This conference has had the worst speaker drop-out rate I’ve experienced. Partly those CTIA hangovers, perhaps, or they heard there was no wireless access…
Anyway, three speakers dropped this session out of a panel of four, so Orange’s head of multimedia development Jonathan Jowitt stood in.
— Jowitt said recommendation is key to navigating the huge amount of content around us: users would rather be sent a friend’s playlist rather than searching through their whole library. The playlist idea has been used by Orange but that said, it has only been used by two percent of users. The ‘buy a track for a friend’ service has had a similarly low response but Jowitt said that can be tackled by education and by reassuring customers that there are no hidden charges.
— Beth Appleton, head of new media at V2, said some badly set-up subscription services and hidden prices had damaged the mobile music business. She cited examples of users that had downloaded videos and tracks but been shocked when the bill came through at the end of the month. “Content owners need to be very careful. Subscription has been damaging to our industry – we need to make sure that every payment is made clear and understood.”
— Appleton and Jowitt agreed that mobile P2P is likely to be huge but is still a long way off. Jowitt said that it’s not that Orange doesn’t allow P2P filesharing, but that people have tried it and it doesn’t work. DRM is the big issue there of course, said Jowitt: “We have to get to the model where when I buy something I can use it across my devices. I’m not being a pirate. We have to educate handset manufacturers, delivery platforms and IP platforms so that everyone feels comfortable with the space as it morphs.” Appleton said getting P2P working on mobile should be a phenomenon as it is online but the industry has to work out how to legitimise that through sponsorship or upselling: “We need a model that encourages people to use P2P in a positive manner”.
This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.