Blog Post

MidemNet Mobile: Keynote: NTT DoCoMo’s Takeshi Natsuno

The second keynote of the day was from the always insightful and Takeshi Natsuno, SVP and Managing Director of Multimedia Services at NTT DoCoMo and the father of imode. Takeshi is truly one of the great minds of the mobile content industry, and it is a real shame that good people at the telecoms and content companies of the world do not more closely follow the successful examples for the revenue distribution, marketing and collaboration with content owners pioneered by Natsuno, Matsunaga and others who made imode the success it is today. Perhaps then, there would be a bigger piece of the pie for aggregators if the Japanese model – where the carrier takes nine percent of the gross revenue- were followed in other parts of the world. But I digress.
Natsuno’s unit has always taken music seriously as a part of its mobile content strategy, as evidenced by the company’s decision to take a 40% stake in Tower records Japan, allowing the company to have an active role in the distribution of content on the physical as well as digital and mobile levels. His strategy for music is to develop a cross-platform approach, whereby consumers browse and buy mass-market pop and other hits at physical stores, with PC downloads for more obscure items and mobile for promotional material and links to other delivery methods for downloads and merchandise.
I’m not sure if I agree with all this (for example, carriers are doing a growing business in selling top 40 full-track content via mobile handsets) but there is a practicality in the approach in that it works with the traditional models of the industry – physical is where the majority of recorded music is sold (and most of that is hits), the PC open up a portal into every possible music track for download (in theory) and mobile, with its 24/7 access to the fan, can provide constant promotion and download.
The other significant points from the Japanese market include the use of wallet phones (with a user base of 10 million) for POS music purchases, DoCoMo’s commitment to open standard technology, allowance for data mining based on consumer purchase patterns, and greater security…