Thursday, 19 February 2009

Good mobile and broadcasting session

This afternoon I've had the privilege to chair the broadcasting session at Mobile World C0ngress in Barcelona. The session's title was Mobile’s role in the changing face of broadcast’. I said in my introduction that I wasn't convinced that the title is correct - perhaps it should have been called broadcasting’s role in the changing face of mobile as mobile is definitely changing from a voice-only proposition to one that encompasses many more facets from music to gaming to broadcast content.

I had a great line-up of speakers including Sean Kane from Bebo, Richard Titus from the BBC, Jonathan Marks of Critical Distance, Michel Mol of Netherlands Public Broadcasting and Stanislas Leridon from France 24. They explained their organisation's work in the mobile field, and some mentioned the difficulty in engaging with mobile operators - something that a good number of AIB members have mentioned to me. Indeed, Michel Mol said that it was only after a mobile operator was "named and shamed" on national TV that it came to the table and started talking to NPO!

France 24's new iPhone application - the first by an international news channel - has had more than 100,000 downloads in its first few days said Stan Leridon, making it one of the top ten iPhone apps. Quite amazing and something I understand that the BBC's Global News division is taken aback by, wondering why it wasn't first in this arena.

Good debate, so thanks to all my speakers and to the GSM Association for letting broadcasting into the mobile all we need is for operators to engage with broadcasters!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Barcelona leads

Here in Barcelona it's been chillier than in previous years during Mobile World Congress. However, in the conference and exhibition the temperature has been hotting up with some of the AIB's contacts talking of the best event ever for deals.

That's good news and certainly the AIB has enjoyed getting a whole raft of leads of people and organisations that are interested in what our membership does and in getting involved with the AIB's events, such as the 2009 AIB Media Excellence Awards - the AIBs. 

We'll be following up on those over the coming few days and look forward to working with more companies in the mobile industry during the year. 

Now it's time for me to work on the mobile and broadcast session that I'm chairing here on Thursday...

Monday, 16 February 2009

Not much of a recession in mobile

Judging by the flight traffic into Barcelona over the weekend, and the proportion of BA planes given over to business class (more than 50% on the flight I took out of London Gatwick on Sunday), the recession has passed the mobile industry by.

Lots of activity here in Barcelona as Mobile World Congress gets underway this Monday morning, although the queues to get into the Fira weren't as bad as last year.

Good to see that AIB member France 24 is here, on a corner of the Actimagine stand in hall 2. Vizrt is also here, in hall 7 and DW on the NRW stand in hall 2.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Looking forward to the warmer climate of Catalonia

It has been a manic week for me, trying to prepare for Mobile World Congress while at the same time managing the start of the building project that will see the AIB's offices in Kent increased to deal with the burgeoning amount of work we have! Standing in the snow and ice this morning talking with the builder caused my bones to the thought of a few days in Barcelona has become more appealing!

Meanwhile, it's been a nightmare trying to get to talk to the speakers on the panel I'm chairing with phone conference call systems not doing what they're supposed to. However, I'm slowly making headway and there'll be a cracking panel on Thursday afternoon. It's already being reported in 'The Hollywood Reporter' and in the US edition of 'Media Week'. My hope is that the mobile operators catch on to the fact the content owners and broadcasters want to engage with them - although judging by the responses to my requests for appointments (mostly met with an icy silence that matches the weather here in the UK) , I don't think that the message has got through. Come on Orange, come on Vodafone - open your doors to an opportunity!

It's more nimble companies that will steal a march on the big guns - people who understand the market and understand the drivers for getting content onto mobile. I've been impressed by a new kid on the block with which the AIB is just starting a coherent conversation: Swanbay. We're talking to them over the next few days, and I think it will be something that the AIB's members will benefit from. 

More from Barcelona in the next few days. And mobile operators - you can find me in Barcelona and contact details are on the AIB website!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Barcelona beckons

I'm busily preparing for Mobile World Congress, taking place in Barcelona between 16 and 19 February. It's organised by the GSM Association that represents the world's mobile operators and it's a colossal event. 

I've been involved already as one of the judges of the Mobile Awards (being presented on Tuesday night) and as moderator of the panel examining synergies between broadcasting and mobile (and boy, there's lots of opportunity there). 

AIB will be at MWC in force, helping AIB members to get connected to the people they need to talk to - people searching for content, for example. There's lots to see and do, and lots of people from all over the planet with whom to start interesting conversations.

See you there?

Friday, 6 February 2009

Snow disrupts the web

In the UK over the past few days we've had what the media has described as the worst snowfall in 18 years. As a result, large swathes of the country have been brought to a near standstill and here in rural Kent (south-east of London) we've suffered from a complete collapse of the rail network with no trains at all running on Monday into London, and a restricted service the following day. 

At the same time, schools have been closed as teachers have been unable to get into work and of course there's a health and safety risk associated with snow in playgrounds. Unbelievable, but true - mind you, I can remember trudging to school in the snow and enjoying it in my childhood...but then the world's changed lots since then.

But what was quite amazing was the failure of the UK's websites to cope with a huge increase in demand for information. The BBC's site collapsed under pressure of users seeking travel, weather and school closure information. South Eastern Railway's site displayed an error message saying their servers couldn't cope with the snow...sorry, demand. 

What does this mean for web-delivered TV services, I wonder. Something the AIB will be investigating and reporting on to members in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, where's my snow shovel?