The Tweens Are Texting

Sunday's Washington Post ran an interesting story about a Disney survey of cell-phone usage (including SMS text messaging) among the 10 - 17 age group. There are no details about the methodology of the survey, but no matter, as there are all sorts of interesting findings within:

  • The poll of more than 1,500 teens and preteens found that 44 percent use text messages as their primary form of communication.
  • More than half -- 52 percent -- say they send text messages from a movie theater while 28 percent have sent messages from the dinner table.
  • For many -- 26 percent -- texting is one of the first things they do in the morning, within 10 minutes of waking up.
  • One-third of the respondents said they would rather give up the radio, video games or a trip to the mall before giving up their phones.

The future for text messaging looks good.

Read the entire article at The Washington Post (via Textually)

Borders Bookstores Set To Go Mobile

mocoNews has alerted us to some interesting developments being reported by MarketingWeek. Borders, one of the largest book retailers in the world, is going mobile:

The retailer will send sample chapters to customers' phones free of charge before books are released and the book can then be purchased in-store for a discount of up to 20% using a barcode.

So how's it going to work?

A list of books will be placed on the Borders website with a password that can be sent to a specially created number. The customer will be sent a confirmation text message with a link that connects to the internet and downloads the chapter to an applications file.

Read the entire article @ MarketingWeek (via mocoNews).

FierceMobile Interview: Mobile Content At The Forefront

On Tuesday FierceMobileContent posted an interview with Marie Jacobson, executive vice president, programming and production, international networks at Sony Pictures Television International. They discussed how Sony has jumped on the mobile content bandwagon. You can read the entire article here, but we've gone ahead and highlighted some choice quotes:

Mobile is a big focus for us. Mobile is an extension of a lot of great things we are doing in the TV space. It’s also a fertile development platform and distribution platform for a lot of stuff—video, personalization, games and networks.


FierceMobileContent: Is mobile being integrated into programming from the concept stage?

Jacobson: Absolutely. In fact, if it isn’t then it really isn’t a dedicated experience. We try to reinforce that. If it’s a retrofit to mobile or to Internet it feels like it. Consumers are too wise for that. In mature markets, the mobile consumer is looking for specific content that speaks to them as a mobile consumer. That is specific content. If we are producing a TV property, then we want to be sure is that on any one platform our viewer or consumer is getting a different dedicated experience.


For “Afterworld,” specifically, there is 130 three-minute pieces of content, linear content, that tells the story. That could play across TV, mobile and Internet. We also have 13 broadcast one-half hours for the same franchise for the broadcasters. Then we have recaps, trailers, music videos and those things are geared toward the mobile and Internet consumer.

When you drill down more you have to ask, what can we do for mobile for a non-3G consumer? We’re creating a really cool mobile comic strip. We are creating a rich comic strip experience for the non-3G consumer that wants to experience it but can’t yet.

We also have premium downloads and a casual game in development that will bridge the gap for “Afterworld” between season 1 and season 2.

At the early stage-at script stage—we got involved last year. It was very important for us to have something to offer that was dedicated to each platform.

You can read the rest of the article at FierceMobileContent.

So How Many iPhones Did Apple Sell Last Weekend?

About a month ago we covered some predictions about iPhone sales made by a Credit Suisse Analyst:

Credit Suisse has come to the party with analyst Rob Semple predicting that Apple will sell 5 million iPhones this year and 15 million next year, which is ahead of Apple’s own predictions.

Well, the iPhone has been out since Friday. While it will take some time to see if Mr. Semple's predictions prove accurate, we can check on first weekend sales.

At the San Jose Mercury News, we have this cryptic statement from AT&T: "AT&T said the two partners sold more iPhones in a weekend than AT&T has sold of any gadget ever in an entire month."

Bloomberg quotes a number of analysts at the major brokerages.:

Shoppers may have bought as many as 700,000 units over the weekend, Goldman Sachs Inc. analyst David Bailey said, twice his projection of 350,000. Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster pegged sales at about 500,000, more than twice his original 200,000 estimate.
J.P. Morgan Securities Inc.'s Bill Shope said sales may have reached 312,000 in the days following the device's June 29 debut. American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu, who called his initial 50,000 estimate conservative, said in a note today that Apple may have sold five times as much.

So Apple probably sold at least 250,000 iPhones, and maybe as many as 700,000! If you'd like to browse a few hundred more estimates, check this Google News link.

Nokia Launches Photo Printing Service

mocoNews is reporting that Nokia has launched a photo printing service for owners of its various smartphones in Europe. More info is to be found in the official press release:

Users of compatible Nokia Nseries multimedia computers now only need one device to capture images, edit them and order prints. You can also have your favorite images printed on stickers or gift items like mugs, jigsaw puzzles and T-shirts, and have them delivered to a friend.

The mobile printing service is accessible from the device's Gallery application. Simply select the images to be printed, insert address and other requested information, and press 'Order now'. The order is then processed by CeWe Color and prints are delivered to the entered address.

Payment methods commonly include credit card as well as other possible local payment solutions depending on the country.

While Europe consistently scores these sort of services months (often years) before they appear in the United States, at least we have the iPhone first.

Read the article at mocoNews or the press release at Nokia.

Nielsen Adds Cellphone Tracking as Media Shifts Focus To The Mobile Platform

Today's issue of the New York Times includes a report that Nielsen--known for its television ratings--is jumping into the mobile subscriber analysis arena. They've done so by acquiring Telephia, a private San Francisco firm.

The Times explains that "Telephia has become one of the most respected sources of data about cellphone use — tracking consumers’ phone calling, mobile Web surfing, video viewing and just about everything else."

So why does Nielsen feel the time is right?

Cellphones are quickly becoming a top priority among media executives who think that consumers will soon watch more of their television, read more of their news and interact with magazines using their phones. Cellphone carriers are promoting their video content offerings, often in partnership with media companies, and this week Apple will introduce its long-anticipated iPhone, which will be focused as much on media consumption as it will be on phone calls.

“I’m sure it will have an effect on the consumer market because the designs that Apple introduces and the functionality always seems to be replicated by other consumer technology companies,” said George Kliavkoff, the chief digital officer of NBC Universal.


Read the entire article @ The New York Times' Website (via Textually)

US Consumers Expect To Be Searching On Their Mobile Phones

Online Media Daily is reporting that a recent study done by Ingenio has found that nearly a quarter (22%) of US consumers expect to be Googling on their mobile phones by the end of the decade. That's about triple the adoption rate today.

The most interesting result of the study was buried a few paragraphs into the article:

Ingenio found that only 30% of users surveyed had seen or heard an advertisement on their mobile phone, but some 10% took action based on the ad, whether it was visiting the relevant Web site from their phone or another Internet connection, or calling for more information. And 13% surveyed said if they saw an ad, they would want to call or visit the Web site "directly from their mobile phone."

Read the entire Online Media Daily article here.

Double-Digit Growth Forecast For Mobile Spending

Last Friday mocoNews covered a newly released report from PricewaterhouseCoopers on the global outlook for entertainment and media spending. The results look good for mobile content providers:

Double-digit growth is expected for digital and mobile spending in each territory covered in the report, with total spending rising to $153 billion by 2011.

Within the next five years, nearly half of the total industry growth is expected to be generated through online and wireless technologies. Fortunately, the audience for entertainment and media will also grow. Broadband households will almost double from 300 million to 540 million subscribers by 2011 and mobile users will reach a whopping 3.4 billion.

You can read the rest of mocoNews' summary here, or head over to the PWC website to read the actual report.

Global SMS Payment Platform Launched

160 Characters is reporting on the launch of a new SMS-based mobile payment system:

Anam Mobile and TR2 Communications have launched a service that will allow operators to offer global money transfers via SMS.

Using an application called #CASH - developed and owned by TR2 Communications, it can be used globally for international funds transfer and local P2P payments.

So how does it work?

To send money a user writes an SMS that begins "#cash" followed by the amount to send, then selects the person they want to send it to from their address book. Anam’s Smart Services platform then diverts the message to the #Cash Application Server for processing.

The person sending the money is then sent a text message with information to call an IVR which reads out the transaction who then confirms the transaction is correct by entering their PIN.

The money is transferred once pin-checked and once complete a text message confirmation is received. The recipient of the transfer receives a text message to tell them they have been transferred money.

We're still early along in the mobile payments game, but expect to hear more and more announcements like this one in the future.

See 160 Characters Association for more.

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Obama Launches Text Messaging Campaign Effort

RCR Wireless News is reporting that Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama has unveiled a text messaging initiative

Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama’s campaign said it launched a new text messaging initiative to expand its grassroots network and organize volunteers for events.

The campaign of the Illinois senator directs supporters to send “GO” to OBAMA (62262) to sign up for messages. The Obama campaign said it will not charge for the wireless service.

For Obama, who already has a significant online presence--the infamous YouTube video (unofficial of course), a popular Facebook group,  and extensive social networking tools--the decision to add text messaging to his campaign arsenal was a no-brainer:

“With millions of Americans relying on cellphones, this new service will enable the campaign to not only communicate news about events and campaign developments, but it will also allow users to request information from the campaign,” stated an Obama campaign press release. “The campaign will use text to inform supporters about important public appearance and ask for opinions and advice.”

Obama is not the first candidate to embrace text messaging--see our previous coverage of Hillary Clinton's text messaging efforts.

(via Textually)

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Mobile Gaming Revenue to Grow 50% in 2007

Gartner has a new research report ($) out on the state of Mobile Gaming. As MediaPost's Online Media Daily reports, the picture is rosy:

WORLDWIDE MOBILE GAMING END-USER REVENUE will grow from $2.9 billion in 2006 to $9.6 billion in 2011, according to a new report from Gartner, Inc. Worldwide mobile gaming revenue in 2007, meanwhile, is on pace to total $4.3 billion in 2007, a 49.9 percent increase from 2006.

Of course most of these revenues are to be made outside the United States; nonetheless the U.S. market is big and it's growing:

In North America, where adoption of wireless technologies has been slower than in Asia and in Europe Gartner forecast that mobile gaming end user revenue will reach $716.9 million this year and $1.7 billion in 2011.

Check Online Media Daily for more.

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YouTube Is Now Available On Your Cell Phone!

Last week we reported on YouTube co-founder Steven Chen's comments that YouTube would soon be available on the mobile web:

Taiwan-born Steve Chen, co-founder of wildly popular video sharing Web site YouTube, said Saturday consumers in many parts of the world will be able to access the site on mobile phones by next year.

Well, Forbes is reporting that when Chen said "by next year," he meant by next week:

As of this weekend, cellphone users with Web browsers could check out and play a limited library of YouTube videos via a new mobile Web portal,

Read the entire article at Forbes (via FierceMobileContent)

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Broadway Theaters Launch Text Messaging Promotions

SMS continues to proliferate in the most unlikely places. Case in point: the New York Times is reporting that Broadway Theaters have begun implementing text messaging promotions:

Typically you are told to turn off your cellphone before a performance. But at a recent Saturday matinee of “Spring Awakening,” the Broadway musical that garnered eight Tony Awards last week, the audience was told to do just the opposite.

“Win Your Chance to Come Backstage!” said a flier inserted into the Playbill, which encouraged theatergoers to send the text message “bdway spring” to a five-digit number before the end of intermission.

And the customer reaction?

After the show, Becky Mitchell, 18, received a text message that she had won, and she bounded onto the stage with Alyssa Navia, 19, a friend from Boston College, where both are freshmen. “This is my first Broadway show,” said Ms. Mitchell, who wore a rugby shirt and Ugg boots. “This is fantastic.”

Of course, the production company has a lot to gain by offering this type of promotion:

At the performance, 62 people sent text messages, which included their telephone numbers and e-mail addresses, in hopes of winning the contest. All of their information went into a database that will be used to pitch Broadway tickets and other promotions.

In exchange, contestants were sent a ring tone of a popular song in “Spring Awakening” and a photograph from the show to use as wallpaper on their phones. Both of the souvenirs are potential conversation starters with friends, whom the producers think of as would-be ticket buyers.

While not yet on par with response rates for similar promotions at concerts, early results are promising:

About 8.5 percent of audience members have been sending text messages in the 14 contests that the production has done so far, but organizers expect participation to reach 10 percent.

For a similar promotion with a tour of the rock-oriented theatrical production Blue Man Group, an average of 16 percent of audience members sent text messages, Mr. Bazadona said.

In a tour that covered 60 cities in 90 days, about 50,000 people sent text messages. “This means that each night, 16 percent of the house is leaving the theater with Blue Man Group somehow represented on their mobile phone,” Mr. Bazadona said.

Read the entire article @ (via mocoNews)

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Boston Police Let You Text In Anonymous Tips

File this one under incredibly useful, or incredibly creepy. Textually is reporting that the Boston Police Department has set up an anonymous text in tip line. The press release has some more info:

In a press conference held today, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis unveiled the major initiative to revitalize the city’s anonymous crime tip hotline. The tip hotline program, called Crime Stoppers, is being enhanced by enabling citizens to text message an anonymous tip to police. In addition, the program will be promoted to Bostonians though a targeted pro bono advertising campaign. Boston is the first city in the nation to give it citizens the ability to submit an anonymous tip from their mobile phone via text messaging.

Textually notes that this is not the first such program worldwide:

-- China's New Participatory Citizen Surveillance 

-- UK Police texting scheme nets first criminal 

-- Shanghai police to open SMS hot line 

-- India SMS service to keep rickshaw drivers in check

-- The Netherlands Dutch police start SMS-alert service

Read the press release or head over to Textually.

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YouTube Is Coming To Your Mobile Phone

The Associated Press has is reporting on some exciting comments made by YouTube co-founder Steve Chen:

Taiwan-born Steve Chen, co-founder of wildly popular video sharing Web site YouTube, said Saturday consumers in many parts of the world will be able to access the site on mobile phones by next year.

Chen made the remarks as he spoke to hundreds of enthusiastic Web users at a forum on Internet developments in Taipei.

Commuters on subways or buses are likely to access videos of between 30 to 60 seconds each, while people traveling on longer train journeys would probably go for files of up to 10 minutes in length, he said.

mocoNews notes the significance of this development:

The company’s stated intention to allow greater mobile access to its content signals a shift in its strategy. Indeed, until now YouTube has barred redistribution of its content (even going to far as to lock out an encoding company that enabled access) and let mobile operators partners play the role of gatekeeper.

(via mocoNews)

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USA Today Bets On Text Message Marketing

adWeek Magazine is reporting that the nation's largest newspaper, USA Today, is making a big bet on SMS marketing (they're aiming the service at adults, not text-happy teens).

The average USA Today reader is 44 years old. But the paper is hoping its audience will soon be text messaging like teenagers—early and often. To help drive that behavior and open up a new revenue stream, the paper will announce this week the launch of an integrated platform combining print and interactive ads in text messages.
Print ads in the paper's Money and Sports sections, as well as on its weather page, will give readers a number they can text with requests for up-to-date information on a company or sports team, or to get a five-day local weather forecast. The reply would contain an interactive ad.

They've already signed up some major blue-chip companies: Citibank, Chevrolet, and Microsoft. This effort could wind up marking a significant turning point in the mobile marketing arena, as most successful campaigns have targeted teens so far.

(via Textually)

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Mobile Music Reporters: LG & Billboard Team Up

MediaPost's Online Media Daily is reporting that LG and Billboard have teamed up to offer thirty lucky wannabe rock critics the chance to cover summer concerts on, using LG enV camera phones.


With "Mobile Beat," up to 30 contestants will spend this summer competing as mobile music journalists--going to music concerts, snapping pictures with an LG enV camera phone, and then posting photos and reviews to a personalized blog on The contest will culminate in mid-September, with the winner receiving an all-expense-paid trip to the Billboard Music Awards, complete with red-carpet access.

How this came about is even more interesting:

"The editors actually brainstormed about doing a concert series with a blog around it, but we didn't have a specific writer in mind," said Stacey Gross, marketing director, Billboard. "We thought creating a contest would be a great way to connect with our readers and get them excited about the brand as a whole."

Read the entire article at Online Media Daily.

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iPhone Mania: How Many iPhone's Will Apple Sell?

D-Day. VJ Day. June 29th - iPhone Day.

mocoNews is reporting on some astounding sales estimates for the iPhone coming out of Credit Suisse:

Credit Suisse has come to the party with analyst Rob Semple predicting that Apple will sell 5 million iPhones this year and 15 million next year, which is ahead of Apple’s own predictions.

Now this number, 20 million iPhones in 18 months is even ahead of Apples own sales predictions--so why is Mr. Semple so confident?

“We expect Apple to capitalize on the evolving trend of middle market consumers paying significant premiums for 'New Luxury' goods, thus yielding a new supply-demand dynamic where higher prices are coupled with higher volumes,” he says.

Interesting take on things, as most predictions are made around the slick graphics, the multi-touch interface, and the rest of the technological innovations.

For coverage around the web, check out the Google News coverage of the iPhone.

Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) Updates Ad Guidelines

OnlineMediaDaily reports on some news coming out of the Mobile Marketing Forum in New York City:

N ADVANCE OF TODAY'S START of the Mobile Marketing Forum in New York, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) has released an update to its Mobile Advertising Guidelines.

Much like the Interactive Advertising Bureau's universally recognized ad formats, the Mobile Advertising Guidelines provide advertisers with technical specifications and standard WAP ad units (such as banners). Marketers also get detailed explanations of various click-through capabilities, including email opt-in and click-to-call, as well as specific best practices with regard to ad content.

This fourth version of the guidelines includes provisions for mobile Web and downloadable content (such as ring tones and ad-based games), as well as an overview of multimedia messaging services.

Continue reading at OnlineMediaDaily.

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Premium SMS Revenues Soaring In The US

MobileTechNews has the details on a Telephia Premium SMS report, and the news is great:

Premium SMS revenues totaled more than $273 million, making up 32 percent of mobile content revenue in Q1 2007, according to Telephia, the world's largest provider of syndicated consumer research to the telecom and mobile media markets.
Download purchases paid for via premium SMS (at off-portal storefronts) totaled nearly $215 million, accounting for 79 percent of premium SMS revenue. These off-portal storefront purchases include content such as ringtones and horoscopes. Voting/sweepstakes entries generated more than $35 million. While voting/sweepstakes entries generated only 13 percent of total revenues for premium SMS transactions, they represented 47 percent of premium SMS volume, equaling more than 34 million transactions.

Can anyone say American Idol?

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