No ad-supported content after all? Really?

We will all remember that ad-supported content was the flavour of the month a short while ago. There were successful trials and a lot of hype all around, hell, there are even MVNO based on this model. Now, however, there is a survey that suggests that people will pay to avoid ads (if you are a true believer, look at the end of this post though...). Who's right then?

But, alas, the nasty consumer wants to have it all, it seems. I quote:
While the vast majority (56%) believes that content downloads to mobile phones should be free of charge, there is a growing number of consumers that are so averse to advertising that they are now willing to pay a premium in order to avoid it, signifying a shift in how operators need to be tailoring their offering. A substantial 25% of respondents said that they would rather pay for a download if it guarantees them immunity from advertising.
Now, what then? Free content? And who is paying us poor sods who produce it? Hmm. Now, it gets even more confusing: according to the study, in particular the younger demographic shuns ads. 35% of the 16-24 year-olds would rather pay than get ads vs. only 17% of the (presumably battle-hardened and more cynical) 35-44 year-olds; one would have thought so that the elders with their higher spending power were more likely to pay... Hmm, hmm.

There is another interesting twist to this though. Another quote:
One symptom of this trend is the increased resistance to targeted advertising on mobile phones. Whilst 47% of people feel that adverts tailored to their individual tastes and interests are a good idea overall, half of those who were willing to receive targeted ads on the internet were not happy to receive them on their mobiles.
This would suggest that there is a trend (or rather demand) to bridge the boundaries between media: offer content and do, by all means, use advertising to finance it but do stream the latter to other user screens (presumably the PC first and foremost). Are there any models out there to address that? I haven't heard of any and I must say that I find implementation of this rather tricky to achieve. Just another study then? Hmm, hmm, hmm.

NOW, just when I clicked "publish", I received one of my favourite newsletters, the very recommendable VentureBeat, who published an interview with Nielsen's SVP Mobile Media, Jesse Goranson, and, what can I say, he says it's all good: according to yet another study he cites (which I cannot access), 53% of advertisers (ah, not consumers then) anticipate a rise in mobile ad-spend in the next year. Goranson does, however, also state a flux and indeed uncertainty about where it is going to go revenue-wise. More hmmm's then, I guess. Good night!


Funny. Sometimes a theme somewhat haunts you... After I have posted about the demise of Tira Wireless (and added some alternative views on the labyrinth that is platforms and handset fragmentation; also go and revisit my posts on the same topic here and here), today we can read that it will all get worse (or maybe not). I bet they read my recent post on the issue... ;-)

The article only mentions somewhat curtly two new platforms, namely iPhone and Android (both of which I have covered before, namely here, here and here - amongst others), and then goes on to report on a panel at CTIA where a panel sponsored by the "Symbian stakeholders" apparently dismissed the whole notion, stating that the market would solve it. Now, it will have to, I guess. However, it is not all that bleak: Symbian, UIQ, Linux, BREW, Win ME and ultimately the iPhone OS are all C-based. Most of them (with the notable exception of the iPhone) also run Java Virtual Machines (JVM), so you can either code in J2ME (which is arguably the most widely supported language) or go native and code native in C+/C++ with then much easier ports to the varying iterations.

The challenge naturally remains (and, yes, I have voiced this previously) with a view to supporting all those odd handsets here and there and everywhere but, let's face it, a lot of them are being imposed on publishers by the carriers who want to make sure that even that last customer that hangs on to his SE T-610 will be served with content (even though he won't ever download a piece). Wouldn't it be so much better marketing if they would simply return a message telling that poor customer:
"Hey, we noticed you tried downloading content to your T-610. You may not have realized that this phone is utterly outdated and will give you no joy when playing games. We would like to offer you a discounted upgrade to the brand-spanking new N76/ W880i/ Pearl/ iPhone/ Viewty/... and your life would be so much cooler. We are confident that you would then also have more luck with the girls/boys... Best. Your carrier"
What I am trying to say is that a lot of the fragmentation issues are (nowadays) artificially imposed, not technologically warranted. Any carriers reading this? Think about it, folks. It won't harm you, I bet!