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Publishers mobilised at AOP forum

by Toby Hicks, PPA communications executive.

With mobile phones in the UK set to shortly outnumber people, publishers have been urged to grasp the developing opportunities that mobile content can offer, during an AOP forum on mobile publishing held this week.

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L-R Mike Short, Steven Trew, Gillian Kennedy, Giuseppe Troisi

Addressing some 42 assembled AOP members and friends of AOP at the forum held yesterday (Wednesday 26 January), Mike Short, Chair of the Mobile Data Association described the development of the medium as "truly amazing" pointing out that there were now 59 million phones in the UK and that one third of phones were now MMS or picture ready.

He challenged publishers to maximise the increasing opportunities available, particularly in terms of targeting the younger users. Said Short: "Kids of today have technology but don't have it when and where they want, let's work together to offer it."

Steven Trew, head of mobile services at FT.com outlined the development of the FT's mobile offering and the successes and failures they had encountered with the medium, as well as outlining their business objectives.

Said Trew: "research indicates that mobile content revenues could increase five fold in the next four years. Our objective is to monetise mobile content."

He said that mobile phones enabled the brand to reach a younger demographic but that also "we're adding value as well as bringing in new customers."

Gillian Kennedy, the commercial development director with EMAP Advertising laid down some golden rules for making the most of mobile advertising based on over 130 mobile campaigns she has overseen. These were: content is king, use a good supplier, test and test again, understand the law, use of a quality database, a plan and a vision for growth.

She went through the background of some of the innovative campaigns she had been involved with, including sending gossip texts alerts promoting the new edition of Bliss to its core audience. She also emphasised the strides EMAP had made towards regulating itself, such as not sending commercial messages to anyone under 14. Said Kennedy: "We've been properly self regulating, we've always been opt-in and this complies with the EU directive."

Speaking last, Guiseppe Troisi, head of interactive at Capital Radio Group, said that it was now so much easier to work with SMS than three or four years ago as he urged the audience to "do something for yourselves, try it."

He pointed to the success of the recent UK Radio Aid for the Tsunami appeal which raised £840,000 from SMS messages alone in one day. He said publishers should consider it for a variety of good reasons including "speed, interactivity and reach, marketing benefits and commercial benefits." He did however strike a salient note in warning that consumers were getting increasingly tired of spam commercial messages, which seemed to be on the increase.

[download presentations]

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