Although people were banging on about WAP and how massive it was
going to be this time last year, reality has kicked in and people have
realised that it is early days for the technology. The potential of text
messaging and mobile marketing via the bog-standard, second-generation
mobiles possessed by nearly every man and his dog was largely overlooked
by the industry.
It is only over the past six months that we have seen the realisation
that text messaging can very often be the way to a consumer's heart,
with the launch of marketing companies concentrating exclusively on
mobile. Flytxt, for example, has been very active in the space, as has
Worldpop, and nearly every major internet service provider now offers
free text messaging services and uses mobile to notify its consumers
about news, events, stock prices, etc.
Riot-e is a Finnish company (mobile penetration is almost twice internet
penetration in Finland) that launched in February last year, and has
offices in London, Los Angeles, Berlin, Paris, Rome and Singapore.
The mobile marketing group focuses on distributing both promotional
messages and branded content for content providers through agreements
with telcoms operators.
By hooking into the popularity of a product or entertainment program, it
can offer branded SMS games, ringtones and logos. Users may pay per
ringtone or logo or through a premium rate phone call.
Up until now, most of the company's campaigns have been country-specific
but Riot-e intends to launch pan-European campaigns soon.
One promotional campaign was its push for the UK launch of Bridget
Jones's Diary where users could opt in for SMS messages up until the
launch and download ringtones and logos. So successful was this, Riot-e
will run a campaign around the film's launch in Spain with
Riot-e's partnership deal with Marvel Enterprises has also enabled it to
attract nearly 200,000 downloads of X-Men characters by mobile phone
users in Japan.
Funding To date the company has raised dollars 19 million in funding.
The first round of funding was worth dollars 4 million in February 2000,
and in October 2000 the company raised a further dollars 15 million from
the likes of the Carlyle Group, Softbank UK Ventures and CDB Web
Founders Riot-e was founded by its chief executive, Jan Wellmann, its
vice-president of finance and administration, Henri Korpi, and its
creative director, Jani Halme.
Target audience Riot-e is a business-to-business service, providing
marketing and content to mobile users on the behalf of content
providers, so its target audience depends on that of its clients.
Competitors Most mobile marketing companies, such as Flytxt and
THE YEAR AHEAD
We're not convinced
This sector is coming of age so there's currently enough room for all.
However, the rush to launch mobile promotions will more than likely
subside early next year, sorting the men from the boys.