Feeds

Disney expands mobile vision

Despite Mobile ESPN failure

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

Despite killing its Mobile ESPN sports-oriented MVNO last year, the Disney Group aims to step up virtual mobile network activities in other areas as part of a broad ranging strategy to use mobile systems to underpin its content business and marketing.

In this way, the media powerhouse is showing the way that many heavily branded companies are likely to evolve - away from simple extension of the brand through running a mobile service, to incorporating mobility into every link of the value chain.

Disney has hinted at more creative approaches to wireless in the past, with experiments such as a trial of a WiMAX network to deliver its own content. But its commercial moves have mainly focused on providing content to mobile operators such as NTT DoCoMo in Japan; and the MVNOs - Disney Mobile, fairly successful in the US but stalled in Europe; and the now defunct ESPN Mobile, which sought to leverage the brand and content of the Disney-owned sports channel.

Now Larry Shapiro, executive VP for the Walt Disney Internet Group, says Disney has amassed sufficient expertise about what works in mobile to take this a step further.

"It's a painful business operationally. The good news about that is, the better you get at it, the more you're separating yourself from all but a handful of competitors," he said in a recent interview.

He is particularly interested in stealing a march on other content providers in terms of exploiting mobile marketing, with "deeply integrated" promotions with other businesses around movies or Disney Channel TV shows.

It tested some techniques recently for its movie Pirates of the Caribbean II: Dead Man's Chest, using mobile promotional materials including short codes that drove users to a WAP site for information and content purchase; and the Pirates 'mobile club'.

Small steps maybe, but the plan is to accumulate many such activities to "turn on the giant marketing machine of the Walt Disney Co, to piggyback on that and integrate with that, to help with creating mobile awareness, discovery and the existence of and potential fun with mobile content," Shapiro said.

Disney Mobile will be revamped in the US around midyear. The company points to the difficult but essential trick to succeeding in the crowded MVNO space without price crashing - offering a unique differentiator with genuine user appeal and real brand association.

In Disney's case, it links its family oriented content with services such as parental access control over juniors' phone usage, or handset tracking to locate lost children. This takes the service beyond just "Disney on a phone" - something that could equally easily be offered through third party operator partners, as the Mobile ESPN content and services are now part of Verizon VCast - and into a range of offerings that commands customer loyalty for practical as well as brand reasons.

Copyright © 2007, Wireless Watch

Wireless Watch is published by Rethink Research, a London-based IT publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter delivers in-depth analysis and market research of mobile and wireless for business. Subscription details are here.

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.