MoMo London – Mobile Entertainment Applications

Tonight was another Mobile Monday London session and despite the fractured thumb, i went along to take some notes and hear what some of the thought leaders in the industry had to say about mobile entertainment applications.

All my notes from tonight are below, you’ll have to excuse them as typing was a little hard…… thumb hurts. The plus side is that a quick trip to Boots and a fistful of pills, meant i was feeling fine again 🙂


Patrick Mork –GetJar

The European landscape

Who’s downloading what and why?

  • GetJar est 2005
  • largest independent app store
  • 1.25m downloads per day
  • Apps 4 everyone. Anything, everywhere, anytime.
  • 200 countries, 1/2 bn downloads.

Who is typical Euro customer? – 75% under 25.

Mostly male’s who download content – 70-80% are men.

Frequency: More from symbian and blackberry than average java phone.

Monetizes service through relationship with developers –> small % of developers bid for visibility. Keeps experience free for consumers.

Critical to keep things free to get people to test things. Same as free tangible goods as trial. Building a risk free environment. Repeat usage is v high on GetJar. Downloading content at least 1 per wk.

Built network through viral marketing & word of mouth.

June top 10 downloads

  1. Ebuddy
  2. Nimbuzz
  3. Google Maps
  4. Oprea Mini
  5. Change ringotne
  6. Magic Bluehack
  7. TV 2 go
  8. GetJar (wrapper/bookmark)
  9. Qeep
  10. Facebook (wrapper/bookmark)

Games growing in double digits – mainly on iPhone.

Most of downloads coming from Java (70% of downloads). If user experience is simple enough then people wil have enjoyable experience.

App are not about smartphones. About everyone, no matter handset/ location.

Nokia 6600 is most popular handset GetJar see in India.

Trends coming from older demographic and women in emergingmarktets too.

Email and IM are top downloads, but games are catching up quickly.


Life cycle of apps becoming shorter unless you become integral part of user’s life like Google Maps. Users are using mobile apps as bitesize entertainment.

70% of users say they play mobile games compared to 30% on console BUT timings are different. More time on console etc.

GetJar is becoming a distribution centre for apps but more and more for mobile sites too – launched mobile site shortcuts.

GetJar app in list is shortcut to mobile site – as is Facebook. Bookmark for homescreen. Facebook getting more shortcut downloads than app downloads.


Panel discussion:

DM – David Murphy – Mobile Marketing Magazine editor (Chairman)

MC – Mark Curtis – Flirtomatic

JH -Joachim Hoffmann – Fjord

AC – Andreas Constantinou – Vision mobile analyst

PM – Patrick Mork – GetJar

DA – Daniel Applequist – Vodafone

Mobile entertainment industry worth an estimated $32bn. Is that true?

How do u make money?

PM – depends on factors. We see ad based apps, ad funded, freemium services. Intertesting was virtual currency – essentially app is free then sell credits/currency for user to do certain things online. Similar to Flirtomatic. Developers being innovative and realising free is a good way to get content into consumers’ hands. We’ll see an acceleration in micropayments.

AC – We’ve all seen different revenue share schemes, interesting combinations e.g. iPhone/Apple. Ovi sharing  with operatorss. Sharing of cost, people co-developing products together, sharing risk and cost of development. Underlying effects is sharing cost/revenue. Used to talk about walled ownership, customer is shared. Now it’s walled sharing rather than walled ownership.

Always going to be longtail of disgruntled developers. Look at the stats. Mobile advertising doesn’t really work.

JH – You can have free like BBC iPlayer, but in reality it’s funded through license fee, or you can have something through a  subscription fee which means apps need to be sticky, either through design or content. We see a whole range of business models but there’s not really one main one.

MC – Hate the word freemium but that’s what we essentially are. We managed to identify…somehow the points at which people are willing to pay. Revenue side comes through extra fun. You can go to the park and meet with people for free, but if you want an ice cream, that’ll be extra. We do that through flirt points and sometimes we give users free flirt points and whenever we do that we see an upside in spending across the site.

We make moeny in four lines across the service:

  1. Virtual goods – sold 5k ice cubes that melted on arrival (about 50p each)
  2. Visibility – users are very clever and are prepared to pay to be seen. The top ones spend £20-£30 per night to get seen. Whenever we increase inventory to users over advertisers, spending again increases.
  3. Ego services – Deleting poor ratings, sending ego boosts
  4. Alerts – sending messages when favourites log in.

DM- Think Flirtomatic is considered one of the success stories of mobile. It provides a cheap start to a date.

What’s the operator perspective?

DA – We’re trying to be dynamic in the space about what the future is going to be. Web? Apps? We’ve been spearheading widgets. Over used term perhaps but the difference in how we’re using it, is creating a standard meaning for the word and building out standard versions of the web. Creating standard widget that people can sign up to and refer to as a standard. Operators/Manufacturers/devs etc. Allows you to take mobile web app with great interactviity and package it up as an app that can be sold/downloaded etc. Interaction is key. It’s the same technology web developers are using on desktop but on mobile. Lowering of time to market & broadening of skill set.

Commercial initiative, inc ap store where will be compettive rev split. We’re launching in app/Widget billing events for buying dig goods/upselling.

DM- What’s the difference between Widget and application?

DA: Our widget proposition will be to call it an app. Consumers now thinking of apps. From a developer’s perspective it’s all about mobile widgets. Favourtie mobile entertainment widget is Flight Control. Casual game with social component and location element. Top scores of people around you. AND then hooks into Twitter and auto tweet scores.

Competitiveness brings you back to an app/game.

AC- Why develop for Vodafone and not for Nokia.

DA- Widget’s give you the chance to develop once and have it running across different frameworks, cross platform.

AC – special framworks? Obviously there are costs involved.

DA- We’ve been working a year on widget standards. Next step is to get people to converege on single API set. This year we will still see fragmentation but in a couple of years we’ll see standardisation in Widgets.

Q – What kind of app stores are there? Independent? Walled Garden? Are we going to continue seeing them? Losing out from iTunes though?

PM – Think the question is what’s best route to market. We are on iPhone. If we say we’re on everything, we have to be on EVERYTHING.

MC – But you’re not losing out. If i’m a developer i just want someone to deliver my app, it doesn’t matter who.

Q -Heading towards API driven access to device.Where do widgets sit? Are they stepping stone to clear mobile web apps? Or a third way?

DA: Think it’s a third way. A way of getting web apps onto the phone. Widgets give more flexibility and it will be possible to auto update.

Q – Not conivnced that this is any different to what’s out now.

DA- Happy to share docs but in my view are differences and part of a set of technology that will make up the web. Extending the web with offline capabilites. Taking an app and making it part of the web.

Q- Flash capability for widgets?

DA- No, using HTML, javascript and SVG.

MC- Taking this back a little, we were surprsised to see the top handset on Flirtomatic was Nokia N95, which was only 6% of handset hits. After that it was a massive string of handsets barely getting over 1%. Developing apps for most of those will be a nightmare. IF Vodafone solves this and i can hit a substantial proportion of the user base, then that’s worth doing.

DA – Trying to engage with developers in longtail to get them to build across range of handsets, cross-platform.

DM – Is the future of mobile, apps or web based access?

PM – Going forward, i think it’l be a mix. Experience has to justify actions. It comes down to what you’re offering? What handset users are using and what’s the profile of the user? Successful developers cover everything.

JH – It depends on what you’re trying to achieve. A service needs to be used with one hand, interactive, interrupted, concise, it needs to be to the point. For example, Nokia sports tracker is a service that simply wouldn’t work in mobile web, so must be an app. Flirtomatic works best as on the web rather than in an app.

I need functionality offline, which means the best way forward would be an app.

DM – Apart from greater reach of browser, what are the advantages? App based for Flirtomatic?

MC – Trying to make Flirtomatic work offline was a nightmare. Don’t want to see apps ever again. Speed of development on mobile web is brilliant, we’re able to change things very quickly, rather than implementing changes across different handsets. The ability to change this quickly is vital for startups overwise you’re dead…out of money.

AC – Why does there need to be single perfect developer environment. Just choose the platform best for you. There will never be a perfect platform. The industry thought leaders are betting across the board.

Q -unless you know your market , is it not better to launch mobile web to go cross platform and then figure out what works best for your audience?

AC -yes if dating, no if a game.

PM – It depends on app. Apps not necessarily best way to build  brand. If just going to build an app to please board, it probably won’t work. You’ll spend too much money and won’t get the results to show to the board.

DA: One thing talked about at Mobile 2.0 is that apps are like songs. Just because u downloaded an app doesn’t mean u didn’t enjoy it. There’s been a change in way people are thinking of apps, single use experience still has use in marketing.

JH: There’s a need to have a free hook and then have the capability to charge in future. That’s something you need to figure out before launching. What’s you USP?

PM: One business model we found good was Loopt. Provided mapping service of friends. Works closly with operators, selling service and monetizing with operators to sell bundles.

MC – Widget is just another form of discovery. It’s another way for our users to find us.

Q – Encouraging to see Flirtomatic experimenting with pricing. Do you see a time where auction based model will supplant everything else?

MC – 25 of our revenue is advertising, 75% is premium models of that about half is coming through the auction method.

Q – curious about where you think mobile entertainment is going? Augmented reality?

DA: Talked about entertainment apps, and see them playing a huge part. Casual gaming especially on iPhone. Augmented reality making lots of noise but think it’s in infancy, too early to tell impact.

AC:  Interested by inclusion of sensors in things. Only become possible through a single sensor which allows apps to know where phone is and in what kind of environment. Opening up whole new realm. Sound/heat sensors working out locations.

DM: Isn’t there a danger of getting carried away with technology? Don’t we just need to keep it simple.

PM: Critical to not forget this. Can’t help to be frustrated when i can’t get basic signal from my operator. Why are consumers using apps? When? The opportunity to use a mobile phone is when people are on the go or last thing at night. Make sure that whatever you’re making is going to be useful to people.

MC – I think there’s going to be a massive market for therapists for people suddenly disconnected from the digital world, if they’ve just dropped their phone down the toilet or something for example.

Near Field Communications is going to be very interesting. Look at Oyster card and the mass market pick up. When that converges with the phone, it’ll force operator margins down. There’s no way TFL wil take that hit like many start ups are at the moment.

JH: Think it’s a great opportunity for various things in augmentaed reality. ultimately the need for elegant simplicity. Whatever it is, it needs to work straight away, simple and consistent! These exciting things will come eventually, but first it needs to be of value, it needs to be interruptable. Content needs to find me and then it’s useful.

Q – Why is the future always about technology. People in the street don’t know what GetJar is. The people who actually download content is a very niche market. Shouldn’t the future be getting the remaining 95% interested?

PM: Yes, but mobile apps evolution has been fast. 18months ago no-one was talking about apps. We’ve come a long way in that time  as an industry.  What Apple did not just with a device, but they were the first people to advertise apps to the mass market. It’ll come. It’ll happen quicker than we think.

DA: Social and gaming apps are really driving the market. So many people looking for Facebook are discovering new apps. To me sensors and tech are enablers of cool experiences. Sometime developers can really take us by surprise.

AC: Interesting when thinking about communcation modes. Voice has been primary for the last 100 yrs. Then SMS. Now the whole phone is being opened up e.g. turning phone to silence a call. It’s about communicating with people around you.


~ by Neil on July 20, 2009.

One Response to “MoMo London – Mobile Entertainment Applications”

  1. […] to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.Powered by WP Greet BoxThe always reliable Neil Robertson took copious notes at last night’s Mobile Monday London event. For those who missed it or couldn’t attend […]

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