Evolving approaches, enduring themes. The opening key note is about interactive broadcast TV, i.e. using your mobile phone to interact with, and download content from TV programs like Big Brother and Deal or No Deal.
This is my first time at a World Telemedia conference. It’s billed as Eastern Europe’s number one D2C (direct to consumer) conference, but the organizers are UK-based and a majority of the speakers and companies are from the UK and other parts of western Europe. Many names I’m already familiar with.
Walking through the exhibit hall to get to the opening session, I see booths touting mobile content interactivity via SMS, MMS, IVR, WAP and video calling; WAP chat; global premium numbers; global premium SMS; universal 3G video calling platform; and so on.
What strikes me the most is the parallel with my first Audiotext show, in Las Vegas in 1990! Yes, the technology has diversified enormously, but the underlying themes are the same: adult content, chat and dating, celebrities, sports, games…, and the pervasive problem for independent content providers is billing, thus the focus on premium numbers, short codes, and alternate billing arrangements.