There’s a good deal of activity right now in user-generated content. The potentially important news is that MySpace, which already has 130m members, is coming:
Fox Interactive Media has hired former Vodafone exec Jean-Paul Sanchez as mobile VP for Europe to push the MySpace brand into the mobile arena in 2007, and he said: “My ambition is to get MySpace as wide as possible, which means exploring all options. Our customers are demanding a mobile version, so we’d be foolish not to do this.”
Then there’s Tocmag, based in Sweden but with bags of ambition. It has a free service that allows users to create mini-magazines with up to six pages of text, photos, audio and video.
More than a million Tocmags were downloaded to mobiles across the UK in the first month after launch. Currently top of the ‘public’ Tocmag league is the Movies Tocmag. Published monthly by film buff Jennifer Burk, the six-page mini-magazine has generated nearly 15,000 downloads alone.
Tocmags are totally free to build and can be downloaded to any Java-enabled mobile phone. The only associated cost is the negligible data download fee charged by network operators and incurred by the downloader. (Incidentally, the ‘Toc’ is from Three O’Clock Mobile, the company’s name.)
And Trouble, the Flextech-owned youth entertainment channel on cable, has signed a deal with ad-funded mobile content company Pitch to produce My TV: Homegrown, a TV series of 25 30-minute TV series,. The deal will also see branded content from My TV: Homegrown and exclusive UGC content made available as mobisodes through Pitch.
My TV Homegrown, which launched at the beginning of November, is Trouble’s first show that is fully user-generated television show.
The exclusive mobisodes will be available across all mobile networks through Pitch. The UGC presenter featured in each week’s episode will drive viewers to a bespoke WAP site on Pitch, where viewers will be able to watch exclusive UGC clips originating from the show.
Andrew Kendrick, Head of Marketing at Pitch, called it “a great deal for both parties ... The type of interactivity that you can get between mobile and TV gives us many creative opportunities to explore over the coming months.”
• A Canadian company called OZ has come up with a neat way to encourage users to access social network sites by making their discoverability extremely easy.
Essentially it’s a way for operators to add a handset shortcut which will appear as another menu icon and connects the user with a list of the most popular networking sites and their communities.
“If a new community arrives and becomes a major hit, our solution allows mobile operators to introduce that new community,” said Skuli Mogensen, Oz CEO.
The OZ Mobile Social Networking Solution also supports a variety of billing models, including real-time billing, to enable mobile operators and social networking providers to capitalise on the messaging traffic generated by end-users.