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Mobile Media Advertising Opportunities in Australia

Up next here at the Australasian Media & Broadcasting Congress is Michael Smith, Corporate and Consumer Group Marketing Director at Optus, who shifts our focus to mobile media. He notes that some 75% of the Optus Zoo mobile portal is user-generated - "stuff that's interesting to me". Users want to access content on their own terms, and so Optus is connecting with a number of media industry partners - this is different from the completely integrated Telstra Bigpond approach, or the handset-as-portal approach of the iPhone, for example.

Additionally, there are a number of payment options emerging - the 'Mobile Internet Snacks' approach (small on-the-fly content access allowances at small cost), and the 'Snack Pack' approach (larger packages). A fixed-allowance snack pack like this was also bundled into the iPhone as Optus rolled it out on its network recently.

What about mobile advertising, then? As part of the SingTel group, Optus works across a number of national environments to build a mobile advertising platform; the promise here is that the mobile sits in the user's pocket at any time during the day, and that it may be able to deliver real-time advertising based on user preferences and customised to the area where the user is currently located. What is precious to Optus here is the relationship it has - as a carrier - to its customers. This is complicated by the push towards developing new handsets and new mobile operating systems (such as Google's Android) which also aim to build a direct relationship with users, replacing the carrier as the primary point of contact. (In keeping with the animal imagery of its own ads, Optus follows the 'ROAR' philosophy: mobile advertising deployed through the Optus network must be relevant, optional, add value, and be reasonable.)

Michael also cautions us to beware of the two key choke points between infrastructure, content, and the network. He, too, says that content is not king in this context - the availability of specific content hardly ever encourages users to change mobile networks, and for maximum exposure, content must be available to all, not just to users of specific networks.

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