Olympics a Tipping Point in Mobile Media Usage?

The popularity and lower prices of Apple's iPhone and other smartphones appeared to set the stage for a dramatic increase in consumption of mobile media. As more people had wireless devices with technology capable of accessing the Internet, expectations were that they would be using their smartphones for many of the same purposes they use desktops and laptops. Widespread use of mobile devices as a medium for receiving information and entertainment has yet to occur, but the 2008 Olympics may provide a tipping point for people to shift more of their media consumption to their mobile devices.

Early returns from NBC on the use of cell phones to access content shows how the Olympics is shaping the behavior of many consumers. NBC reports that just under 500,000 people per day attempted to access Olympics content via their cell phones on August 17 and August 18. While that number is very unimpressive compared to the massive television audience the Games draw, the number of people who are using cell phones to access content is noteworthy. NBC says that 50% of the the people requesting content over a mobile device are first-timers (including yours truly).

The ability to retreive results and news from the Olympics on-the-go and on demand will demonstrate to new mobile media consumers the benefits of always being connected. As we become more adept at using our wireless devices in the same way we use other media, a natural extension will be to utilize as a tool in consumption decisions. Whether it be to locate directions to a restaurant, read reviews about it, obtain coupons, or chat with others, wireless devices are becoming a more important communication channel for consumers. Now, marketers must figure out how to meet customers where they are yet again and avoid missteps that many companies made in the early days of the Web, email marketing, and social networking.

Link: The Washington Post - "NBC Sees New Media Habits Form with Olympic Games"