Angel Gambino believes the only way to handle a market moving ahead at lightning pace is to match it for speed. “There are seismic changes [in the mobile platform] on a monthly basis and pretty big changes almost on a weekly basis,” she observes.
Ms Gambino became vice-president of commercial strategy and digital media at MTV Networks UK in June with a brief covering mobile strategy.
“We see [mobile] as a massive opportunity to engage with our target audience who already use mobiles and portable devices as an entertainment medium,” says Ms Gambino. “In terms of constantly reinventing the brand and remaining relevant for our audiences, mobile is absolutely critical to maintaining those type of relationships.”
MTV now reaches that audience via more than 50 mobile platforms worldwide. In October, in conjunction with Motorola, it launched “Head and Body,” a show made specifically for mobile consumption, featuring eight “mobisodes.”
“The content is not exclusive to Motorola handsets,” Ms Gambino points out. “There’s such a demand for content that all of the operators are benefiting and so are the other handset manufacturers, so I think MTV and Motorola together have helped grow the market.”
And in September, MTV announced a global licensing agreement with Warner Music Group for the use of its music videos in original mobile programming. Hopeful that similar deals will be struck with all the majors, Gambino senses that record companies are showing quicker feet than they did at the onset of the online age.
“The recording industry saw that being slow in certain situations, and trying to make old models fit new paradigms, doesn’t always work. Now they’ve clued in and said ‘We don’t want to make the same mistakes we made in online, in mobile’.
“There are so many changes going on, so many different partnerships along the value chain that it is still a challenging business to make sure everyone can generate enough revenue to make money. If you’re working with the labels plus the publishers plus the network operators plus the aggregators plus the retailers, then you’ve got the big brands and the broadcasters all trying to take a little piece out of £1.99, there’s not so much to go around.”
Nevertheless, Ms Gambino reveals that mobile consumption of MTV’s output is already outstripping that via traditional television viewing in some markets.
“It depends on particular market dynamics, but we do have businesses right now where our mobile revenues exceed our television revenues, already. It will absolutely depend on the level of investment made in mobile. I don’t think we’ll get there just by doing a few extra clips every month.”