Partnerships Plant Seeds of Innovation

Sep 16, 2007  •  Post A Comment

So who are the innovators leading the pack in wireless entertainment?
It depends who you ask.
Few industry sources agreed to be identified as they discussed their experiences with carriers, for fear of upsetting their bedfellows, but the feedback gathered does lead to some interesting—albeit flexible—conclusions.
Among carriers, Verizon Wireless got the most nods for its entertainment and programming lineup. The team is among the most communicative with their partners in entertainment, so much so that one executive compared the carrier’s approach to an entrepreneurial fashion.
Both Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp. stand out as operators that maintain an almost daily conversation with their partners.
Alltel Corp. got one anonymous nod for having developed the most innovative deck in the market today, proving that sometimes innovation comes from a smaller player that has no choice but to think beyond the status quo. It also was described as an aggressive carrier in regards to content innovation and its willingness to partner with existing experts.
“There’s something to be said about” building partnerships, said Levi Shapiro, director of audience metrics at Telephia. “Let the people who are experts do something because they can do it best.”
Seth Cummings, former VP of content at Amp’d Mobile, would like to see the process of collaboration change to reflect the tumultuous arena in which the wireless industry operates.
“If a content partner comes up with a great idea, it would have to go through a ‘carrier sales process’ that usually requires multiple divisions, people, roadmap synchs to get any traction.
Entertainment and programming is a real-time business, so there has to be more cross-
functional adaptation away from wireless and toward programming within carriers to really move the needle in content,” Mr. Cummings said.
He cited Turner Broadcasting System, MTV Networks, CBS Mobile and NBC Universal as companies taking an early lead in content innovation.

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