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Listen-up Hollywood! Here’s Why Mobile Content is Slow to Grow

I just finished reading a NYT article on the frustration being felt by Hollywood because they can’t get advertising dollars to support their mobile content.

…while short, multiepisode cellphone series are growing in popularity, the lucrative advertising dollars prevalent in other entertainment segments — and which studios rely on for profit — have been slow to migrate to the supersmall screen…”an advertiser would have to pay us to develop content for wireless phones because right now there is no business model. There has to be a way to make money there.”

Welcome to the world of new media! Here’s where you’re going wrong.

Trying to monetize a product out of the gates, is clearly going to lead to a slower adoption rate. Think for a second, can you point to any successful new media company that slapped ads on its product from the very beginning, and then went on to dominate? Hard, isn’t it. Now take a look at what worked for others.

Google? No ads when they first launched. Once they had market share and users, they started introducing sponsored ads.

YouTube? Ditto. They built the user-base first, discovered what they wanted, and are only now starting to monetize video content.

MySpace? How long did MySpace go before they started using ads to generate revenue? Do you think it would have become half as popular, if they had launched with ads everywhere?

Listen-up Hollywood. Instead of thinking you need to make money on mobile videos out of the gate, invest a little first. Give us free shows, free videos, free music – get us excited about mobile content. Show us we can’t live without it. Once you have our attention, then you’ll have the user base to understand what type of advertising might work, and we’ll give you the opportunity to show it to us!

  • Dean

    Andy – The only problem with your answer is that it makes sense.

    Somewhere there is a marketing person having to decide where to spend his ad budget and the metrics for mobile video just don’t justify that investment versus other channels.

    Build the audience and the advertisers will follow. There’s no other way. Unfortunately, the bean counters in Hollywood are looking at spreadsheets and cringe at the thought of having to invest first and reaps the rewards later.

  • http://www.seorefugee.com/seoblog SEOrefugee

    Hasn’t anyone in Hollywood ever cooked a frog (or at least heard the saying)? If you drop it into boiling water it will hop out. If you put it in water and then heat it up gradually it will sit there and boil.

    Shoot, even drug dealers get the principle. The first one is always free. Give people some free mobile content for a while and get us hooked. Then we’ll gladly watch your ads or even pay a subscription fee to view your product.

  • http://blogs.experience.com/marketingchannel Rob

    As sexy as Hollywood appears to the outsider, it’s mainly populated by stuffed shirt number crunchers. How much could it possibly hurt the bottom line to produce and distribute some free content? These web-based and mobile programs are very cheap to produce, so why the hesitation?

  • Dean

    Rob, you answered your own question…

    “stuffed shirt number crunchers” and “free content”

    You have to think long term and the “number crunchers” only see as far as next quarter’s financials.

  • http://www.newmobilephonedeals.co.uk Daniel

    well google, youtube, myspace had such strategy and they followed it………
    there should be one in mobile industry to arrange all mobile content etc…

    ….then you’ll have the user base to understand what type of advertising might work, and we’ll give you the opportunity to show it to us!..

    It all have to start from somewhere…
    people lets be together to handle it!!

  • http://www.mobixie.com Gal

    Well, this is exactly how we feel at Mobixie.
    You want mobile content, but noe ready to pay for it yet ( I mean come on people, paying for video to watch on your 170X220 screen!!!, really!! ).
    Anyway this is where we step in, you download our mobile application by going on your mobile handset to http://wap.mobixie.com and get your free mobile content. ( Videos, ringtones, wallpaper, the works).
    It is free, yes we don’t charge for anything and for those who are ready to shout :”Sure, they do not charge , they charge me for my data plan”, no we DO NOT. This is between you and your mobile provider.
    What’s the catch?! Read the article and you will figure it out (-::
    So, go ahead, you want it, we got it, what are you wating for.
    Enjoy.