Billions being lost due to confusion surrounding DRM - Research

A recent debate held by End2End, the managed service provider of mobile data solutions, highlighted the biggest barriers blocking the growth of mobile content adoption. DRM and negative user experience were identified as two key factors limiting the growth of the mobile content industry, with the lack of consistency on operating systems and DRM leading to billions of dollars of revenue leakage.

The findings were made at an industry roundtable held in central London.

The event was staged by End2End and brought together leading figures in mobile, such as Vodafone, to discuss the 'future of mobile content'. The illustrious panel was joined by journalists from leading telecoms and technology publications who also lent their views to the debate.

DRM and standardisation

A major factor restricting growth is the absence of a reliable framework for Digital Rights Management (DRM). According to Patrick Parodi, The Chairperson of the Mobile Entertainment Forum, this instability led to nearly $3 Billion worth of revenue leakage in Europe last year. He said:

"This revenue is not being received because of side-loading and the fact that traditional media companies, such as the record labels, are holding back with their copyrights when it comes to mobile distribution until there is a stable DRM system."

The roundtable highlighted the need for consistency of operating systems and interoperability of handsets to enable DRM and Superdistribution.

Former Vodafone Executive and now director of Blinkbox, Adrian Letts commented that it was "ludicrous" that mobile operators offer two different types of file formats for PC and mobile downloads. End2End supported the view that OMA would become the leading industry standard that would permit Superdistribution. This opinion was shared by Tom McLennan of Vodafone, who claimed that OMA DRM 2.0 would open the door for operators to offer an entirely new subscription based business model that would deal with the complexities of DRM.

User experience and content discovery

The panel was unanimous that user experience is crucial to driving mobile content services, and that any inconvenience the user faces hinders the uptake of mobile content services. Niklas Hjelm Hansen of End2End argued that: "It has to be easy for people to find what they want in very few clicks", he added that: "some mobile data propositions are not clear enough."

Tom McLennan of Vodafone expanded on this point by stating: "The key thing is the handset and discovery," arguing that: "the user experience on the handset is critical to the success for the next and third stage of mobile."

End2End is a managed services company that specialises in outsourced solutions for mobile data, to the extent of managing an entire mobile content proposition for an operator. End2End works with companies across the mobile data value chain. It was for this reason that End2End chose to stage a roundtable that would bring together the key players in the market to discuss the issues that will affect the mobile content industry.