Tuesday, June 14, 2005

June 09, 2005

Mobile Porn - will you be offering it?

At long last, 3G (Third Generation) networks are being rolled out across Europe that will enable amongst other things, end-users to receive movies with sound wherever they may be. The Mobile operators have spent billions on the necessary licences and, rest assured, will spend millions more on persuading people on purchasing the new 3G Handsets on our behalf!

The mobile telecoms arena is one rare example of where Europe is ahead of the curve relative to our
American friends in terms of infrastructure, thanks in main to the unified GSM standard that these mobile Network use.

This leads many US Adult Webmasters to be bemused as to what all the fuss is about, many dismissing it as a fad. Well, the Networks don’t seem to agree. Nor do Yankee Research, who recently estimated for the mobile porn industry to be a Billion Dollar Industry in it’s own right by 2008.

It is already possible for the key driver of this new wireless world – you, the adult content providers - to make money in this virgin market.

You can be sure of one thing. Many new customers that have a 3G Handset waiting for them under the Christmas tree may soon tire of the comedy and sports clips offered to them by their networks, and will actively start seeking-out quality porn ‘to go’.

Hundreds of Millions more who already own a ‘2.5G’ picture phone are seeking out such content as I write! Because MMS is here. It is now. It is the ‘next Generation’ of the hugely Successful SMS, of which more that a staggering 100 Billion have been sent globally so far this year. And SMS is only 160 characters of text! The huge popularity of camera phones is pushing MMS, which supports more text, pictures, and sounds.

On a 3G network, content can be delivered to a subscriber in two ways:
- using a packet switched connection in the 3G network. This is what is offered today via the operator portals (Vodafone Live!, Orange Kiosk, KPN iModePortal, etc)
- using a circuit switched connection in the 3G network. This type of connection is comparable to existing (premium rate) audiotext services, enhanced with video capability. These services are new and offer content providers a huge opportunity as 3G networks are rolled out all over Europe.

However, don’t expect the money to roll-in from day one. 3G handset penetration is currently negligible since this brave new world is just beginning.

In the meantime, we need to deal with what we currently have, and ideally offer both. The difference between 2.5G and 3G is best described using the analogy of web access with a 14,4K modem and Broadband. The former is fine for pictures, but movies? Forget it…

With most current cellphones being 2.5G ‘enabled’, you can start making money from the mobile internet now. MMS allows 2.5G Handset users to receive images on their cellphone. Technology exists that will enable you to ‘mobilise’ your website in half a day.. You decide which content you wish to offer your new mobile audience, and furthermore you dictate how much you want to charge. The cellphone operators collect the money on your behalf and act as virtual ISP’s, so to speak?

You are dictating the agenda - since one area in which North America still excels in this arena, and that is the content that you already have! It’s the content, stupid! Back to basics…

So concentrate first on selling pictures via MMS. Include your new service on your website. It will not cannibalise your existing business. On the contrary, it will enhance it. Not only do your existing members now have a medium to enjoy your content in the Restroom or Hotel Room , but now casual surfers will convert better into paying customers since they are used to paying for content like ringtones (another billion dollar market). Moreover, you will enhance your brand. Hell, you can even promote your new service offline, and generate new customers who see your ad in the classifieds section of the newspaper on the train on the way back from work. Not only will you give the commuter the content he so craves, you can cross-promote your website at the same time!

If you offer live content, offer live MMS! It’s the interaction element that’s so sticky! Now the End-user can text in his request for sexy Susie to show him her Ass. She obliges, and 10 seconds later he has what was requested. And you can profit from each exchange, since Premium SMS is already a tried and tested billing mechanism – with no charge backs. Currently, the cellphone operators keep a disproportionate amount, but this will only increase in favour of the content providers as the industry matures, as it did with pay-per-call services.

Welcome to the mobile internet. Existing ‘fixed line’ internet Webmasters with compelling content ignore this market at their peril. It has never been easier to start making money with m-commerce. Set-up costs will be negligible, since providers who facilitate implementation are best served by acting as billing partners and absorb their margin ‘at source’.

The content Provider should receive the lion’s share of the revenue. ‘Cause content is King. Go get busy, King!