Post MWC Thoughts

Mobile World Congress was a bit of a washout for MobHappy. Carlo already wrote about the shrimp wot did for him. In my case, I had about 10 meetings a day, plus the parties to handle. If that wasn’t enough to prevent blogging, no access to wifi in my apartment hammered the nail into the posting coffin.

But it was great to catch up with everyone and meet so many new faces – lots of people seemed to read MobHappy too, which is always an added bonus. I won’t mention any names here, as I’ll be bound to leave a few out.

One theme that Carlo noticed, and I’d endorse, was the low profile of the mobile operators and to an extent, the lack of dominance of the handset manufacturers this year. It was much more about services, content and applications than I can remember, as well as loads of companies trying to jump on the mobile advertising bandwagon. Some of them may well succeed, although I really didn’t see any that I’d bet the farm on at this late stage.

In particular, there were many companies starting, or refocusing, to provide advertising “solutions” for mobile operators, mainly multi-channel adserving platforms. I’m not sure of the wisdom of this approach for a number of reasons.

Firstly, there’s already giants (like Acision – the ex-Logica company) and relatively successful startups (like Amobee) in the space. So what another giant or nimble startup has to offer is debatable.

Then we have the question about whether launching a company reliant on the lengthy and opaque buying cycles of mobile operators makes a lot of sense. On top of that, it’s clearly going to be a commoditized market pretty quickly, which personally, I don’t find attractive.

But the final concern is that I believe that the days of a channel being dominated by operators are really over and that’s what the show overall reflected. That isn’t to suggest that mobile operators won’t find a valid role in the mobile advertising value chain. It’s just that, unlike a few years ago, they aren’t the only route to market nowadays and I’m surprised that more companies aren’t trying to take advantage of that.

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