How Does Your Wireless Garden Grow?

WITH THE MVNO MARKET HEATING UP and network operators vying with each other to differentiate themselves with attractive walled gardens of content, some companies are supplying Miracle-Gro for developing a well-manicured offering with wholesale entertainment and applications.

Private-label plays relieve operators of certain headaches; developing and delivering new services quickly, as well as signing and maintaining relationships with any third-party providers, can be a tough row to hoe. A new crop of wholesale offers include content onboarding, aggregation, formatting, mediation and a variety of billing and payment services.

JumpTap Inc. aims to fertilize carrier revenue streams with a hosted, whitelabel mobile search solution, released during the falls CTIA Wireless Entertainment + IT 2005. Carriers can place a branded search box on the mobile screen, capturing advertising revenue from sponsored links. The Google-esque model lets users mine WAP and Web sites, and formats the resulting pages for mobile viewing. A Keyword Sales Program delivers targeted, keywordbased ads and content to mobile users searching for goods and services. Available as pay-per-click and pay-percall, the program pays carriers for sponsored links. JumpTap also offers an auction system for keywords, advertiser support services and mobile ad inventory services.

The idea, says the company, is to allow wireless carriers to leverage a new revenue model, while increasing subscriber satisfaction. And, by placing a carrier-branded search box on the mobile device, carriers can insulate themselves from competitive threats from large Internet search providers while providing their subscribers with a useful, differentiating mobile search experience.

Meanwhile, some are counting on rich blossoms of revenue in more mainstream areas. Openwave Systems Inc. is buying Musiwave, a white-label music delivery provider for operators. Musiwave offers MVNOs, broadband operators and cellcos a private-label, turnkey solution for selling downloads, ringtones, ringbacks, streamed media and premium services; it maintains agreements with labels and music publishers, and aggregates the content for the provider. The music store functionality will be integrated into Openwaves protocol-agnostic messaging platform, which provides a client-server solution that allows carriers to roll out targeted, personalized data services quickly.

Openwave and Musiwave will deliver a range of options for operators to brand, from ringtones, ringback tones and video tones to full track and streaming services.

Not to be outdone, AG Interactive, a subsidiary of American Greetings, creates a turnkey content package and distributes it via carriers and MVNOs to offer as their own.

AG Interactive signed a multiyear exclusive partnership with Sports Illustrated to develop and distribute premium content. It also is expanding its relationship with Def Jam Enterprises to launch Def Connect, a hip-hop mobile video offering with six channels of mobile-specific content. AG Interactive originally focused on creating content packages for Latinos (Univision Movil) and African-American (Def Jam) subscribers. Sports Illustrated and a recent deal with adult contemporary/jazzfocused Concord Records Inc. will give carrier customers new niches to target, Biniak notes.

And for those interested in being more hands-on in the walled garden, Motorola Inc. has teamed with July Systems Inc. to create a wholesale, eBay for the mobile operator world.

AG Interactive offers carriers turnkey exclusive content from companies such as Sports Illustrated.

Dubbed the Motorola GAMA Integrated Mobile Marketplace, the solution is a Web-delivered, GUI-based portal with password-protected access for marketplace participants to establish, manage and leverage mobile content services. Mobile operators, retailers and content providers can use the marketplace to negotiate relationships, publish content, rate the offers and deliver to the user. Operators and providers can establish promotions, pricing, bundles, personalized marketing efforts, mobile advertising and other content-oriented merchandising efforts. Transactions occur in near-real time.

Advanced retailing capabilities include support for a variety of consumption models, including try-before-you-buy, rentals and full downloads; community services such as referrals and loyalty programs; and personalization from general preferences (sports, or music) to user-specific behavioral targeting of pricing and offerings.

AG Interactive Inc.
American Greetings
Concord Records Inc.
Def Jam Enterprises
eBay Inc.
Google Inc.
July Systems Inc.
JumpTap Inc.
Motorola Inc.
Openwave Systems Inc.
Piper Jaffray & Co.
Sports Illustrated
Univision Movil

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