Wednesday, January 17, 2007

MobileTV: Darling or Deadbeat?

The media (me included) can't seem to figure out whether mobile tv is the next best thing since sliced bread or a disaster (betamax, anyone?) in the making. My opinion (not that you asked, but it's my pulpit) is that it will gain widespread acceptance once everyone figures out how and when to use it.

Here's where the chips fall today. The WSJ runs an extended take under the header "Banner Year: Companies Vie for Ad Dollars on Mobile Web." The article profiles the tremendous, initial success of AdMob. Third Screen also grabs its share of print.

Pamela Anderson : Virgin mobile commercial - kewego
Pamela Anderson : Virgin mobile commercial - kewego

Pamela Anderson : Virgin mobile commercial - kewego
What does Pamela Anderson always have by her side? Her new Lobster 700TV ! Discover the phone now...

The numbers are interesting, though I'm not sure what they mean at this point. In 2006, mobile ad spending reached an estimated $871 worldwide, most of it on text messages, according to the research firm (quoted by WSJ) Informa Telecoms and Media. Meanwhile Internet spending was around $24 billion, according to ZenithOptimedia.

Meanwhile, reports (quoting The Guardian) that Virgin Mobile TV has failed to gain traction in the UK, despite the considerable charms (?) of Pamela Anderson in its $4.9 million ad campaign. The paper reports that considerably fewer than 10,000 subscribers have tuned in thus far. The culprits? Delivery mechanisms, price points, limited service... take your pick. But stay tuned.

Fiction on Demand
The Washington Post reports that it will be publishing fiction for the first time on its website. The paper is serializing a novel written by biz section reporter David Hilzenrath. New serials will be available every Monday and Thursday. In a deal with Lulu, Inc. the book can also be printed on demand. The $18.95 revenue will be split among Lulu, Hilzenrath and the Post. The article comments that providing these ancillary services is another way for newspapers to lure readers in through non-traditional paths.

In related news Mediapost reports that newspaper blogs are catching on....

Now, however, there's some objective support showing that online newspaper readers have taken to the publications' blogs. Data released this morning by media measurement company Nielsen//NetRatings shows that blog pages within the top 10 online newspapers drew around 3.8 million unique visitors last month--more than triple December 2005's 1.2 million.

By contrast, total online readership at the top 10 newspapers during that time has only grown by 9%, from 27.3 million in December 2005 to 29.9 million last month.

These numbers also mean that the proportion of online newspaper readers that also visit the paper's blog has grown from around 4% at the end of 2005 to around 12% last month.

Nielsen//NetRatings also reported that newspapers' blog readers tend to skew male--even more so than online newspapers in general. Men accounted for 66% of visitors to blogs, and 60% of visitors to online newspapers last month.


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