Archives: September 2008

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What Song Is That? Shazam Will Tell You

Shazam.jpgShazam, a mobile music discovery company, announced a partnership with Samsung today that embeds the Shazam service into the new Samsung Beat b (M3510) and Beat s (M3200) handsets. This service isn’t quite what you might expect, though.

Here’s how it works: according to a joint statement between the two companies, the Shazam application on Samsung’s new phones lets fans discover music by holding their handsets to the tune—in other words, music that’s already playing nearby—for just a few seconds and then go on to buy identified tracks through a carrier’s dedicated over-the-air music store. Shazam currently claims a database of more than six million tracks, along with 20 million users spanning 60 countries. Pretty cool, if it works.

Mofilm and GSMA Announce Mobile Film Festival

Robert_Redford_GSMA.jpgThe GSMA, a global trade group for the wireless industry, and Mofilm, a creator of short films for mobile and on-line distribution, announced the first Global Mobile Film Festival at the Mobile World Congress in 2009, with an official ‘call for films’ to international film-makers today.

Following in the footsteps of the 2007 Mobile World Congress, which brought a Sundance Film Festival collaboration for short independent films, the new Mofilm partnership will showcase the work of short film directors representing the Cannes, Locarno, Shanghai and Sundance Festivals supported by the actor, director and film maker Robert Redford and the actress, writer and director Isabella Rossellini.

For anyone interested in joining the competition, the GSMA and Mofilm are looking for films up to five minutes in length, made both using traditional film making techniques by established and upcoming film directors, as well as films made using mobile devices themselves. Submission forms and films can be uploaded on-line at the Mofilm website www.mofilm.com from today until the deadline of November 28th 2008.

Facebook iPhone App Gets Version2

The Facebook iPhone app could just well be one of the most popular social networking applications for the iPhone. It’s certainly a great application which brings some of the functionalities of the web-based Facebook into this generation’s most popular mobile handset. Now for some bit of a good news, the Facebook app has just received an updrate and so we now have the Facebook iPhone app v2. Read more

Ericsson Launches Mobile Ocean Race Coverage

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Sailing fans around the world can now follow the most dramatic moments of the 2008-2009 Volvo Ocean Race live and direct using their cell phones, according to The News Market. Each boat has a total of seven cameras monitoring it as part of a live digital feed.

Meanwhile, wireless vendor Ericsson “has enabled a seamless convergent multimedia solution, available for all viewers who want to follow the action either via their mobile phone, the web, or via IPTV in Ericsson’s customer pavilion at each port stop in the race.” The 2008-2009 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race will feature the best multimedia coverage of any offshore sailing event to date, the report said.

NTT Docomo and Avex Launch Mobile Content Venture

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NTT Docomo, the Japanese wireless carrier, and Avex Entertainment, Japan’s largest movie and music entertainment company, are investing $66 million in a new joint venture to produce and distribute on-demand mobile video content, MocoNews reports.

The two companies were quick to point out that they don’t plan to retool or redistribute existing content for mobile devices. The report said that instead, the joint venture will produce exclusive mobile content, with “special consideration” given to scripting, editing, and photography and how to tailor it for the mobile environment.”

In a company statement, the joint venture said that after its February debut, they expect to form content-creation partnerships with five video-content production companies, including Fuji Television Network (a nationwide TV network), and Oz Company, whose producer Takashige “Taka” Ichise created hit horror movies such as “Ringu” (the original Japanese version of “The Ring”) and the Hollywood blockbuster “The Grudge.”

The Collapse of the Conference Bubble

Over the past two years I have spent countless hours traveling to conferences around the world to meet some of the most influential people on the internet today. As I traveled from one conference to the next I have found that there appeared to be an excessive number of events covering social media, social technology, and Web 2.0. I’ve participated in some of those conference and many of them were amazing productions but there has definitely been froth in the market.

Warning Signs Beginning to Emerge

The first warning sign that I saw was the shut down of DigitalLife Expo by Ziff Davis media. While I honestly can’t say that I heard about the event previously, it was a sign that perhaps bad things were to come. Yesterday while walking around a local conference I heard that the Social Media Marketing Summit being held by mthink was having trouble selling tickets.

These are only a few of the events that are in the process of disappearing. How many times can people possibly listen to the same speakers talk about the same topic? Ultimately this is a question that can’t be answered but it’s my inclination that there are most definitely some events being put on by individuals that don’t even have expertise within the industries they are promoting.

The Integration of Media & Events

It’s not over though. The real value is generated by the integration of online media and offline events. The business model for modern media companies is through event promotion. Just like the music industry is generating a large portion (if not the majority) of their cash flow through concerts, new media companies are succeeding by promoting conferences.

Last night I saw a post on the Facebook blog about the Future of Web Apps in London and realized just how nice it can be to be in the circle of influencers. For those events that don’t have event directors with the industry leaders on speed dial, it can be much more challenging to build a successful event. That’s why those companies need to rely on building media companies.

Unfortunately I see it time and time again that some random individual pulls in a few good speakers which snowballs into a decent lineup for an event and suddenly is able to sell-out to a packed crowd. I was fortunate enough to fill-up the Social Ad Summit a few weeks ago with great speakers and great attendees but I believe it was my reliance on creating content which drove the success of that event.

Content is still King and the same holds for the content within conferences. If you have the ability to consistently produce quality content, you are good to go. Unfortunately you can’t always hit the ball out of the park with conferences and that’s why generating other media to back up those events is so important.

This Economy Will Eliminate the Froth

Honestly, if there is one good thing to come of this downturn in the economy, it’s that the froth will be eliminated. You can’t run successful businesses without delivering high-quality service to your customers the majority of the time. Those that were able to pull revenue thanks to an environment with more excessive spending are going to face tough times ahead. You need to either be a thought leader, have a large reach (through your media), or have the best roledex (or any combination of these) to succeed in this environment.

There has been tons of events covering the exact same topics in the same geographic regions which has made for an extremely challenging environment. Do you agree that there has been somewhat of a conference bubble in this space?

Despite the collapse of Wall Street and what I previously considered a tech conference bubble, one person that continues to build value is Loic LeMeur. Yesterday he was announced as one of the most influential people on the web.

Clearspring Acquires AddThis

Despite an economic downturn Clearspring is one company that continues to proceed full steam ahead. Today Clearspring announced that they had acquired AddThis, a bookmarking widget which has built a massive reach since their launch in September 2006. The combined reach of these two companies is now more than 200 million unique visitors with over 20 billion monthly views. What does this mean for Clearspring in the short-term?

Probably nothing substantial aside from expanding their reach as the leading widget distribution platform. In the long-run there are some definite implications. The most obvious implication is the ability for Clearspring to increase the companies ability to distribute multiple forms of content which was previously not “widgetized”.

The second most significant implication is the ability of the company to build new products on the back of AddThis. With more than 20 billion impressions per month, there is substantial data that AddThis has available to them which is currently not being leveraged. Want to know what the most popular content on the web is? Check out all those sites with the AddThis widget and learn what is being shared most.

Not only does AddThis let users share but it also enables users to bookmark making it a competitor to Yahoo’s popular bookmarking service: delicious. This one small button will most definitely have a big impact on the company in the long-term as sharing among content distribution platforms continues to surge across the web.

Clearspring previously had approximately 120 million monthly unique visitors which means this has increased the company’s monthly reach by approximately 67 percent. As I mentioned earlier, this widget enables Clearspring to now distribute both widgetized content and non-widgetized content throughout the web. Ted Leonsis said that this will help connect “digital content publishers and consumers via a single set of universally recognizable tools”.

It will be interesting to see what sort of long-term impact this acquisition has for Clearpsring.

DisFriends is a Social Network for Disney Fans

Disney fans from all over the world, ages 18+, will be glad to know that Disney has created its own niche social network which runs on three things – Meet, Mingle and Magic combined. A virtual place where people who have been captivated by Disney’s magic, DisFriends embodies the real Disney morale and dictum. Read more

NBC Posts Big Mobile Numbers for Beijing Olympics

NBC_Olympics_Mobile.jpgNBC Universal just released some mobile figures for its wide-ranging mobile Beijing 2008 Olympics initiative, according to MocoNews, perhaps in an attempt by NBC to draw attention away from its mixed results as a whole:

- Omniture reports that the network’s WAP site generated 36 million page views and 6.5 million unique visitors.

- More than 826,000 Olympics-related videos were streamed on mobile during the games, according to carrier and NBC compiled data.

- SinglePoint said that over 300,000 users subscribed to NBC’s SMS text messaging campaign for the Olympics.