Welcome to Day 2 of CTIA. I already have a headache. Maybe it's because of the long cab, monorail and shuttle lines!
I had an interesting conversation yesterday with John Harrobin, vice president of advertising and digital media with Verizon Wireless, about advertising, place shifters like SlingMedia and breaking down the walled garden. It's clear advertising is needed to keep revenues moving in the mobile content space as there is just so much that consumers are willing to pay. Harrobin says Verizon is testing a variety of advertising models. Interestingly enough, Verizon already allows its content partners on the web portal side to place banner ads, a practice Harrobin says the carrier is revisiting.
There's been a lot of talk about SlingMedia and its strategy to sell the SlingMedia Mobile client that allows 3G consumers to view television without buying TV content from the carrier. Skirting the issue of whether Verizon favors these types of place-shifting players (there's strong evidence it doesn't), Harrobin seems to think content players will take care of this company. "Content companies need to evaluate SlingMedia to see whether it has the rights to transmit TV content... SlingMedia has to be backed by a legitimate business model."
Meanwhile, Verizon is lowering the walled garden, allowing content partners to directly market wallpaper and ringtones to consumers, a practice that has grown content sales in Europe. Of course, Verizon isn't letting just anyone offer its customers content, like VeriSign's Jamster, which has caused some consumer outrage over fraudulent charges. Verizon plans to continue some checks and balances here but is also working on allowing direct-to-consumer content on the BREW and WAP side as well.
There is a dark horse in the U.S. WiMAX market that no one has really thought of. I talked to some NextWave folks who indicated the company will likely roll out WiMAX technology. Remember NextWave, which fought the FCC for many years to keep its PCS licenses after filing for bankruptcy and sold the majority of its licenses to Verizon and Cingular after winning its fight in the Supreme Court? Now NextWave remains with a bunch of cash garnered from the sale of its PCS licenses and a handful of licenses left to launch a broadband service. NextWave recently purchased Cygnus, a WiMAX silicon company, to develop its own WiMAX chips using a number of talented engineers in the San Diego area.
Finally, thanks to all who came to our networking party last night at Studio 54. As the night wore on and the spirits flowed, the dance floor was full of folks breaking out their disco moves. It's sure to be the hottest party on record at CTIA this year. More than 1,100 of you attended! - Lynnette