 360 customers have a 3x higher ARPU than others. If you look at the above (recommendations, friends, etc), that is not completely surprising. So now the next hurdle is to roll it out across their whole range of handsets. And let’s face it: a simple store won’t cut that on its own. Going cross-platform also means that – depending which handset you fancy – you may find different app stores of differing attraction competing with Vodafone’s own for attention (e.g. does Nokia’s Ovi offering seem to have more traction than, say, Blackberry App World but the latter has – from a publisher’s perspective – vastly superior price levels). All in all pretty sub-optimal, I think.
On a sideline: I will be moderating a panel on “How to Make Money as a Developer” this week at Mobile 2.0 Europe in Barcelona and I will be having the immense pleasure of having two operators on the panel (Orange and Telefonica-O2) as well as Microsoft (representing the OS side). This Vodafone announcement highlights some of the challenges the industry is facing. Interesting times!
On 17 June, a wonderful conference opens its doors: organized by the formidable Rudy de Waele and his team, the beautiful city of Barcelona (but without the usual Mobile World Congress stress and with better weather than in February!) is host to Mobile 2.0 Europe.
You will find a great line-up of speakers from across the mobile ecosystem, which should allow for a wonderfully balanced overview of what’s going on. The organizers have lined up senior guys from the giants of the industry, such as:
- PayPal Mobile
But they then coupled them with the nimble and agile guys like us, so you will also find:
- Distimo (analytics)
- Scoreloop (yes, I will be speaking)
- The Astonishing Tribe (UI experts)
- Future Platforms
- and more…
As if this wasn’t enough, the AppCircus will also stop at the event with an on-stage show of the best and brightest apps around.
Join us, it should be tremendous fun! The registration page is here.
Here it is, the May Bank Holiday edition of the Carnival of the Mobilists. For those not in the know: it is a weekly write-up of the best and brightest in the world of mobile-(related) blogging and is being hosted each week on another blog; this week it’s me… The easiest way to follow the Carnival every week is to subscribe to the Twitter stream of the formidable Peggy Anne Salz.
So here’s what this week has in stock for you:
James Coops from Mobyaffiliates provides us with an excellent overview of mobile affiliate networks, a fairly fresh approach to carry the multi-billion dollar online equivalent to mobile.
Jay Ehret asks the question that normally costs a round, namely “Is it the Year of Mobile yet?“. And he has a refreshingly clear look at it: a) it is impossible to throw all of the various mobile marketing things (SMS, mobile web, LBS, mobile wallets, m-commerce, etc) into one bucket, and right he is!, b) he reckons that it is certainly time for mobile now since low entry barriers and cost basically make it a ride you cannot lose.
Dr Jim Taylor delights us by adding a few more acronyms to the mix: NEI is the new TMI. The “I” stands for information and Jim looks how the wealth of available information and the way people handle it may reflect upon larger sociological developments. Very thoughtful stuff!
Ajit Jaokar from the OpenGardensBlog looks at the decline of fixed line and wonders if we’re all erring, namely because the wires are needed to take the data load off (hyper-)broadband mobile networks. He then wonders if one shouldn’t think mobile and fixed-line as one and design accordingly.
Peggy Anne Salz points us to a podcast on app store marketing. With nigh on 70 app stores and gazillions of apps, discovery, marketing and sustained usage are issues central to the distribution (and revenue!) strategy of every app developer (I for one certainly bookmarked it).
Tego Interactive’s Alfred de Rose queries whether Apple needs an iPhone in the enterprise (he thinks it doesn’t, and his arguments are very noteworthy!).
And, finally, Rudy de Waele announced the next edition of the wonderful event that is Mobile 2.0 Europe, which will take place in beautiful Barcelona – and not in rainy February either but on 17 June. Book your tickets here. Next to it, there will be the AppCircus, a unique traveling showcase of the most creative and innovative apps presented by their creators at top events around the world.
And that’ll conclude this week’s carnival. Make sure to clue yourself up, read, listen, ponder, share and discuss!
Next week’s edition will be hosted by James Coops at his MJelly Blog.