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Mobile at the Heart of Transmedia – the new Convergence? By Alan Brody
The emerging term for the new convergence is Transmedia. It’s a great term for this Halloween month so we’ll go with it even though it is still an insider term – not quite at the tip of everyone’s tongue.
Transmedia does, however, raise the issue of vampire technology – the specter of digital media sucking the life out of print, TV and most other traditional media. And that’s why we love Google – they are not the ghouls here just, we hope, the white night.
According to Jesse Marmon Haines, who heads the ad marketing unit, smart mobile is growing so fast that, by 2013 it will outpace computer-based browsers. While the world loves iPhones, Google Android is already outpacing them and the search and adsense worlds will increasingly move to Mobile.
While we can’t say just how lucrative this will prove, we can see how different the experience is playing out on Mobile. For one thing, people use fewer words to search – on average of 3 on mobile vs. 5 on a computer. 1 in 4 searches are using the voice recognition feature – and those tend to be more comples. Ads that lure people on the move to your destination can make be worth a lot of money – perhaps more than online.
The beauty of smart phones is they have almost completely sidestepped the old stranglehold that phone companies had on “the deck” – so the Mobile ad business is exploding. That is why Google recently bought AdMob for a premium. They are signing up 200,000 users a day. Most importantly, websites need to be optimized for the Mobile if they are likely to promote instant action. For example, one of the most successful functions on Android optimized websites is the link to phone feature – click on the website’s phone number and Android starts ringing for. Directions are often offered too. It is only a matter of time before people start using the voice recognition feature to do a lot more than search – but as the dominant mobile interface.
The big news here is that Google wants to own the mobile browser – not just search – and you can be sure they will be focusing a lot of resources on that! Bill Gates, Firefox, Apple – your immortality is being challenged!
At Time Inc., John Paris, the Senior Strategist talked about the differences in Mobile users and the old vampire challenge: can Time still make money in a mostly free digital world using content from their old paid subscription world? Right now, they are a long a way from the “witching hour” because, as Paris puts it, people on the run don’t read the same way. “Mobile is article driven.” People are not looking to read the whole magazine.
Does this have the haunting strains of the digital music world where people stopped buying albums and began downloading one song at a time? Maybe – but for now, Time can monetize by keeping good metrics and still use the mobile experience to drive subscriptions to their print and other vehicles.
Not surprisingly, he mobile world is around 2/3 male and 1/3 female – but that is rapidly changing. What is more important is that men and women use Mobile slightly differently. No one seems to be sharing this information but my guess is that men are from Transylvania and women are from Twilight (ask your kids if you don’t get that.)
From Time Inc.’s perspective, the iPad is much more likely to be their growth vehicle and that market will move dramatically with Android-based pads, the much anticipated Dell Streak – but most of all, with the introduction of a smaller, lighter iPad probably one with a 7” screen.
David Gwozdz of Mojiva, whose company offers an ad network modeled somewhat on the original DoubleClick model, also sees Mobile eclipsing desktops in 2012 and Intel selling 150 million Atom-based netbooks. Kelvin Rowlette CEO of the systems integrator, July Systems talked about the successful project his company did with Fantasy Football. Most of the profitable Mobile projects he pointed out are based on sponsorships rather than ads.
Form the perspective of users, Media will simply follow them. The Mobile device is a lot like the baton orchestrating all of the media, it is your newspaper, your book, you DVR, your GPS, your friend summoning articles to and from the desktop or TV and other digital devices. As we are discovering, they are doing it in more ways than we ever imagined. The Mobile is transforming form the underdog of the digital world to the, well, werewolf gobbling up the old media laggards. Arooo.