Mobile Phones - the next mass media?

Discovered a new blog, courtesy of "lost to blogging" Kerry Haggard. Communities Dominate Brands is written by two authors - mostly around technology and how it can be used to manage and interact with communities.

What really resonated with me was some of the prose below - talking about the advent of the cellphone as the 7th major mass media.

The Mobile Phone has emerged as the 7th Mass Media. It is as different from the internet (6th Mass Media) as TV (5th) is from radio (4th). Trying to force concepts from the internet, TV, or other previous media will produce disappointing audience experience on mobile. But understanding the unique power of mobile as the 7th Mass Media will deliver radical new concepts and new winners on this, the newest mass media.

Most of the media experts, including those in new media, do not understand mobile. It became a mass media first in Japan only seven years ago, and until recently was mostly dismissed as a youth SMS text messaging and viral marketing channel only. Yet the economics of mobile produce enormous opportunities. Three times as many people have mobile phones than have personal computers. Twice as many people have a phone subscription than a credit card, more households have mobile phones than TV sets. And most dangerously, the mobile phone can replicate all of the previous mass media - including all of the internet as a mass media - with five unique benefits, which why already 588 million people consume premium content such as news, TV, entertainment and games on mobile phones in 2006.

During 2007 more people will access internet content on phones than on the web -This is no mere sci-fi fantasy of technology buffs; it has already happened in Japan, South Korea and China by 2006.

It's something everyone talks about, isn't it? But how many people truly understand the pervasiveness of this media? It's unfortunate we live in a country of volume models. Cellphone business is dominated by tabloid style ring tone volume models. Don't get me wrong. A little bird told me that one of these short code content services was the 7th largest advertiser in the country - putting close to R30 million into our embattled TV stations.

It's a pity, because it diverts our attention from the true beauty of the mobile platform. 40 million people. All instantly reachable. Measurable.

And they can talk back. Talking back. Novel eh?


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