MTV Chairman Talks About The Mobile Market
I know, I know, you’re still getting your blog together.
But the future is already here.
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How do you generate revenue?
There are three business models: on-demand, subscription, and advertising. Advertising is still pretty new, and I think that may be the big one eventually. We’re getting prices for downloads of anywhere from $3.50 to $7 in the U.K. Subscription we do primarily in Asia — Japan and Korea.
What are people downloading?
There are a bunch of different things. The thing we’re most excited about is mobile TV, which is typically live or a loop that’s been created specifically for the phone. You can download things, and we’ve had success with everything from [the cartoon character] SpongeBob to some of our music programming.
It’s all very early days, but we researched usage from September to this past month — 400 participants in the U.K. — and people watched an average of 23 minutes per session, two sessions per day. We thought it would be shorter sessions. Viewers watch an average of three hours per week — that’s pretty good.
Demand was very high in the morning and the evening, which makes sense because those are the commuter hours. Eighty-three percent said they were satisfied with the service. That’s extremely high. It’s early days, [so] you can’t draw too many conclusions, but still… there is room for optimism there.
What kind of content is doing best?
Music, animation, but it’s funny because it’s pretty broad now. Comedy works quite well. Really all our Nickelodeon programs, not only SpongeBob. Parents are tuning in for their kids when they have to wait somewhere, or they’re in the doctor’s lounge or whatever.
The key is snack-size content. We have some interesting integration, too. For example in Lisbon we did our Europe music award show. While you were watching the show live you could tune to the phone and you could [see what was going on] backstage.
What have you learned so far about mobile content?
People don’t switch on for company while they’re doing dishes or laundry. It’s not passive, you’re actively engaged. You have to concentrate on it. It’s on the move, it’s anytime anywhere, it’s interactive. It’s not free, which is important because that means it has to be compelling.
The screen size and resolution means there is a whole different way of creating this content, a whole way of directing it, producing it. That’s why I feel that eventually most of the content will be originally produced for the phone.