Paris Hilton showed up at the beginning of today's keynote for about 2 minutes. I wonder how much that cost CTIA. She held up a video phone, stumbled through the teleprompter and showed off her latest music video on the big screens, to which CTIA President Steve Largent said: "Very nice" and "That's very hot, Paris." And then she whisked away, saying she had to do "some serious booth hopping." Not surprising, there were a number of Freudian quips from the panelists that followed her appearance. Sky Dayton, CEO of MVNO Helio, asked the rest of the panelists if they were okay and if they needed a shower after meeting Paris backstage.
The keynote panel topic was social networking and the mobile community--the Freudian quips continued along with some jabbing from Dayton aimed at Dan Schulman, CEO of Virgin Mobile, leaving some audience members with open mouths in amazement. At one point, Dayton, sporting white tennis shoes, teased Schulman about his penny loafers and old-man socks. Schulman then retorted: "Was the meat-packing reference a Freudian slip?" Dayton had earlier said that the cool thing about the mobile industry was enabling people to do more of what they wanted: communicate. He joked about what meat-packing conventions might be like. And Trip Hawkins, chairman and CEO of mobile gaming company Digital Chocolate, sat in the crossfire.
But here's the crux of their discussion: Social networking will play a vital role in how content is consumed.
Dayton said that Helio, which allows its customers to gift or beg content with each other, said that a third of the carrier's game downloads have been gifted or begged. "It's a new concept for the whole industry to figure out," said Dayton. "In the future, the majority of content consumption will be a direct result of a recommendation, and it will be powerful if you can get it with one click," he predicted.
Hawkins: "MySpace.com and reality TV are forms of exhibitionism... People care about belonging, participating and contributing... The phone makes it easy to join and communicate... I believe, and Dan would probably agree, that his customers would sign up to be a member of a service that would tell them where the latest rave is happening but also tell them there is a need for volunteers at the local hospital." Schulman shook his head yes.
Schulman: "Big media is already beginning to feel the effects of social networking... User generated content gives the ability to personalize, search and organize... But we have a little bit of a ways before user generated content can take on big media."
- My sources say that T-Mobile probably won't be offering UMA phones and service this year. In fact, it hasn't even begun trialing UMA in any markets yet.
Correction: I erroneously wrote that Third Screen Media had run about 150,000 advertising campaigns. What should have been said was that the average budget for ad campaigns now run in the $100,000 to $150,000 range compared with $25,000 to $50,000 last year. Today, the company handles about 100 million ad impressions. The majority are off-deck with a lot running on the Verizon Wireless network.-Lynnette