Sunday, October 02, 2005

Viability of Media Mobilisation

As the world becomes increasingly mobilised by technology, this mobilisation seeps into every aspect of our lives, a major area where this can be seen to be happening rapidly is within the media. Recently Vodafone has released within it’s ‘third generation’ mboile services the option of watching streaming mobile television on mobile phones, this being added to the already diverse offerings of other media such as news reports, weather, and gossip columns already available through their ‘3G services’.

Up to now though one area where the media(newspapers atleast) has not been bale to infiltrate in the mobile world has been the amazingly popular Blackberry . To those who are not familiar with this device it is basically a mobile phone with a keyboard which gives those ‘on the run’ the ability to check and reply to emails wherever and whenever they want. In the US and gradually here this device has ‘taken off’, driven by celebrities and high flying business executives who now regard it as the new ‘must be seen with’ item.
Getting back to it’s relevance to the media, up until now there has been no ‘Blackberry’ specific forms of newspapers available for this device. As reported in the the New Zealand Herald recently this has changed, with the Finacial Times in the United Kingdom releasing an free edition of their online newspaper specifically designed in a stripped down form for the Blackberry. While being hailed as the beginning of a revolution in the way we receive media, the financial and long term viability of this approach has been questioned by shareholders and media commentators alike. They bring into question what effect this will have on the actual print sales of the newspaper and highlight the danger of the Financial Times ‘cannibalising’ their main revenue source by offering a free version of the newspaper to anyone with a Blackberry.
This emphasizes the difficulties of such mobile forms of the media in relation to their ability to be financially viable and whether they have a future in the world media sphere. This is rebutted by editor of the Financial Times, Andrew Gowers who sees the mobilisation not only as a tool to reach a global audience, but the way that all newspapers will be moving in the future. He even goes as far as stating that other newspapers that don’t jump on the technology bandwagon and grasp the world of mobilisation will fall behind spelling their own demise as the world moves away from hard copy print forms.

Who is right in this, only time can tell, but what this highlights is that technology and the accelerated mobilisation of the media will play an increasingly large part in media and it will be interesting to see where mobilisation will take the media in the not so distant future.

Alisdair Hungerford-Morgan


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