Tokyo’s best and brightest mobilistas gathered for Mobile Monday Tokyo in October, and WWJ was shooting! MoMo is a monthly networking event designed to… well, to get everyone together! What a blast! Folks were there from carriers, handset makers, technology vendors, application developers, and content providers on both the foreign and Japanese side. We spoke with knowledgeable insiders on mobile games, music, and video, and today’s episode brings you the highlights. Full Program Run-time: 17:56
In today’s programme, we speak with David Collier, Steve Myers, and Tim Smith.
David Collier is a (the?) business creator on Namco’s International Team; he’s certainly one of the most knowledgeable insiders working in the mobile gaming market. In addition to speaking with WWJ for today’s program, he presented to the Mobile Intelligence Tour (MIT) on the topic of “Mobile Gaming Trends.” Among other trends, he focused on pricing strategy, game packs, lifecycle management, and — very key — subscription versus per-download payments. David firmly endorses the subscription model, which, he says, “creates a better long-term business.”
In other words, profits are better.
This last point is rather interesting as David’s comments were backed up repeatedly by other content and application providers who met with the MIT as well as by numerous content company reps with whom WWJ has spoken in the past. As recently as last week, WWJ heard similar comments made by two publishing companies, also long-time i-mode content providers. Both were rather dismayed to hear about the pay-per-event billing models prevalent in Europe.
After David Collier, we spoke with Steve Myers, one of Tokyo’s mobile music gurus, chief enthusiast at Theta Music, and author of the fortnightly “Music Media watch” newsletter.
Steve answered questions on Japan’s ring tone zoo (Chaku Mero, Chaku Uta, and Chaku Motion), describing the differences between the three, and he covered how 3G has affected the mobile music market.
Steve said that, before 3G, everything was Chaku Mero (polyphonic ring tones; no vocals); so the whole business model was based on paying people to create the files on PC. The rights model was focused on paying JASRAC (Japan’s artists’ rights body) a per-download fee for, essentially, use of the sheet music.
Under 3G, with Chaku Uta (a real copy of the actual song), the rights situation has become more complex: “The bottleneck is now getting rights to the songs.” The traditional ring-tone providers have been locked out and the master-rights-owning labels have a tremendous advantage. In the video, Steve describes what music content providers are doing to get around the labels.
Finally, we spoke with Tim Smith, a long-time Tokyo technology insider and now director at FreeVerse Partners’ Tokyo office. FreeVerse is a sort of technology consultancy/incubator/solution provider, and Tim’s theme for his presentation at MoMo was: “3G Video — in 30 Seconds or Less.”
Tim says that, from a content provider point of view, the real business is not about length of content, it’s about immediacy and providing services that give valuable content quickly. In today’s program, he talks about (the lack of) video advertising, mobile video content trends for 2005, and the new paradigm for mobile music (hint: think about how radio Top 40 lists morphed into MTV).
Tim also mentions: “One of the things we’re finding is companies from outside Japan asking, ‘Hey, how can we become likely targets for M&A from companies in Japan?’”
— Daniel Scuka