Thousands of attendees including almost 10,000 folks at the Music Matters "Live with HP" festival (which ran over five nights) and 2,500 participants at the YouTube 'FanFest with HP' rocked out at the slickly produced Digital & Music Matters conference last week. This conference and its chart-topping stats continued to impress; with close to 400 companies from 30 countries being represented. There were 18 YouTube stars (who can boast combined viewership of 3.8 billion viewers thus far) along with some 140 speakers, over 120 journalists, 30 headline sponsors, 80 or so Media and industry association partners, and all-in-all as many as 175 artists attended.
InternetQ itself was represented in the auditorium by VP Colin Miles, who as Chair of MEF, took to the main stage of the event (in a ballroom that housed 750 seats) and often 1000 delegates (and music fans) depending on the acts that were entertaining on stage. The Chairman's job was simple, work over a Panel of experts on the topic of: Mobile TV: Where's the Dough in on-the-go? Top speakers included, Neeraj Roy, Founder/CEO from Hungama Digital Media Entertainment (India), Kaymun Amin, MD of VU Mobile (Bangladesh), Jeff Whatcott, CMO of Brightcove, Anthony Zameczkowski, Head of Music, YouTube APAC and David Loiterton, MD for Omnifone across Asia. The lively cut-and-thrust generated a lot of positive feedback as well as some very short answers to the main question at hand; namely, show me the money! Everyone agreed it was down to offering flexible subscriptions. The Panel was streamed live globally – part of almost 58 hours of high quality streaming content.
Of course, this time last year, InternetQ PLC had the pleasure of announcing the Asian launch of its popular Akazoo service – and just one year on, the maturing market in Asia has seen late comers; such as Deezer and Spotify also launch themselves aggressively in the region.
That said, for the content thematics, there was a quite a shift in focus given the impactful nature of Social Music globally. In particular, the YouTube sponsored fan fest dramatically enlivened proceedings with both local and international super stars of the platform. The live music that accompanied the event was top-notch with bands of all shapes and sizes gaining traction and networking parties coming to the fore, especially with the exciting launch of the first-ever "Asian Top 40" syndicated radio show. The highlight however, might well have been an improvised dubstep rap on the HP stand from Australian legend DubFX (real name Benjamin Stanford) and Canadian rap star @TheKidFamous.
Industry-wise, the change of dynamic is palpable and the labels are hurriedly getting on board with fan-based, fan-driven, even fan paid idols being feted outside of the traditional cogs-and-pulleys of the music business. As you can imagine, and if any further proof was needed, the show itself had huge social network leverage with over 70,000 Facebook likes and the hashtags like #matterstome trending on Twitter throughout the week. It will soon become a familiar refrain of course, with Artists themselves independently generating new levels of social media buzz that's music to their ears.
The GMIC event is now firmly entrenched nationally, with also a mirror event occurring Silicon Valley (named GMIC SV) to encourage American investors to get involved in the market.
In Beijing, InternetQ dipped its toes into the convention space for the first time with a stand at the ‘App Space’ level of the China National Convention Centre (CNCC). The venue lies in the shadow of China’s Olympic Park with the famous Bird’s Nest Stadium and colourful Aqua centre just nearby.
There were about 300 other contenders as well as a full exhibition Hall with the likes of Samsung and Nokia, plus Google Ads and Millenial Media on display. However, outside in the ground foyer there was a lot of action too. Global ad network InMobi had a sizeable stand – and far and away the busiest was the XiaoMi stall which was constantly besieged with potential customers. XiaoMi is a dedicated Android phone with pre-loaded music and other Chinese treats; it sold 7 million units in 2012 and predicts more than double that this year. The Android platform itself boasts greater than 90 percent penetration in China.
Content providers were there as well, including Mobile 91, whom we later discovered ran an OTT App store of some 800,000 Chinese Apps – which gets about 15 million downloads per day!
With a full crew in place, the InternetQ stand was busy throughout and we had the support of our interpreter Sophia, colleagues Nikos and Dimitris from Greece as well as Oscar and Chelsea from Singapore. As MEF Chairman, Colin was on stage too, along with senior reps from InMobi, PayPal and Chelsea Football Club, for an engaging debate as to the state of mobile branding. Which, in truth, often focused on football rather than branding – but GMIC tweeted the key news that was delivered by InternetQ. Namely, that “Push Notifications are the most effective form of advertising today”.
In allowing members of the public to come along and walk freely around the exhibition downstairs (as the organizers did once again) they could chit chat with booth owners and happily spin some of the showcased product's wheels to see what happens. However, it also made for huge audiences for the open seminars conducted by speakers from around the region. This in turn allows for thousands of people to hear what industry experts are saying about what's going on in mobile, social and eCommerce these days.
InternetQ was offered the chance to present on the topic of "Extending the Life and Value of Apps". So, following-on from our highly successful Theatre Shows in Barcelona, we presented on the ultra-hot topic of Mobile Advertising, Push Notifications and our very own, ever-expanding solution for developers and publishers around the world, namely Minimob!.
The feedback was electric and the audience reaction well worth the effort put in to present a well-crafted argument as to how mobile advertising through its early iterations has somewhat failed the so-called $20 billion industry – and that 'opt in' push notifications can change all that in a flash. From the audience, a few items on campaign execution were raised and the general prevailing issues of privacy and intrusion quite easily tackled, with people eventually understanding the premise as well as the 'inbox' opportunity InternetQ had amply illustrated.
On the other hand, upstairs at the Mobile Show, delegates were getting hard to locate in the tracks at the "paid" conference – and that was a slight loss for all concerned, as InternetQ's VP Colin Miles moderated an enjoyable and challenging panel of experts discussing the equally topical subject of "Streaming Music and Mobile Operators". With senior representatives from Sony Music, Deezer and DTAC Thailand who produced an incisive view of the state of the industry, plus outlining the powerful effect of music consumption and bundling strategies on subscribers around the World in terms of improving loyalty and lowering churn rates.
Some tricky questions were raised, but the end result was that only a handful of people got up close to companies, like InternetQ that are leading the field in this area. The industry is keen to take a gamble, especially as streaming has such a defensible anti-piracy argument behind it and with improving networks much less reason to worry about delivering great social music services from the Cloud like Akazoo. Next year, with a little organizational dexterity, we’re pretty sure they’ll be another full house!
It’s patently clear that Mobile phones, more than 850 million them nationwide at last count, have unleashed an astounding array of services, both for those office workers busy in the metropolis as well as for the peasant farmer’s hard-at-work in rural villages. To further gain insight, MEF invited Mr Sashi Shankar, Chief Marketing Officer of IDEA Cellular to address the gathered array of industry elite.
As part of the giant Aditya Birla Group, IDEA Cellular is one of the country's biggest operators with some 113 million subscribers and with this in mind, Sashi gave a charmingly pragmatic insight into the challenges for Mobile VAS, past and present; but more importantly also outlined some of the future opportunities that are growing with the penetration of internet-connected smartphones – currently seven per cent of his total base.
That said, the megalithic state of mobile in India is changing and this tectonic shift can been witnessed every day during Ad-breaks on TV, with phone after phone being advertised – including a compelling range of OEM/ODM phones (such as MicroMax and Karbonn) now featuring a quad core touch screen handset running Android that matches anything from the West for just USD$200. These units however, are already being discounted further!
Like the mountain ranges of the Himalayas, in Mobile terms, metamorphic rocks are rising all across the country; so it makes sense for all MEF members such as InternetQ PLC to start the climb to the summit.
Happening next week in Singapore, the Internet & Mobile Show is reputedly Asia's largest and most holistic digital marketing business event. It features six conference tracks: Social Media, Content Management & Apps, Enterprise Mobility & The Cloud, Digital & Mobile Marketing, E&M-Commerce and Mobile VAS & M2M.
InternetQ spokesperson and MEF Asia chair, Colin Miles will be busy presenting twice at the event, firstly to the general public (where entrance is free) on the topic of "extending the life and value of your app" primarily through minimob.com -- and secondly moderating a top-notch industry panel on the subject of steaming music, using the unique akazoo.com perspective.
If you are in Singapore at that time, it's well worth a look - and listen. (The Internet Show)
Are BRICs the building blocks of the future?
It's fair to say that a lot has been written about the collective geography more familiarly known as BRICs (Brazil, Russia, China, India) although recently amended with the recently added South Africa.
InternetQ has more than a passing interest in all these massively mobile countries with existing projects and business. In the next couple of weeks, further exploration and exposition will take place; via events in both India and China.
For India: Corporate Relations VP Colin Miles will officiate at the inaugural MEF Connects India event in Mumbai on April 22nd. The event is headlined by Idea Cellular CMO Mr Sashi Shanker who'll be addressing the topic: Opportunities and challenges for Mobile VAS players in India... and has a truly stellar list of industry invitees. (MEF Connects)
For China: Once again, InternetQ has been invited to speak at a headlining nationwide Mobile Internet event, namely GMIC in Beijing on May 7&8th. It looks set to be a huge event with more than 300 developers in attendance. InternetQ will be on stage with a who's who of the global mobile business and in particular the top guns from InMobi and GetJar. Covering two billion subscribers in three weeks seems ambitious, but all in a day's work for the team at InternetQ PLC! (GMIC)
Today, the formal audited results were issued and at the same time, carefully illustrated by InternetQ CEO and founder Panos Dimitropoulos. Key monetary headlines highlighted that operating revenue is up by a sizeable 47 percent to €73.4 million and perhaps equally importantly, adjusted Profit after tax has risen by 131 percent, leaving a more than decent EPS (Earnings Per Share) level advancing by 102 percent year-on-year!
That's not the end of it though, because in a no-holds-barred interview with Jeremy Naylor from ProactiveInvestors, Panos added even more concrete into the analyst's mixer - the strong additional message being that the future is just as, if not palpably more, exciting than the present. In fact, so much goodwill has been constructed globally -- through both branded partnership announcements and pile-driving new products; that even battle-hardened analysts are running fast to try and catch up with it all.
Operationally-speaking, InternetQ continues to expand its customer base (now with over 165 corporate clients) having also delivered 36 mobile marketing campaigns during the year. There has been a tremendously strong start to 2013 with trading firmly in line with market expectations. As such, CEO Panos added: "We remain confident that InternetQ is uniquely placed to benefit from the rapid growth in smart phone proliferation globally and look forward to continuing to create value for shareholders."
As such, InternetQ has joined with Samsung nationwide in Greece to provide the amazing Akazoo catalogue of more than 15 million music tracks to those savvy Samsung customers who purchase from a wide range of nominated high-end devices. Namely, the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Galaxy SIII & mini, Galaxy Tab.2 (10.1 & 7.0) and Galaxy Note 10.1.
Customers will want to take note of these top-of-the-range device numbers, because they are packaged with a unique code which unlocks the entire catalogue of Akazoo.com – more especially, with unlimited music streaming served-up for free for three months.
Both partners are trumpeting this exciting offer with a significant media campaign which encompasses the full symphonia of media promotion – whether it is in store and through retail partners with video displays; such as at Vodafone shops, or via widespread print and magazine; plus digital communications.
The prized coupons themselves are valid until the end of July and activation success will be reviewed accordingly. Everyone can take a look at what's on offer at the Google Play store or through Samsung's own website – and also in partnership with other high traffic web properties.
To reprise: with the Akazoo android app, you can listen to, discover and save unlimited music to your android phone. Music lovers can login with Facebook and immediately listen to over 15 million songs, popular hits, new releases and old favorites. When you’re in the mood to hear something new, follow friends – or happily sample through a myriad of artists to discover new sounds.
Now, there's no better way to stay in tune with the world's leading smartphone company – and the planet's most social music streaming service, Akazoo.com.
Come meet us at kiosk #2758 in the innovation alley.
For inquiries or to schedule a meeting, please contact email@example.com
Happily, InternetQ was a significant part of this burgeoning program: firstly with its rather inviting stand: uniquely cool, calm and collected in appearance and yet, a 'très chic' destination for delegates that was situated right in the heart of the buzzing "App Planet". Operators from as far afield as South Korea, South Africa, the Americas, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe dropped by to see what was on offer. And secondly, by running two magic-themed mPowered brands sessions on Social Entertainment in the well-appointed and Hollywood-like, Theater District in Hall 8.0.
The GSMA, as event organiser and impresario, revealed MWC13 delivered a sizeable surprise as 72,000 people attended the event in Barcelona. Attendance was up eight per cent on last year, with visitors coming from over 200 countries. Importantly, at least 50 per cent of attendees held C-level roles, with more than 4,300 CEOs popping-up here-and-there around the venue. John Hoffman, GSMA's Chief Wizard said: "We are thrilled with the record results for Mobile World Congress 2013, in our first year here in Fira Gran Via. Mobile is one of the most vibrant and dynamic industries... and the innovation that is powering the sector was clearly evident throughout...”
Whilst it felt like the show came and went in a flash -- given the huge amount of work goes into the logistics and staging -- prodigious effort was put in across the board to make the show an outstanding success from a company standpoint. More than 4,000 people registered for tickets to the musically-driven InternetQ sessions – and audience feedback was electric for its presentations on Social Entertainment and the App ecosystem.
The highlight of the sessions saw media maestro Apostolos Zervos (SVP, Business Development) serve up some mercurial insight into both the impact of the Harlem Shake – and illustrate the tricks of the trade behind its meteoric global rise: one thing’s for sure, it’s a kind of magic!