AG Mobile Buys European Mobile Content Company
: AG Interactive, the interactive arm of American greetings, through its subsidiary AG Mobile
, has bought out French/European mobile content company K-Mobile
and its content brand Kiwee
, for an undisclosed amount.
AG Mobile, a relatively late entrant into the mobile content market, has made some quick strides into the market: it recently bought out MIDIRingTones
, and is tying up rapidly with media companies and telcos (it already has tie-ups with T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Cingular, AT&T Wireless and Vodafone) for distribution muscle...
K-Mobile will be operated by AG Interactive's newly-established European subsidiary, AG Interactive Europe, B.V. K-Mobile's catalog of content consists of 12,000 ringtones including movie themes and contemporary pop music and rap hits. The company also offers about 15,000 color images and 2,000 java mobile games.
With this acquisition the company is making a U.S.-Euro content play, a move which it hopes will help it rapidly expand into the sector. AG Mobile is going to stay away from the mobile aggregator business, as the margins in that business are bound to start shrinking, and instead focus on developing brands for media/entertainment companies themselves (it is positioning itself as a "mobile content studio").
AG Mobile plans to push mobile content through its network of sites such as AmericanGreetings.com, eGreetings.com, Beatgreets.com, BlueMountain.com and BlueMountainCards.co.uk. Parent American Greetings has more than 115,000 outlets, and expect mobile content to be retailed at these venues soon as well...
Besides the mobile content forays, the company is also venturing into the online-to-offline printing business, which has natural extensions into the mobile content/MMS area: it has partnerships with computer printer players HP, Avery, Dell, and other players like Kodak, AOL and MSN for its Create&Print
service, where users can customize and print their own greeting cards.
I did a short interview recently with Josef Mandelbaum, CEO of AG Interactive
, about the directions the company is taking in mobile content sector...
"This is a natural extension of our business and additional sales channel for us, as we look at where our customers are. Now it is getting to a point where you can actually do this stuff in U.S..
We're making a big play...[in U.S.] it is a very fragmented business, and a lot of smaller players
. It is a land of the midgets at this point...Moviso
[InfoSpace Mobile] is probably the biggest...the giants in the land of midgets. [Former Moviso head of marketing Bryan Biniak is heading the AG Mobile venture]
We think our core competency is how consumers use content to express themselves.
We know how to do licenses with content providers; we know how to deal with operators, because we have done that for retailers; we've carrier-grade technology; we have brands; and are willing to invest in the business.
The biggest challenge for us is how to raise awareness of mobile content in general...we have a very good marketing division we hope to capitalize on...
Where do you draw a line
on which areas of mobile content to go in? We're in the expressive content business...ringtones, music, background, MMS, video, casual games etc. We won't get into sports or news...
The average demographic buying mobile content is much younger than those buying online greetings, so that's a big opportunity for us on the editorial side to develop content...and for us, we need to follow these consumers on how they express themselves throughout their life cycle..
: We'll probably be using BlueMountain as our main mobile brand
for the consumer...it has a strong consumer recognition..."