Media: Double Standards - 'No doubt innovation is alive and well in the UK'

Mobile has yet to fulfil its potential as an ad medium, but, as two chiefs of the industry believe, it is only a matter of time before brands start to exploit what it can offer.

MARTIN BOWLEY - CHIEF EXECUTIVE, PITCH ENTERTAINMENT

- Briefly explain what your company does.

Pitch is a global digital mobile business.We create and sell content direct to the consumer and mobilise content for business to sell to the consumer.

- Which advertisers use your services?

In the past six months, we have carried Adidas, O2, Red Bull and easyJet. I think the future will be about reflecting the brand experience and understanding where the communication sits within the overall strategy, rather than just getting a test drive.

- What are the barriers to advertisers using mobile marketing?

There should be no barriers to mobile marketing. It should sit on the media plan as naturally as online does. With Google's recent announcement about mobile search coupled with the recent launch of the new iPhone, and Pitch Entertainment's launch of Red Dwarf content on mobile, something more concrete is now happening: the models are becoming clearer.

- Why is your audience valuable to advertisers?

I've always thought that mobile is the baton that links all other media - it's, literally, the medium that you don't want to leave home without. If you have children and you target 16- to 24-year-olds, just watch their consumption.

- How do you recruit customers and publicise your business?

We are significant investors in WAP and the web.I am staggered with the service and ideas you get from Google and the other online companies.A lot of the opportunities for recruiting customers you have to find yourself, so we are building a significant in-house media department to work alongside Carat and our online partners worldwide.

- How advanced in mobile marketing is the UK compared with other markets?

There is no doubt innovation is alive and well in the UK, and that some of the product I've seen is breathtaking. Are we advanced? When you look at what is happening in Korea or Japan, then, obviously, we're not. But as mobile is truly a digital global business, with no country barriers, successful products will literally "fly" around the world.

- What does your role at the company involve?

I'm the chief executive at Pitch Entertainment, and my role is to apply traditional skills to what is a fast-moving digital market.We have built a terrific team at Pitch that combines mobile and external skills, with every single person being focused on one clear objective.

- You've both worked for large, traditional media owners. How are you finding the change?

The key change is that we are part of the traditional world's problem - they are trying to get to where we are already at. And we will always be faster. I've enjoyed engaging in a new world of people and companies, and there is terrific talent outside the "old world". I have loved every second of my career in TV and have plenty of stories: Michael Green on sparkling form. Outstanding. David Cameron wrestling with the Annual Report. Memorable. But do I miss the boys and girls in finance? Not one bit!

SHAUN GREGORY - UK CHIEF EXECUTIVE, BLYK

- Briefly explain what your company does.

Blyk is new, exciting and innovative. We think consumers shouldn't have to pay for communication, and advertisers should demand better response levels. Blyk is the mobile network for 16- to 24-year-olds funded by advertising. For advertisers, Blyk is an innovative media channel giving them access to 16- to 24-year-olds, and we can help brands create awareness, build relationships and drive sales.

- Which advertisers use your services?

We are appealing to more brands every day. Much of that is down to the response levels and the depth of the medium. Blyk offers a unique one-to-one dialogue. There are more than 50 brands using the service today, representing almost every industry sector. It is about connection and dialogue.

- What are the barriers to advertisers using mobile marketing?

Mobile suffers from much the same problem as online did in the late 90s. It is not well understood, and lacks a bit of consistency across the industry. This will change, and advertisers will see the potential of this medium. Before launching Blyk, we talked with advertisers and agencies to understand the barriers. We found that they stem from a lack of experience, coupled with the fear that mobile could be seen as "spam" by the recipient.

- Why is your audience valuable to advertisers?

Our 16- to 24-year-old members represent a target segment that is attractive to advertisers, yet is hard for them to reach effectively. Additionally, the people who join Blyk opt in to the service. This means advertisers can reach an audience that's predisposed to receiving brand messages. Advertising, then, is not something to be "just tolerated", but rather it becomes useful information.

- How do you recruit customers and publicise your business?

Blyk is an invite-only network and recruitment is via the distribution of invite codes. We have a network of bands and artists who can distribute invites across their fanbases; we also have a network of brands and partners who can do the same to their mailing lists and a series of street teams.

- How advanced in mobile marketing is the UK compared with other markets?

This market is the largest in Europe, which is precisely why Blyk chose it to launch here first. The UK is also very developed in media terms, and is well placed to take full advantage of what mobile can offer consumers and advertisers. You'll find other markets that are more advanced, such as Japan, for example.

- What does your role at the company involve?

I knew when I met Pekka, Antti and Leif (the co-founders and chief operating officers) that this opportunity was too good to miss. What impressed me was the lack of appetite for any formal job description. Everyone at Blyk has a clearer idea of what they're supposed to deliver and where the value gets created. It's very innovative and organic. So, my role is still forming and developing.

- You've both worked for large, traditional media owners. How are you finding the change?

The change is refreshing. I've spent years working at large, traditional media owners. Blyk is different. I like the fact everyone is so passionate. To say it's exciting wouldn't do it justice. I'm enjoying being in a company that can change things in minutes, and has the consumer experience at the heart of all its thinking. Smaller outfits have the chance to be nimble and move faster, which is a breath of fresh air. You learn that there are some really bright people outside of the big players, and that is inspirational.