The Perfect Sex Snack

Alexander Reus
As the mobile industry matures, parallels are beginning to emerge that suggest mobile is now where the Internet was in 1997. Back then, online newbies had few points of reference as to what was available out there on the Internet. Directories that were available were those chosen by the ISPs like AOL and CompuServe, often within a commercially based “walled garden” environment. Eventually, search engines began to emerge that allowed surfers to discover the full diversity of what the Internet had to offer.

The same can be said of today’s mobile environment. The gatekeepers to the mobile Internet (Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile) historically have been adept at keeping their subscribers within their branded portals, which are completely controlled and ruled by the carriers themselves, with little or no access to the adult Internet.

But things are rapidly changing, and carriers are gradually moving away from the walled garden approach. Currently about 70 percent of the mobile content downloaded to cellphones in the U.S. comes from a carrier’s own portal. But in Europe, it is already the opposite, thanks to the search engines for wireless access. More and more mobile users have commenced exploring the mobile Internet with the services of Yahoo, Google and MotionBridge, which help consumers to find what they want, not what their carriers want them to find.

It may come as no surprise, but according to Overture, a Yahoo company, only 19 percent of mobile Internet searches are for mobile consumables such as ring tones and logos, 10 percent are for search engines, 5 percent for information services, and a stunning 40 percent are actively seeking out adult content.

Currently having adult content on your mobile phone is fun, and I believe more of a novelty then a “useful” experience. However, I believe this will change in the very near future as faster networks emerge and mobile devices with both larger and more resolute screens and larger memory capacities are available. Once these things are in place, the mobile phone will become a very useful tool for the consumer to explore their sexuality even more privately than on the PC.

I think the opportunity for adult content lies in having a large variety of quality niche content that is searchable and easily accessible. I also believe that getting beyond the novelty that is currently wallpapers and ring tones and into content packages and high-quality video content that an adult customer would deem useful is a key for success. Weekly delivery of content packages via a subscription-based service will allow for the use of a recurring billing model, which, if combined with a quality product that can retain subscribers, is a guaranteed success.

Off-portal content offerings already are the fastest-growing segment of the mobile content market. Also, consider expanding your business into the mobile frontiers. Create multiple distribution channels with various payment methods. Set up your own Mobile Internet sites and embed them in your media mix. Your existing websites are great platforms to cross-sell new on-air content.

It’s not that difficult. Setting up mobile sites and integrating payment facilities is not rocket science. More and more mobile solutions providers can help you. Your adult mobile offering could be the perfect “sex snack” — sex in everyone’s pocket, available at any place, at any time.

Alexander Reus is managing director for Mobile Bridges International Ltd.