The Importance of Being Mobile

Earlier this month I attended IBC2009 in Amsterdam to give a presentation on how media companies are embracing the mobile industry. The session I participated in, “Mobile media: Managing and delivering the content,” was well received. Delegates were keen to learn about what happens when the media and mobile worlds meet.

When I wasn’t presenting, I listened to some of the keynote sessions. It was interesting to hear some of the challenges and opportunities facing media companies in the next few years. The evolution of high-definition TV and the introduction of 3D TV were a couple of key themes, backed up by several companies showing off their latest products in the exhibition area.

IBC claims attendance was 45,547, a fall of about 7 percent from last year. Regular attendees noted a distinct drop in numbers, but it’s still encouraging to see so many people turn out in difficult economic conditions. The media world’s having a rough time at the moment as revenue has been hit, especially from advertising.

Perhaps in response to these tougher conditions, media companies are trying to reach more people, more of the time. Mobile technology is a good way to do this. I sense that the focus on mobile topics will be even sharper next year.

We’ve already seen a surge in Web-based catch-up TV services. At IBC, the BBC announced it might open its iPlayer platform to third parties. People are starting to want this kind of service on their mobile phone, creating traffic management problems for mobile network operators. We may even see some operators accelerate plans to roll out next-generation networks.