Yes, mobile is regional. Loved this piece in Moconews about how Newscorp is handling mobile content in India. It demonstrates the need to fully understand the local market when offering mobile content services internationally. While mobile internet growth in North America has been substantially boosted by increased smartphone penetration, the story is not so simple in other markets. 700 Million handsets in India… That’s a sizable potential audience for any content play.
Using the voice channel creates some interesting opportunities for content owners. When we were building a mobile web presence for NPR several years ago (their first), we used an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system to allow the NPR audience to listen to radio broadcasts on-demand via the phone’s voice channel. At the time, only a small percentage of U.S. mobiles could download or steam audio. Those that could were typically not tied to unlimited data plans. We used IVR as a clever work-around because audio is central to NPR’s brand. This provided simple access to audio on mobile for ANY NPR listener. Further, it required only a small change in user behavior and had no learning curve or technical hoops to jump through.
We’re currently working with a global content owner to help them leverage their content via mobile in international territories. An understanding of the local population, their culture, their habits and prevailing technologies (networks, handsets and billing options) will be critical to their success.
That success, may (and likely should) take on different forms and leverage varying technologies in each territory. Yes, mobile is a global phenomenon, but a one-size fits all approach will leave much of the audience behind.