CTIA Wireless 2005: You Know Wireless Content Has Come Of Age When…

…stakeholders argue over who gets to put in more capital. At a panel session today at CTIA, Execs from AOL, Disney, MTV, Yahoo!, ABCNews, and Newscorp talked about convergence, mobile content, and the next big thing. There seemed to be a feeling like richer media was going to be playing a larger role as networks and terminals evolve. Music, video, and music video won the most support. But the most interesting thing I found in the panel was when Disney Internet Group EVP Larry Shapiro (for whom I worked when I was at the house of mouse) and Greg Clayman, a VP at MTV pointed out that a few years back, content companies, developers, and carriers would try to avoid investment and argue over who took the risk in wireless development by laying out the capital. They point out that, ironically, today there is still an argument over who makes the capital investment, but that this time they are fighting over taking a larger share, so they can assure a larger share of the upside. That demonstrates a level of confidence in this industry. Shapiro went on to illustrate the point by pointing at the upcoming ESPN MVNO, where ESPN owner Disney has chosen to take on a much larger share of the risk, so that they can participate in a much larger piece of the reward pie. Shapiro noted that the commoditized voice is still 95% of wireless carrier revenue, so ESPN could differentiate on brand and data, but participate in the voice profit only by launching an MVNO.

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