MECCA kicked off yesterday with a trail of breadcrumbs leading back to Sprint's VP of business development/planning & strategy Paul Reddick, whose keynote presentation blended interactive entertainment with a good-old fashioned speech--a savvy way to remind the audience that the carrier is not just a dumb pipe or voice-only transporter, but a rising force in the entertainment industry.
Reddick donned the racing track suit that, supposedly, Will Ferrell wore in his role as Ricky Bobby in the recent flick Talladega Nights, a tip of the hat toward the original, made-for-mobile shorts that Ferrell did in character for Sprint's video services. As Reddick read off the top myths about mobile content, he asked the audience to yell "Bust it" and those who participated were rewarded with a far-flung jumbo bag of Wonder Bread to the face, delivered from the stage by Reddick. Reddick's antics, however, did not overshadow the game-changing announcement he let slip in: Sprint inked a deal with Enpocket for ads on their WAP deck, which is today's top story.
Reddick structured his keynote around nine "myths" that he thinks are pervasive in the wireless industry: Carriers are strictly content distributors, technology is the biggest limiting factor, mobile entertainment is just portable entertainment, mobile TV is just tiny TV, repurposed content alone will do, mobile entertainment has to be commercial free, customers won't pay a premium for "now" availability, mobile entertainment markets itself and mobile carriers are inhibiting market growth and they don't care. Reddick believes these are all myths, and if you agree he'll give you bread. So drop him a note.
Last night was also a big night for parties: MES, ShowStoppers the MMA/MECCA Bash and Verizon's "Off the Record" party. After getting a real meal, we set off for ShowStoppers, which was conveniently located in the same venue as the MES happy hour. I spoke with Capcom's Mike Larson briefly and had a nice chat with the folks at WhiteBlox. They have a slick looking UI for IPTV and are looking to take it mobile soon. A few drinks and bread sticks later, the Fierce team made its way to the Figueroa Hotel for the MMA/MECCA Bash, which was jam-packed with top execs from across the mobile content value chain and a seemingly endless supply of hors d'oeuvres.
Don't forget to swing by the FierceWireless Oasis reception at CTIA, today, Sept. 12, from 6 until 9 at the Mariott Pool Gardens. More than 1,200 of the top wireless telecom execs have RSVP'd so far and we're really excited about this event. Please RSVP to attend. We'd love to see you all there.
*Oasis will take place during CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment 2006, but is not affiliated with or endorsed by CTIA. - Brian