Archives: February 2007

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Stunning Revelation: Mobile Ads Should Be Short

Here’s a shocker. According to a report from IDC, if you’re going to do a “preroll” video ad that plays before the content a cell phone viewer selects, make sure it’s not too long. Otherwise you risk losing the viewer before the actual content even gets started.

The reason? Cell phone viewers aren’t generally a captive audience, the way they might be if they’re tuning into the latest episode of, say, Lost on regular television. The IDC report found that the limit is somewhere between 8 and 10 seconds.

IDC Says Don’t Underestimate Full Potential of Mobile Marketing (IDC via MocoNews)

Cingular to Offer XM Satellite Radio

XMradio.jpgCingular is jumping into satellite radio with a new $8.99/month package that gives you 25 commercial-free XM channels to listen to on your cell phone. This roughly matches a deal that Sprint has been offering for quite some time: 20 channels of SIRIUS radio for $6.95/month.

Unlike video, which takes a decent amount of technological horsepower, streamed radio is something many current phones can tune into. Of course, it always pays to check your carrier to see if your phone and plan are compatible.

The Sound of Phone Music [Forbes]

Forbes Gives the Lowdown on Mobile TV

Forbes today gives an overview of the two technologies currently used in mobile television, and which TV networks and vendors are playing with each one.

We’re about to begin a transition here in the U.S., where “broadcast” video starts to take hold, and “streamed” video begins to recede into the background.

Despite all the terminology and acronyms, the difference is actually very simple. If 10,000 customers tune in to a streamed broadcast, the carrier has to deliver 10,000 separate Internet streams, one for each customer. This could easily overload the carriers’ networks. But if they employ true broadcast television, the channel is only beamed once. Then everyone uses handsets with built-in tuners to pick up the signal (similar to regular television).

Which one looks better? Broadcast, by a long shot. Unfortunately, we will all need new phones.

The article has a lot of good information, even as it acknowledges near the end that the market for mobile TV in the U.S. is still “mostly theoretical.”

Mobile TV’s Picture Improves [Forbes]

Verizon Ready to Launch Live Mobile TV

Looks like Verizon Wireless is finally ready to try out some live television channels. According to a report from RCRWireless, Verizon is gearing up to launch “Vcast Mobile TV” in the next few days. Verizon will use Qualcomm’s MediaFLO technology to deliver true broadcast television.

According to the report, the carrier plans to offer shows from CBS, Comedy Central, Fox, MTV, NBC News, NBC Entertainment and Nickelodeon. Verizon had already announced two new handsets last month that will feature built-in TV tuners, but there’s no word yet on their actual availability.

Verizon Gearing Up for Mobile TV Launch in March (RCRWireless via MocoNews)

AOL May Join the Mobile Ad Game

According to unnamed sources (first in a Wall Street Journal article and later relayed by Reuters), AOL is in talks to purchase Third Screen Media, an advertising startup that targets cell phones, portable game players, and Web browsers. The deal reportedly will be “in the range of $80 million,” and could be a success for AOL where MSN failed last year in trying to buy the same company.

AOL in talks to buy Third Screen Media – WSJ (via Reuters)

Milk Industry Launches “Branded Emoticon”

beyonce_milk.jpgOK, this one is a stretch. Sal Taibi, the president of Lowe, New York, agency for the Milk Processor Education Program, or MilkPEP, has announced the first “branded emoticon.”

Yep, you guessed it. It’s a smiley face with a milk mustache: :-{) It’s meant to be used whenever people are talking about the milk advertising campaign in text messages and online.

Someone along the line, as one expert in AdAge points out, forgot that emoticons have to actually mean something as a verb. Otherwise no one will use them. Then, again, by getting AdAge and us to write about it, the may have fulfilled its purpose.

Now Even Cellphones Have Milk Mustaches (via AdAge)

Finally, Some Real Numbers on Mobile Surfing

People are surfing the Web on handheld devices.

According to a study released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project on Sunday, one in four Internet users said they owned a cell phone that could access the Internet. Of those, more than half (54%) said they’ve used the phone to get online. About 13% of people also said they had a PDA that could reach the Internet, and again more than half (56%) have done so.

The study focused on wireless in general, finding that 34% of people in the U.S. have used wireless networks of some kind (laptop or cell phone), a jump of almost 12 points since February 2004. Significantly, most of them have done it away from a permanent WiFi network in the home or office.

Survey: Wireless surfing on the rise (AP via CNN)

Short Form Independent Films to Appear on Phones

Call it the third screen, the fourth screen, or the really small screen. But until now there hasn’t been much in the way of compelling, unique content for mobile devices.

As we’ve been reporting here, lots of companies are working on this very problem. A BusinessWeek report highlights a new trend towards short-form indie films, shot specifically for cell phones by enterprising directors.

Indie Films Come to Handsets (BusinessWeek)