Mywaves Launches Package Of Social Networking Services
The new options will let users set up profile pages, share video recommendations with friends, and post lists of favorites, among other capabilities.
The new package of social networking services aims to provide deeper engagement for the 4.5 million unique monthly visitors the mywaves mobile site attracts. The Silicon Valley startup offers ad-supported professional and user-generated video through a Java-based platform that operates across multiple carrier networks. It offers more than 300,000 video "channels"--including user-created ones--to mobile users in 175 countries.
Susan Cashen, vice president, marketing for mywaves, said the moves come in response to users' requests for greater interaction through the service. "We're about letting users of mywaves connect with each other and connect with content that's of interest to them," she said. "It's really all focused on this common passion for entertainment."
Among the new features, people can create channels for posting and promoting their favorite clips. Rather than how many "friends" someone has collected, "we envision building status around how many [video] views your recommendations drive," Cashen said.
The service now also includes geo-targeting for content and advertising, so users are served the most relevant and regional programming depending on where they're tuning in from. About 55% of mywaves's audience comes from outside the U.S., with India, the U.K., and South Africa among countries where it has the most viewers.
Among the most popular content on mywaves this year were Columbia Records artist Wyclef Jean, whose channel had about one million views; the Best of Bollywood channel, with nearly 400,000 views; and Los Angeles-based DJ Skee's SkeeTV, which had 500,000. Mywaves typically enters into ad revenue-sharing agreements with content providers.
Advertisers on mywaves, which runs banner and text ads, have so far come mainly from the mobile world, including companies such as Nokia, PlayPhone and Cellfire. Cashen said mywaves only began selling ads in the last couple of months, and expects to expand its advertiser roster in 2008.
The company announced separately today that mywaves will be featured in Nokia's Download! content service, which will come loaded with Nokia handsets shipping this year and next. In October, Mywaves struck a deal with Nokia to deliver mobile video via the Nokia Video Center on the cell phone giant's N-series phones.
Mywaves expects its ad-supported model to benefit from the increasing shift toward open access among wireless operators. That trend is highlighted in Google's effort to create an open mobile platform with the backing of a coalition of carriers and handset makers, and Verizon Wireless's recent move to allow any device (running any applications) to operate on its network.
"All this talk of uniform industry standards puts us in a great position to take advantage of different constituents doing innovative things," Cashen said. A less fragmented mobile landscape would also mean that mywaves wouldn't have to do as much tweaking of its service to optimize it for a variety of cell phones.
As it pushes into mobile social networking, however, mywaves will face competition from established Internet players. MySpace, for instance, will formally launch its free mobile service early next year. It also announced a deal last week to provide a direct link to the site on Sprint phones. YouTube earlier this year launched its own mobile site after initially offering access only through Verizon's V Cast service.