OpenMarket Expands MMS Service for Advertisers

Press release – May 17, 2010

By Rimma Kats, Mobile Marketer

SMS aggregator OpenMarket is expanding its multimedia messaging service connectivity to advertisers, mobile marketers and merchants that want to deliver rich-media to mobile devices.

MMS lets users send and receive short videos, photos, images, song clips, home movies, animated video and other rich-media on their handsets. Brands and advertisers can deliver customized personal messages to consumers in a manner currently available only on television networks or specialized mobile applications, the company claims.

Mobile Marketer’s Rimma Kats interviewed Jay Emmet, general manager of OpenMarket, Seattle. Here is what he had to say:

What is the news here?
We are expanding our MMS connectivity across carriers and have most recently launched MMS on AT&T.

Previously, we offered customers connectivity with Verizon, Sprint, Alltel and Cricket Communications.

We are responding to the market demand for MMS and can reach over 210 million subscribers on these carrier networks today.

This is the first time that one mobile hub or gateway can offer such widespread MMS reach.

What is OpenMarket’s strategy?
We know that MMS usage is growing worldwide and believe that providing our clients with a hub that supports the most MMS connections will help them deliver more personalized content, from videos and photos to ads and users.

As the demand for rich media grows due to the popularity of smartphone applications, MMS fills a gap for the 70 percent of users that still have feature phones.

OpenMarket wants to provide the most comprehensive set of carrier connections along with network stability to ensure successful campaigns and ultimately a better, more engaging user experience.

What does this mean for OpenMarket clients?
OpenMarket customers now have the option of using MMS in addition to SMS to deliver their content and marketing message to users.

Our customers want the widest subscriber access possible and OpenMarket is providing this with MMS connectivity across the top carrier networks.

We offer the greatest reach for MMS of any mobile transaction network, including cross-carrier MMS capabilities in Britain, Australia and Ireland.

How does this affect the industry as a whole?
MMS has not lived up to the hype due to its lack of ubiquity and reach. We saw this with SMS previously, and OpenMarket is now addressing this major gap.

This is the first time that MMS has such widespread reach in the off-deck space. In the past, carrier connectivity for MMS had to be on-deck or through individual gateway connections.

OpenMarket has provided a standardized, reliable way for brands and businesses to reach the broadest set of users. Most content providers and brands want widespread connectivity before they rationalize their investment in a new technology.

What is exciting about MMS is that it provides an emotional brand experience that SMS does not. For example, companies can now send 30-second TV-type ads to mobile devices, like movie trailers or news clips, rather than plain text.

From an industry perspective, adding richer functionality enables many additional use cases and business models across a number of industry verticals.

In addition, as more higher-end MMS-capable phones become available, users will generate more personalized content using the cameras and video capabilities of their phones.

This will, in turn, drive higher usage.

What challenges does this address and for whom?
Agencies, brands, social networks and merchants want to reach consumers on their mobile devices with rich media content.

The challenge has been that they were limited by the capabilities of SMS and the limited reach of MMS.

The trend has been to use SMS exclusively, and now that is evolving to MMS. MMS allows businesses to deliver images, video and audio clips in various formats and longer text messages to users.

Businesses and brands can communicate their message effectively because the technology allows for longer, more visual types of messages.

OpenMarket is also addressing the need for ubiquitous MMS connectivity by aggressively acquiring carrier connections.

We’ve also expanded our reach globally through cross-carrier MMS capabilities in Britain and other countries.