opinion

A New European Mobile Market

Judy Shalom

It’s no longer a well kept secret that digital commerce is moving toward mobile platforms at a global pace that continues to accelerate. In many countries the proliferation of mobile phones and data plans now dwarfs the number of traditional desktop computers. The infrastructure improvements necessary to expand mobile connectivity further are being given top priority by governments and corporations who understand the growing importance of these services to emerging economies and modern societies. Now some primary markets are faltering as they create artificial obstacles for content providers to overcome, while other nations in Europe appear poised to become key target markets for forward-thinking content providers.

When many American business owners think of European markets, they unintentionally limit their scope to the well-known economic strongholds of Western Europe, including Germany, France and the U.K. as examples. In the last 10 years these countries have lead the way toward “always on” connectivity in Europe but now their political climates are becoming increasingly adversarial to adult interests.

In the last 10 years these countries have lead the way toward “always on” connectivity in Europe but now their political climates are becoming increasingly adversarial to adult interests.

Germany has implemented a peculiar set of restrictions and requirements that adult companies must satisfy to do business legally within its borders, and British Prime Minister David Cameron infamously opened a Pandora’s box of censorship problems by advocating nationwide filtering of adult content recently. The proposed changes would require consumers to opt-in to view an unfiltered version of the web without the heavy hand of government obscuring certain topics based purely on the subjective standard of “good taste.”

In the U.K., all mobile operators already have adult content filters on phones, automatically installed and they can only be deactivated by request with proof that the user is over 18 years of age. The U.K. government has also taken additional steps to reach agreements with the largest public Wi-Fi’ operators (O2, Virgin Media, Sky, Nomad, BY and Arqiva) to install mandatory family-friendly content filters on their services by the end of August.

Overall volatility of the EU economy does play a role in digital commerce, with some specific areas rebounding faster than others on a very region specific or even carrier specific scope within individual markets. Each country also has different regulations regarding which price points can be used to bill end users. So, while the macroeconomic effect of national economies may drive infrastructure development, EU economics are not as much of an influence on content price points as some people would expect, since the price points are mainly influenced by legal restrictions that are applied by the different carriers abiding by government regulations.

Mobile marketing within Europe is reaching new untapped areas and bringing in consumers from an increasingly diverse population but the opportunity to earn major profits is counterbalanced somewhat by the complexity and learning curve necessary to remain fully compliant with all authorities that have jurisdiction over your ventures. That’s why many top brands rely on key distribution partners like Affil4You to arrange the right billing options and abide by the regulations, restrictions and cultural obligations of each target audience.

There is no substitute for experience and having an extensive history managing all aspects of European Mobile monetization - from language translations to working with processors who truly understand the marketplace and technical experts capable of optimizing your operations for the devices used in each specific region are essential parts of a cohesive strategy to earn the maximum profit possible, throughout Europe and beyond.

Judy Shalom is Affil4You’s senior sales manager.

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