CAMPAIGN-I: Behind the hype - Genie's magic for the mobile generation. Mobile internet access will soon be better, so BT's WAP and SMS portal is a winner

Genie's selling point is that it's all about the mobile generation.

For those of us who feel incomplete without calling home ten minutes

before we get there to utter the now irritating phrase: 'I'm on the


It's all about piping out content from the web through to mobile phones

(via SMS and WAP) to - get this - 'create a rich communications and

entertainment experience for today's mobile consumer'. With considerable

attention having been paid to the content, it's not half bad.

Characteristics: You get the usual fair from a good universal portal -

news, gossip, music, competitions, travel, sport and so on. The design

is very clear and you'd have to be some sort of chimp to get lost.

There are nice tie-ins, with ISP services available and a free SMS text

messaging section. The calendar is a good idea as well. This is a sort

of online personal organiser that sends you e-mail or text message


You can even sign up for 'Genie Mobile Dating' if you're really


The site also allows access to content such as MTV, Ladbrokes and E4 and

portal links to AOL, Yahoo!, MSN and Freeserve. is part of a

global network of Genie portals including sites in Germany, the

Netherlands, Spain, France, Italy, Hong Kong and Japan.

Target audience: Clearly, owners of mobile communication devices with

internet access.

Principals: Genie is 75 per cent owned by BT Wireless and 25 per cent

owned by the BT Group. Kent Thexton is the global managing director,

Laurence Alexander is the managing director of Genie UK.

Funding: When Genie was launched last spring, BT committed a whopping

pounds 160 million to the project.

Marketing: Genie has begun with a TV ad campaign in the UK through

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. There's also been marketing to heavy SMS


Competitors: UK portals and integrated portal companies such as


THE YEAR AHEAD - Excellent prospects

It's a good portal with shed-loads of cash to back it. With broadband

internet access coming soon to your mobile, WAP services might just get

to be useful.