Andy Warhol would have loved the mobile platform--suddenly, anyone and everyone can be a star. The accelerating sales of camera phones, the ever-increasing popularity of messaging and the emergence of social networking services have made it possible to capture every facet of modern life for worldwide broadcast. Mobile handsets are no longer simply a conduit to experience Hollywood-approved video clips and major-label music downloads: content consumption is giving way to content creation, and more and more the phone isn't about what you can do on it, but what you can do with it.
Heading into October's CTIA I.T. & Wireless Entertainment event in San Francisco, the audience transformation from consumers to prosumers is both promising and problematic--on the one hand, subscribers are more engaged with their phones than ever before, but on the other hand, traditional revenue generators like music, video and gaming seem stuck in neutral. Put yourself in the shoes of your average 18-to-24-year-old iPhone owner and MySpace member: Given the choice between producing and distributing your own personalized content or downloading premium mass-media content already available across a series of other platforms, which is more appealing?
Even a quick scan of the CTIA I.T. & Wireless Entertainment 2007 programming schedule suggests an industry in flux: While record industry mogul Quincy Jones is the featured attraction at Monday's Mobile Entertainment Live! forum, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will keynote the Tuesday morning session, and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz will headline Wednesday. And showbiz, software and social networking aren't the only forces shaping mobile entertainment--marketing and advertising are still gaining momentum, and content access and discovery snafus are still crippling momentum. There's no question mobile entertainment is still evolving--the question is what it is evolving into. Whether or not CTIA I.T. 2007 will supply the answer is a question in and of itself. --Jason
P.S. FierceMarkets will bring you all the news and scoops from the CTIA I.T. Show. We are the official online show daily for CTIA. We will deliver all the news in our regular issue and at a custom micro-site entitled "CTIA Live!" Click here to check out the website.