Wednesday, 21 July 2010

iPhone 4 bad, World Cup good

Suddenly not being bothered to queue up like a mug for an iPhone 4 seems to be one of my better decisions: it looks like they are going to be recalled anyway. OK, this means that it will be even longer before I get my grubby paws on the new ‘Jab Screen’, but hey, I am still enjoying my old iPhone to be honest. It fits better into the curve of my hand and I think it looks more stylish – the new one looks like something Nokia might come up. I am disappointed.
Anyhoo, enough about the travails of Apple and my Pyrrhic victory over its idiotic strategy of making their devices so hard to come by that, rather than creating a fervour of desire they just p**s off their loyal fan base. What is really more intriguing is how the World Cup played out on mobile.
It seems that, after all the hype, this World Cup did indeed turn out to be ‘the mobile world cup’, with mobile broadband use rocketing upwards by 24% during the tournament, web browsing on mobile during the games growing by 35% and YouTube hits looking for the goals and highlights post-match scoring a whopping 32% rise.
The study by Allott Communications (who, it has to be said, does provide mobile broadband equipment – so something of an own goal? Did you see what I did there?) backs the notion that more and more people are watching TV (or ‘event TV’ as some would have it) with their smartphone clutched in their hand and are using this extra screen to interact with friends and content and services while watching programmes.
Some of the games at the World Cup were so dull that the numbers may admittedly be skewed (I am sure a lot of browsing went on during England’s dismal display), but the findings demonstrate that the way people are using mobile and interactive technology around TV has changed.
While there is much to be said for PSMS text voting coming back to our screens – and its return still seems to be set on ‘imminent’ as it has been for nearly two years – things have moved on. The smartphone – and even the iPad and similar – mean that the role played by ‘small screens’ while watching the telly has become one of constant interaction and idle surfing, texting, social networking and even shopping.
People who vote on Britain’s Got Talent will of course continue to do so, but what the World Cup has demonstrated is that many more people will now interact in some way using the mobile web while watching stuff on TV. And this presents a huge opportunity. We have already in these hallowed pages reported on how ITV sees mobile as a brilliant way to sell ads and content while matches are on, because the game itself only allows for ads at the start, half time and the end.
I think that now we have seen how people behave with their mobiles during the World Cup, it is time to totally reappraise media interaction and look at how they can shape programmes, view adds and content and even buy goods and services all targeted around what they are watching and who they are talking to.
It’s the idea of social TV, that I know companies such as Starling is looking to exploit. The World Cup, while a disappointment for 31 of the 32 countries involved, has certainly been a revelation to the media and mobile industries.  All you guys have to do know is work out how to monetise it.

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