3/24/2005

Mobiles (plus Topix)

One quarter of U.S. households now have web access through mobile phones, creating a large new potential market for downloadable content. That’s my reading of a statistic buried in a Media Post article that excerpted bits from some research done by the Kelsey Group and ConStat. The article said: “Nearly eight out of 10 households--79 percent--have wireless phones, up from 71 percent 17 months ago. And almost one out of three households--31 percent--have Web access via wireless phone, up from 26 percent in October 2003.” If I did the math correctly, just shy of 25 percent of households have a web-enabled cell phone. That metric explains the why behind a Mobile Content News report that Major League Baseball’s advanced media division plans to deliver baseball action and ticket sales to cell phones. A March 23 summary from the Center for Media Research, entitled “Mobile Phones are for more than phoning,” offers these insights into content downloads via mobiles: “13 percent of mobile subscribers reported accessing news and information via a mobile browser in the previous month.” The most popular categories were weather (57 percent), sports and national news headlines, (44 percent), maps and directions (41 percent), and movie and entertainment listings (40 percent). I'm guessing all of this is repurposed major media content but as mobile devices grow as a download platform I would hope it offers licensing opportunities for mini media producers. Separately and briefly, I’ll point to a New York Times report that three large newspaper chains, Gannett, Knight-Ridder and the Tribune Company, have taken a 75 percent stake in the Palo Alto startup Topix.net. Rafat Ali says “funding was less than $5 million” and that “the deal is non-exclusive.” I find Topix very interesting but don’t know nearly enough about the outfit to add any insights. This is just a placeholder to remind me to learn more as time permits. Tom Abate MiniMediaGuy Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media.

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