With a headline of “Mobile Blogs Offer New Opportunity for Cellular Operators to Monetize Camera Phones,” the press release by market research company In-Stat seems a bit behind the curve.
The release says, “The abundance of Websites dedicated to moblogging and photoblogging indicates there is a growing interest in combining social networking with camera phone technology.”
In-Stat says moblogs create opportunities for software developers “to focus on developing a series of mobile Internet applications for a greatly desired market segment.” The firm says there will be more than one billion camera phones worldwide by the end of this year. Other firms have said the one billion mark was passed a year or two ago.
In-Stat also says more than 60 percent of cellular phone subscribers in the United States have camera phones, compared to 40 percent in 2006.
A better press release
Although proclaiming the value of moblogs in 2007 is years late, to be fair to In-Stat, the title of its research report is “Camera Phones and Social Networking – A New Global Focus.” And, I haven’t read the report and perhaps there’s a great deal of research about in financial dynamics of moblogs and social networks — although it’s not easy to make money with either medium!
As a wireless data consultant, I help companies with business development. If I were writing the In-Stat press release I would not only include more useful financial information but also tie moblogs to social networking and discuss the social importance and ramifications so the report is more current.
Too many company public relations executives don’t seem to realize that the more the press release has new information for journalists, the more widely it’s likely to be distributed. I write press releases as well as a variety of other corporate marketing documents, weblogs, etc. and some companies don’t understand the value of giving readers more than a tidbit of useful data.
Update (8/25/07): The Guardian on moblogs, social networking
As I was perusing The Guardian, one of my favorite resources for mobile and technology news, I noticed a detailed article about opportunities for the wireless industry for social networking.
The Guardian says cellular operators are concerned that with monthly flat rate pricing (more common in the United States than overseas, actually), subscribers will use the network as merely a “big dumb pipe” for accessing the Internet and marginalize them as the ISPs have been cut out of revenues from content.
Some cellular operators, such as 3 in the U.K., have established their own social networking services. 3’s SeeMeTV application enables uses to upload video clips to share as well as getting paid for them. Also, SeeMeTV has spawned Moko, a social networking site costing 2.50 pounds ($5) per month, the article says.
Building businesses now
One consultant says cellular operators should seriously consider wireless-enabling existing well known social networking sites, such as Facebook. Frédéric Huet, a director at Greenwich Consulting, says in The Guardian, "I would not be too dismissive of data revenues.
“If the mobile operators can start increasing take-up of data services they will increase revenues for quite a few years before commoditisation and price competition sees those revenues erode again. By then the operators will be in a position to offer other services such as mobile advertising.
"The trick is to start building an audience now and the mobile phone operators are starting to understand that."