Better recommendation or referral engines need to be developed to drive a “Long Tail” model of consumption of digital content via mobile phones. 24-7 Entertainment have revealed that 4.13m out of 4.5m available tracks have never been downloaded. This might mean that mobile music services could get away just with making available 900,000 tracks. However, that’s missing the opportunity: recommendation engines (“You liked that, so you might like this” – see iTunes) and referral services (“What I’m listening to…” widgets on MySpace and Facebook) make people aware of other choices. There’s also an argument for serendipity engines to pull out the obscure for people to take a risk in.
Last entry I talked about Life Caching websites, and have just come across Nokia’s new media sharing service, Ovi, that encourages mobile users to become their own digital media production and distribution channel, using just their Nokia phone. That’s a lot more new digital channels – even if only a 10th of all mobile subscribers own a Nokia!
By end of Q4 2008, there will be 4bn mobile subs globally. The global penetration of mobile is expected to reach 70% by 2011, with Africa remaining the only country with less than a 50% penetration rate.