US Market Mobile Content Will More Than Triple by 2010

If you run a business with an internet strategy, hopefully you’ve started thinking about a mobile strategy as well. You need to skate where the puck is going and not where it has been.

IDC estimates that 24 million US mobile phone users will pay for some kind of TV/Video content or services by 2010, up from 7 million this year. That is a sizeable market share. And it will only get bigger.

Provo Labs has two investments in the mobile space: one is Commerce Fly (pre-beta), a mobile SMS alert system for consumer product pricing alerts. If you are interested in stocking up on sugar from your local grocer when it hits a 52-week low price, Commerce Fly will enable that. We are looking at applications in potentially dozens of vertical markets. Grow Utah Ventures is our partner on this startup. I am especially looking at using mobile alerts in the real estate space, to give home buyers and real estate agents an edge.

The other is a recent investment we made in an ebook publishing company, with thousands of ebook titles (including a popular Bible Study suite) that can be downloaded from various mobile content websites, such as Handango.

We also have 10Speed Media with its innovative online video distribution strategy where corporate video content and advertising can be downloaded to video iPods and other mobile devices.

Now the strategy will be to use CommerceFly and Packard Technologies to enable other Provo Labs portfolio companies to implement mobile content and mobile alert strategies, when it makes sense for each of them.

The question for you is, what is your mobile content and mobile software strategy?

One of the biggest challenges with mobile is that the carriers control so much of what happens on phones. I have a Google Alert for “off deck” and one for “off portal” because those are the keywords that describe how content and software companies are able to go around the mobile carriers and find ways to sell directly to mobile customers. At CES in January there were lots of discussions in the mobile phone panels about off deck revenue growth both in the U.S. and Europe.

Let me know what your thoughts are about how to develop a mobile strategy, and who the best partners are for web companies trying to extend their reach.

3 Comments

  1. My understanding is that text messaging is much more popular than mobile internet apps, though I’ve been using a mobile app to keep track of my gas mileage for over 3 years. It requires having a WAP-enabled phone, but I like it a lot.

    Mozes has a very interesting idea — they provide a “text messaging API”. You reserve the keyword(s) you want, then when someone text messages your keyword to MOZES (66937), it executes your script.

    Mozes is targeting teenagers and bands, but I think the API is the most interesting thing they’re doing and there may be room for competitors if they don’t grow quickly. Since SMS gateways are so expensive, it makes sense for some company to provide broad use of their gateway through an API (and maybe Mozes will be the one to execute this correctly.)

    Imagine text messaging your expenses to Quicken, or text messaging a scripture reference to get back the full text, or text messaging to get your grocery list from your computer.

  2. Greg Larsen

    Paul – I just returned yesterday from the CTIA Wireless IT Conference being held in Los Angeles. There was a lot of discussion surrounding content delivery, “on-deck” vs. “off-deck”, and monetization of content. It sounds like not a whole lot has changed since the panel discussions at CES.

    Everyone agrees there are distribution needs yet to be fulfilled or solved, but no one has really come to the table with any key solutions yet. There are a couple of players out there that talk a big game about content distribution and monetization, but I was not all that impressed with what I saw. Visit http://www.sms.ac…they were a title sponsor.

    The strategies suggested at the conference for web based companies were those of aggregation, subscription, and social communities. It sounded like the only ways to broadcast your content were either a) through the carriers or b) through existing social communities or those being built.

    Adoption of content strategies is at an early, early stage in the U.S. We should look to Europe and Asia for working, profitable models. If we had the mobile bandwith in place that they do overseas we would be seeing a completely different picture. As it stands right now we can only move as fast as the network bandwidth will allow.

  3. lester D'silva

    Paul, do you think there is a demand for sms based services like sms banking, sales tracking etc in Utah. I’m working with a company that wants to launch these services in utah in the near future and wanted to get your opinion.

    Thanks

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