Yvonne Chang is the Vice President and Managing Director of Yahoo! Southeast Asia. Ms Chang’s career in the Internet business spans several disciplines, including display and search advertising, online marketing, operations, business development, engineering and product management. Ms Chang joined Yahoo as Head of Advertising Sales in Yahoo! Taiwan and she has held a number of roles including responsibilities in media content production and the monetisation for Yahoo! Search. Yvonne Chang joined Alibaba, Yahoo!’s partner in China, as Vice President. In this role, Ms Chang led search initiatives for Yahoo! China, established performance advertising for the Alibaba group, and started a search centre from scratch at Taobao.com.
Growing smartphone use, new operating systems, mobile broadband, and innovative apps and content are colliding to reshape the landscape of mobile telecommunications. The mobile sector is moving away from its focus on subscriber growth. This shift will have implications for the production, consumption and distribution of video content specifically for mobile devices. A new wave of video content produced for consumption on smartphones - paid video clips, music videos, TV episodes, TV programs and online movies will increase usage and revenues.
Changing the game - bigger and better mobile video by Yvonne Chang, Vice President & Managing Director, Yahoo! Southeast Asia There is a common myth that development and growth for mobile video only exists in advanced economies with mature infrastructure, but this is set to change in Asia’s emerging economies. In a rush to modernise and maximise telecommunication infrastructure, businesses, governments and citizens are leapfrogging technologies to get right into the latest technology or the newest gizmo. From developing high-speed mobile networks that are connecting at speeds of 2.5G to 3G or 4G, a gamut of WiFi hot spots, an exploding ecosystem of mobile apps from different handset manufacturers, entertainment and content portals to the latest smartphones, everyone is rushing to leapfrog to the latest, fastest and best content and entertainment. The mobile sector is moving away from its previous focus on subscriber growth. The expanding demographics of smartphones and new operating systems, the arrival of mobile broadband, and the explosive growth of apps and content are colliding to reshape the landscape of mobile telecommunications. These shifts will have implications for the production, consumption and distribution of video content specifically on mobile devices. Many publishers and content producers have latched on to this anticipated growth and are building mobile content to target today’s highly connected and informed end-users. The industry is currently seeing a wave of applications built for Android or iPhone devices. The next HTML standard, HTML5 will offer a new structure and approach to present audio, video and graphics on websites, all designed to deliver a better experience for mobile users. While technology will improve a user’s experience, the video content world will undergo rapid transformation. More content publishers such as news and entertainment websites are increasingly posting video content on their sites. Videos complement news stories and serve as an extended story-telling platform. Besides creating a level of ‘stickiness’ to make audiences spend more time on their websites, video content has the potential to go viral and drive further traffic when it is shared socially. Editorial teams have already discovered the potential of video as a traffic driver and this has become an integral component in their content strategy. Leveraging the success of online video, we can expect a new wave of video content produced for consumption on smartphones such as paid video clips, music videos, TV episodes, TV programs and online movies to be the new content wave. After all, we are already witnessing the growth of mobile video from the increased bandwidth available on networks, lower data costs and more advanced handheld devices. There are three key trends shaping the uptake of mobile and its potential to push mobile content consumption further in Asia. One is the emergence of low cost smartphones. The growing demand for handsets in emerging markets is helping manufacturers achieve greater economies of scale and increasing the ecosystem for low-priced smartphones. In countries like Indonesia, smartphones are available at less than US$100 and are often pegged to highly cost competitive ‘all you can consume’ data pricing plans offered by telecommunications providers who are already subsiding handsets. Along with handset subsidies and the reduced data tariffs, we see a new generation of first-time Internet users who are connecting to the Internet through mobile devices. The increasing availability of public WiFi hotspots will only further drive this access to the Internet from a mobile platform. Improvements in the speed of mobile networks will also accelerate the uptake of video on mobile as users take to the ‘third screen’ for entertainment. According to a recent survey by Nielsen, up to 37 per cent of the youth in Indonesia - and between 20 per cent to 34 per cent of youth in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines - rated mobile phones as one of their preferred devices to access the Internet and to view video content. This brings the Asia-Pacific average as a whole to 40 per cent. The attractiveness of mobile Internet access is also spurring the growth of mobile websites. Between 2009 and 2010, the number of mobile websites has risen seven-fold and the mobile video audience in Asia has jumped by 70 per cent between 2008 and 2009. Reading local and national news on the mobile is an activity that is most favoured (97 per cent) by users in Vietnam, but it is viewing or downloading of music videos that ranks very highly among the Gen-Y in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. Interestingly, mobile Internet growth in Indonesia far exceeds growth in other countries and even more interestingly, up to 50 per cent of the users in these markets are female - which proves that the smartphone is the smartest equaliser! You may wonder if video content has legs in some Asian countries where mobile networks are not as advanced. For some operators, they may tell you that video on mobile is nascent. But if we are to relate to how Internet and broadband penetration has grown rapidly in the last few years in Asia, we are only truly beginning to see the potential of mobile video content and the monetisation opportunities it can bring to operators. The desire for entertainment on the move will continue to shape demand for video content. Perhaps we are not going to see a demand for long mobile video episodes if we were to take bandwidth limitations into consideration, but what we can expect in the future is clever programming - whether it’s a series of short episodes made for mobile devices episodes that are released as a mini-series or location-based programming where the user’s viewing experience is tied to their geographical location. Video producers must rethink how they will engage viewers watching videos on mobile platforms, as they will need to be more cohesive and concise in their content production. Video content produced on mobile devices can also be truly compelling and raw. Citizen journalism has shown that users readily seek content that unveils a story in real-time as an event unfolds. Taking a leaf from global events, journalists could be shooting news stories from their smart-phones and uploading footage on news sites within minutes. Mobile video could create a generation of viewers who no longer expect polished and packaged news programming in favour of candid news reporting. The Internet has proven to be a disruptive technology, and Internet content, such as mobile video, has once again proven itself to be the king in a highly charged game-changing world that is transforming the role of content owners. Just as music download sites such as Apple’s iTunes proved that well designed content distribution models can lead people to make micropayments for downloadable on demand music or movies, smartphone innovations have the potential to re-establish pay-walls as users seek content to keep themselves entertained while on the road or in between appointments. We are seeing hints of a mobile video revolution, and its growth, going by initial estimates, is expected to be significantly greater than online video despite its currently small base. Given the huge appetite for rich content among Asia’s youth, it is only natural to expect the market to surge with a cocktail of smarter devices, more bandwidth, more aggressive device pricing and the falling cost of network data access.