The New 'Toilet Book': Your Mobile Phone

May 9, 2006
Recently I received a public relations pitch under the intriguing subject line, "Pardon me, but do you read while you're umm … uhh … hmm … on the john?"
It was too intriguing; I bit. I'm an admirer of PR hacks who know how to inject some originality into their pitches. I opened the email. The first paragraph provided some research data following up the question about reading in the rest room:
"If you do, you’re most definitely not alone. Although toilet reading statistics are hard to come by, a 2005 survey by Cancer Research UK found that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 4 women readily admit to reading whilst on the loo."
I did wonder for a moment why a cancer charity needed to investigate this question, but the PR rep for QuickPlay Media was trying to lead me in a different direction: "How does one slip into the rest room without drawing attention to the latest news they plan to pursue on the can?" A perplexing question.
The answer? Mobile content! And why not? Your cell phone is always with you -- no need to discreetly tuck a book or newspaper under your arm -- nobody will comment or even notice if your mobile phone is with you -- it's the normal way of 'doing business.'
QuickPlay Media, no surprise, is in the mobile content business, and this unique PR pitch does highlight one value of mobile content packages: the ability to deliver small chunks of content that consumers can enjoy during brief dead-times, such as standing in line, waiting for a meeting or appointment to begin, or letting nature take its course.
QuickPlay calls this "content snacking" (a metaphor not exactly appetizing next to the bathroom scenario, but I can live with it), a habit that "is changing the way we look at mobile devices and the way we access media and entertainment."
I was interested in understanding this "content snacking" trend better, so I asked QuickPlay Media's marketing director, Mark Farmer, to respond to some questions about mobile content. His comments are below.
Please explain what you mean by "content snacking."

Mobile video provides informative and/or entertaining clips. These short video clips can be used as a way to pass time when waiting in line or can be used to acquire accurate, timely information when it is most critical. Content snacking is the behavior that mobile is creating. It refers to a short period of time that is desired by the user to obtain the desired information. This is not a replacement for a TV, but rather an opportunity for rich entertaining and informative content while away from a TV or PC.

How can mobile content meet the needs of consumers in unique ways?

Mobile allows people to get timely updates wherever they are … whether it is the stock market or the hockey game, instant access to scores and figures allows the user to move freely around the country without worrying about lugging their laptop or waiting for the game to finish to leave the house.

We are beginning to see some trends towards mobile exclusive content being designed with alternative endings for programs or exclusive behind-the-scenes footage. Mobile entertainment and information also provides an engaging means to be entertained and interact when it isn’t convenient to do so by another device. It’s small, reliable and the network's ability to deliver outstanding coverage and service continues to increase. Each day, new content is added to the video environment offering a wide range of items that are of interest to a variety of ages and demographics.

Lastly, companies such as QuickPlay Media are developing products to enhance the user experience: allowing the user to spend less time looking for content and more time enjoying it.

How is mobile content different from other forms of media?

Mobile content is comprised of short, quick, informative and engaging segments. People who look for information on their mobile phone want it quick. They want to be able to find it, get the information they are seeking and move on. Even when they are looking for entertainment, no one wants to spend more time looking for it then they would enjoying it. The mobile screen is also much smaller than the television screens that seem to continue to grow. Mobile content needs to be developed specifically for mobile with clear images and good quality sound, so that users continue to come back and enjoy new segments and features.

Where do you think the mobile content industry is heading? What do you predict for the future?

The mobile industry has exploded in the last decade. The mobile phone, once an emergency-only device, has now become an object that many individuals are never more than 10 feet away from 24 hours a day. We also see individuals become increasingly reliant on the mobile phone to the point where many people no longer have a traditional home phone line and have elected to have just a mobile phone with a great plan.

Dramatic improvements have been made in the mobile industry. The capabilities, features and size of the handsets have continuously improved, as have the speed and design of the networks. We have also seen developments where the mobile industry has helped to fill some consumer needs such as GPS tracking systems on phones for both the emergencies and locating your tardy teen.

The future will only get brighter for mobile. Predictions for the future include a real movement toward convergence -- having one small, reliable, convenient device that can provide the full spectrum of information and entertainment options. Other areas that will develop include  mobile payment options in-store, and using mobile as a means to distribute information such as news alerts and couponing. We will definitely see a growth in functions that are attractive to women, which may include a means to have a grocery list easily on hand, recipe delivery on mobile screens, alerts for sales at favorite retail outlets, mobile content designed for the busy mom on the go, and tools to keep track of the family.

How will advertising fit into the emerging mobile content industry?

Advertising and sponsorship will eventually become more involved with the mobile content industry. Today mobile consumers are used to paying for much of their content and time online. A very different model from the Internet! Given the snack sized consumption of content typical on mobile, advertising will need to be less intrusive so that the level of promotion to actual content the consumer is interested in will stay reasonable. We will see marketing develop new and interesting ways of incorporating their brand into mobile content which may take the form of customized content, product integration, brand sponsorships or advertising augmenting the cost of the video subscription or segment to offer content at a reduced price to consumers.

Tell me about your company.

Since 2004, QuickPlay Media has been a leader in compelling, interactive mobile video experiences.  The company is dedicated to delivering superior user experiences that extend content into the exploding mobile market. Its partnerships and technology platform enable a simplified connection between media, mobile service providers, content providers and consumers across a variety of digital media, networks and devices. The QuickPlay Media technology platform is supported by a team that combines deep expertise in both the media and mobile telecommunications industry.
QuickPlay Media was the first to launch Mobile Video Service to the Canadian market with service to leading carriers Alliant Mobility, Bell Mobility, Rogers Wireless, SaskTel and Telus Mobility.
In the United States, QuickPlay Media has launched the ESPN Mascot application; the application provides multi-tabbed navigation to access news, scores, standings, stats, rankings and more, while the fan's favorite team logo is on display.  Some unique features include items such as the news tab, which is able to display the latest happenings in the US college sports world, and when available images are provided within the story.  
Also, QuickPlay Media has recently launched Pocket VH1. Pocket VH1 is VH1 on the go. It leverages many interactive elements into one application that immerses the audience in the VH1 experience. Users are updated with daily pop culture features, flipbook image galleries and up-to-the minute news items that are presented within large scrollable thumbnails. By utilizing tagged content, Pocket VH1 offers the ultimate interactive experience enabling display of photos and video in one seamless step. All of the content is stored in QuickPlay’s Interactive Mobile Platform.
What value does QuickPlay Media offer for the content provider?

QuickPlay Media assists the content providers in expanding their consumption network by providing a new channel of distribution. We eliminate the technical complexity in bringing their brands and content properties to mobile. Complexities like content management and delivery to various devices with even more different formats for content are handled by our platform technology, as are critical items like integration to carrier billing and content delivery systems. Having already done this for 10 of the largest carriers in North America, we understand what it takes to launch these services into complex technical environments with the reliability demanded by the carrier.

How about for the service provider?

For the service provider, QuickPlay Media has developed another reason for individuals to use their phones. Video and interactive data driven services provides another revenue source for service providers and delivers on the convergence model many of these carriers are striving toward. The more 'all-in-one' services a device can provide, the more it will be relied upon and used. Video is another means to engage a new audience and maintain an existing customer by continuing to offer new and exciting service options.

AB -- 5/9/06

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Related Tags: , , , , ,

Listed below are links to sites that reference The New 'Toilet Book': Your Mobile Phone:

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for The New 'Toilet Book': Your Mobile Phone:

Comments to The New 'Toilet Book': Your Mobile Phone