In the Executive Seat: Christoph Hermes

Stewart Tongue
As the adult industry becomes increasingly entrenched in the blossoming mobile market, fierce competition for dominance in a variety of mobile niches has become a major story this year. However, much can be learned from the pioneers of the mobile market who have been profiting from WAP, SMS and a variety of international markets for a few years already.

Pink Adventure AG was one of the first successful mobile marketing firms to capitalize on the desire of many clients for adult content readily available on their handheld devices. The pinksim! brand is well established in many countries and the company has already overcome obstacles now facing many webmasters adopting the mobile platform.

XBIZ recently sat down with Pink Adventure AG CEO Christoph Hermes to gain greater insight:

XBIZ: Pink Adventure AG was among the first companies to move into the adult mobile market in 2006. Are you finding it easier now because of technological advances and billing advances since then?

Christoph Hermes: Well it’s more or less the same, to be honest, because we have been using a subscription model for years now. The new technology brings advantages because we have new possibilities regarding services, applications and portals. For example, WAP billing is become as readily available as billing over Premium SMS. The way we implement services depends also on the country. There are differences between Germany and Greece for example. Modifying your campaigns to specifically target each market is a key part of handling mobile business and earning from the greatest number of consumers.

XBIZ: How has pinksim! evolved its content and distribution since the time when it first started? What are some of the things you have learned along the way?

Hermes: We have been doing TV marketing since the very first day. This was and still is successful but means a lot of work needs to be done in advance because if you book the wrong channels the conversion is bad and you lose money. We have invested a lot of time and effort in identifying the right channels so that our content is now localized.

Over the years we learned which channels we can work with profitably and how to identify new ones more efficiently. Print ads, marketing through the web and other non-traditional ways are all important; we never rely on only one method to reach our goals.

Our affiliate partners use our system and bring in additional income via mobile services and we have strategic deals with more then 50 big players in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Greece which gives us a strong presence throughout Europe.

At the start our content was somewhat limited to videos, images and games because of bandwidth. Now, Live Cams, streaming videos and more personalized adult content has become possible and increased the size of the overall market which allows us to continue our development as well. What is important is that the quality always has to be as perfect as possible because mobile consumers can be even more particular than desktop customers.

XBIZ: This year is appears many major adult online companies are putting more focus on the mobile market. How do you think that will impact consumers or Pink Adventure?

Hermes: Well I believe that more and more users will use mobile services, applications and products. So therefore it could only be better for us. Also, because of our growing affiliate business, I’m looking forward to working together with more quality partners. So if U.S.-based online companies have traffic in Europe, we can monetize it and generate high income for them because we understand how the business model has to be and we have products in place to convert it effectively.

One important mistake I often see from companies new to mobile marketing is the false belief that everyone is using an iPhone. Don’t forget, the entire world mobile market is not always using an iPhone.

XBIZ: The American mobile market has trailed behind Europe and Asia but seems to be growing rapidly now. Do you approach American customers the same way you approached consumers in Europe or Asia? Do you think the American market is finally ready to embrace mobile content distribution completely?

Hermes: Well, each market is different and for us it is not a question who is in front or behind. It doesn’t matter who has the lead. What is important is that you offer the right products for each local market.

Asians like different content than we Europeans or you Americans do — although we all like certain over-arching themes. So that’s why I can say that we know the European market better than any competitors, because it is our local thing and we look forward to partner with anyone seeking to monetize European mobile traffic.

In general I believe that the world is ready for mobile now much more than it was two or three years ago. The combination of portals, applications and downloads now available for the average consumer is fueling a lot of growth.

XBIZ: Is there a new technology, content provider or project you are looking forward to in 2010 — a new service or feature that you would like to announce?

Hermes: Well I’m looking forward to more streaming possibilities, mobile VOD and intelligent communities as well as interactive applications. We are happy that our business has a substantial growth factor and I am always interested in discussing new products or content that can be provided for our customers, so I look forward to hearing from the developers reading this article as well.

We have already created growth by offering our own mobile interface, redirecting users connecting with a mobile phone to mobile portals best suited to their handheld device and providing direct buying possibilities.

XBIZ: Is there any advice you would give someone considering bringing their content to mobile customers?

Hermes: A range of services and applications are necessary to bring users continued fun with subscription services capable of generating long term profits. With mobile it’s very important not to narrow your company into a single niche or kind of content.

Different payment methods like Premium SMS, WAP billing, premium voice and alternative billing should be used, especially when you broaden your customer base to include many countries.

All of your content needs to be optimized for multiple devices because customers refer friends to your site but may have completely different devices in their hands. Having a strategy for branded or non-branded content is fine, while good marketing brings some value and direct response marketing is efficient, but what honestly matters the most is quality.

If your quality is low you won’t make money no matter what else you do well.

Partnering with experienced companies already in the market is an excellent option for most content owners seeking to curtail risk while generating the maximum revenue. As usual, there simply is no substitute for having experience on your side.