media is shifting to digital," said Ralph Simon, chairman emeritus and founder, Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), Americas, in his keynote address on Day 3 of Ficci Frames 2008. Simon said it is the content and services provided by mobile entertainment companies that will drive mobile entertainment. This shift is seen because the consumer has made his choice. He has expressed the need to have multiple touch points. He would like to be connected to his world and to the world outside his world at all times and whenever he likes. In order to met this need of the consumer and not lose out on him, traditional media players will have to reach consumers on multiple and newer platforms. Digital media is the newer media of the moment.
"The strengths of the traditional media can be supplemented with the new digital media of the mobile," said Simon, continuing with his address. He warned that traditional media that stuck to the old ways of thinking would die off soon.
Simon listed favourable ways of garnering the mobile medium into traditional media: monetising mobile inventory via ads, monetising mobile premium content via subscriptions, and differentiating with measurable actions such as calls, purchase or requests.
There is a whole new subset of people who live by the mobile phone and all of their daily activities surround the mobile. The study of this individual is called mociology, said Simon. The consumer entertains himself with the mobile in various ways such as podcasts, video streaming, social broadcasting and photo galleries. Music artists have cashed in on this in a big way, and it is time filmmakers, content owners and the entertainment industry followed suit.
Ferhan Cook talked about the necessity of creating content specifically for the mobile and not transferring content from another medium onto mobiles.
Sudhanshu Sarronwala spoke of the music aspect of mobile entertainment. "Mobile music dominates the digital music space across Asia," he said. More than 95 per cent of all music sold digitally is sold on mobile devices. Mobile music would outdo the rest of digital music by a ratio of 10:1 any day, he said.
Mobile music has come a long way, from monophonic ringtones to polyphonic ringtones and then the streaming video format. Caller ringback tones are the latest rage across the globe. Sarronwala said search would be the next to take over the mobile entertainment section - not in the web based format, but in a new format that is viable on the mobile.
Troy Lobo was sure that advertising was the way to go with mobile entertainment to rake in revenue. Turner recently switched its subscription based model to an advertising based one.
Tim Green presented a view of how mobile entertainment can provide services such as instant messaging, chat, photo and video uploading at a fixed monthly/weekly price because content and services are what will take mobile entertainment to the next level.
Mazen Chmaytelli offered a typical technology provider's thought about mobile entertainment. "Instead of viewing mobisodes on the mobile screen, consumers want to view content in the long form," he said. There has been a paradigm shift in the time at which the consumer wants to view his prime time content. The traditional prime time has moved to commute time and down time. Reality TV and sports are the most consumed genres of content on mobile TV. This time shift could be termed mociotime, a term he coined in sync with Simon's mociology.
All the panellists agreed that the technology for mobile entertainment was still in its infancy and the sky was the limit for the medium.