The Finalists Thursday, November 29th 2012 The Royal Garden Hotel, London W8 4PT
An ME Event
CONTENTS | 3
Thursday, November 29th 2012 Royal Garden Hotel London W8 4PT A single place at the awards costs £295 +VAT and tables of ten are priced at £2,750 +VAT. For details of table sales and sponsorship enquiries contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Or call +44 (0) 1992 535647
THE CATEGORIES DEVELOPMENT & PUBLISHING Best Gambling Company Best Adult Company Best Games Publisher Best Branded App Developer Best Enterprise App Developer Best Games Developer
08 09 12 13 14 15
SERVICES Best Video Service Provider Best Music Service Provider Best Augmented Reality Company Best Social Games Service Provider Best Games Monetisation Company Best Cross-Platform Tools Provider Best Pay By Mobile Company Best Transactions Company Best Mobile Web Publishing Company Best Ad Network Best Rich Media Ad Platform Best Marketing Company Best Customer Service Best PR Agency Best Recruitment Agency
16 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
OPERATORS & HANDSETS Best Device Manufacturer Best Operator
The phone in your pocket may not have changed in the last 12 months, but the industry certainly has. In a year punctuated by huge product releases, companies’ changing fortunes and the occasional lawsuit, it's been hard to keep up. In the US, nearly 60 per cent of teenagers now have a smartphone and by the end of the year, China is going to be the largest smartphone market in the world. But mobile’s exponential growth worldwide is going to continue. With mobile data traffic worldwide expected to increase 18 times by 2016, mobile is going to become more and more vital to our digital lives. Tonight, we're recognising the companies and individuals helping the market get there. The 2012 ME Awards evening is the biggest yet. We have more categories and nominees than ever, and have looked even further afield to identify the best in the mobile industry. Augmented reality, for example, has stopped being just a gimmick and is increasingly forming a meaningful part of marketing campaigns. Hence, we have an award for AR companies. Equally, recruiters and PRs do much to spread the word about products and services, so we have acknowledged that with awards for Best PR Agency and Best Recruitment Agency. Seriously, the process behind this year's ME Awards was an absolute bastard. But we worked late nights to sift through the hundreds of entries to get our 23 categories and 150 plus nominees. The very best of luck to everyone. We'll see you for a drink on November 29th.
SPECIAL AWARD Outstanding Contribution To Mobile Entertainment
Best Games Publisher Award Partner
Mike Shaw Editor Mobile Entertainment
Best Operator Award Partner
Outstanding Contribution to Mobile Entertainment Award Partner
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4 | YEAR IN REVIEW
Patently mad It’s been a year of highs and lows, with so much mobile news you could run a website about it. Here are the top 20 stories and developments of the past 12 months... 20. iPhone 5 – it's here Let's get this over with, shall we? The ridiculously anticipated iPhone 5 arrived and it was… underwhelming. Nonetheless, the launch generated a huge amount of column inches and the phone sold 5m in a weekend. But there’ was little in the way of innovation, and the overwhelming response was “is that it?” Those waiting for NFC may have to wait until the iPhone 5S, due to be announced when Tim Cook decides he needs a new gold house.
19. NFC – honestly, it's coming This time last year we said of NFC that it's coming “whether you want it or not”, and it still is – just not at the speed we expected. More handsets are offering NFC, but use cases remain rare. The fact is, Google is still refining its Wallet service, while the US crossoperator JV Isis has still not been rolled out. Maybe 2013 will bring a clearer picture. The UK looks certain to be at the forefront, not least because Project Oscar – the cross operator payments
and commerce service – was given the unconditional go-ahead by the EU.
18. Finally, the iPad has some kind of competition It's still the dominant force in tablet land, but the iPad's power is not what it once was. Last year Amazon's Kindle Fire showed that there is an appetite for alternative slates, while this year, Google's Nexus 7 obliterated expectations by combining competitive pricing with impressive performance. The Kindle Fire HD might just chip away a little more of the iPad's armour, and if Microsoft can get the Surface tablet right then Apple could have a real battle on its hands.
17. The Android in your wristwatch, console, TV... Google's OS has proved to be so popular and malleable that it is finding a home in a whole range of different devices. Of course, versions of Android have cropped up in equipment as diverse as wristwatches, TVs and
treadmills for a while, but it is now more commonplace than ever to see Google's bot powering miscellaneous tech. New cameras from Samsung and Nikon will be powered by Android, and the Kickstarter-record-breaking Ouya console has Android pumping away in its tiny tin heart. At the other end of the scale, NASA has just launched a fleet of Android phone controlled satellites – they literally have handsets inside them. Crazy times.
16. The rollercoaster ups and downs of Zynga Nobody is immune to the caprices of the business world, not even social gaming giants. In the last 12 months, Zynga bought OMGPOP (the creator of Draw Something), had a $1.8bn cash pile to play with, considered moving into gambling, lost five million daily active users a month due to Facebook mobile, became embroiled in a controversial stock sale shortly before a weak quarterly report, and lost its COO John Schappert. Include additional
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YEAR IN REVIEW | 5
worries like having to deal with other big names (Amazon) joining the social gaming scene and a legal back-andforth with EA, and it's understandable if Zynga execs don't know if they're coming or going.
all-you-can-eat subs. It’s already happening. Netflix, LoveFilm, Amazon, Sky, Cartoon Network, Sainsbury's were just some of the big names to launch services in the last year.
13. Mobile woes scupper the Facebook IPO
15. Everyone wants in on mobile music streaming There are some industry commentators who feel the mobile streaming of music will be the next major battlefield. Spotify’s impact has been such that some see it not as part of the music business, but the music business itself. With Juke, Nokia Music, Deezer, Simfy, Rdio, TuneIn, Samsung Music Hub, MOG and many others still fighting for market share, those commentators could be right. Especially if the reports that Apple is working on a mobile streaming service are true.
14. Meanwhile video streaming is still booming... It is inevitable that video streaming will follow music as broadband gets faster and consumers get used to the idea of
In May, after years of resistance from Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook went public. It did not go well. The stock lost over a quarter of its value in less than a month and went on to lose half its IPO value in three months. Most analysts agree that mobile is the reason for investor nervousness. Facebook has admitted it’s struggling to monetise its 530m plus mobile users, with Zuckerberg promising to make improvements, and saying that going down the HTML 5 route was a major error. The company now started testing its own mobile ad network, which is less about placing ads on mobile user timelines and more about helping advertisers target users based on Facebook data. And no, the Facebook phone is not going to happen.... yet.
12. Did you place your bet on mobile gambling? Already, more than 20 per cent of all bets placed with major bookmakers are made via phones and tablets so it's little surprise that spending on sportbased mobile gambling alone is poised to hit $45bn by 2017. The figure for mobile gambling of all descriptions is double that. Of course, genuine mobile gambling (real-money wagers placed on dedicated apps) are only just becoming available in liberal markets like the UK, and is strictly forbidden in the US. But the tide is turning. Why? Because online gambling firms are fascinated by the addictive gameplay concepts of social gaming specialists, while Zynga et al cast an envious eye back at the former’s huge ARPUs.
11. Galaxy S3 – hottest phone on the planet? The iPhone is no longer the default “best phone in the world” for the man on the street. The man on the street, and his sister, and parents, are just as likely to be lusting for Samsung Galaxy
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6 | YEAR IN REVIEW
S3. The smartphone sold 20m units in just 100 days and is currently shifting around 200,000 units every day. This time last year we were praising the Galaxy S2. Will we be doing the same next year with the S4?
10. Google Glasses – the next evolutionary step? The word “gimmick” has cropped up a few times in this list, and it can definitely be applied to Project Glass, Google's smartspec concept. Right now it's up in the air as to whether Google Glasses will be a rich-kid's toy or industry-changing disruptive tech, but with the AR headwear providing the wearer with maps, video calling, a camera, messaging functionality, weather, apps, and other functions, this could be huge. As the world saw with Betamax, Blu-ray and VOD, if the porn industry thinks something is a good idea, then chances are it's a runner, and the adult world is already looking closely at Google Glasses as a way to make cheap, fast, hires, POV movies.
9. “I had that taxi app on the front of my phone once...” You wait ages for one and then two turn up at once. Hang on... that's buses. And there are more than two taxi apps. The point is, there are plenty out there – GetTaxi, Kabee, Hailo – and over the last 12 months their popularity has
grown exponentially, with users finding a service they like and sticking with it, becoming evangelists and providing free marketing in the process.
8. Second screens reign companionably supreme 2012 has been a year filled with ‘gimmicky’ ideas proving themselves in the real world. Second screens are another example of this. “Nobody is seriously going to interact with another device while they watch TV,” said the detractors. But they do. And the interesting development is that they’re choosing a single service rather than multiple apps made for individual programmes. The outstanding example is Zeebox – so disruptive it was bought by Sky before it could do any more ‘damage’ to the broadcaster status quo.
7. Browser or native: it’s the new Alien v Predator As the app sector gets bigger by the second, the battle between developers rages on. What’s best: browser-based or native? Designers and developers seem split. Some adore HTML5, others won't go near it and will only work on native products. And for every company relishing the freedom from app store walls and payment methods (famously, the FT), there’s another relishing the clarity and certainty of coding for a set of native instructions.
6. Raspberry for BlackBerry People still use BlackBerrys in their millions. But RIM’s malaise merely deepened in 2012, with a succession of dismal financials and job losses. Worse, its ‘life saving’ new OS BB10 missed its autumn launch slot and delayed to 2013. With iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy storming ahead and WinPho8 winning fans, RIM simply must have a triumphant 2013.
5. Everything Everywhere speeds up everything, everywhere The firm formerly known as Everything Everywhere, and now called EE, launched the UK's first 4G network in September, promising super fast mobile internet at speeds typically five times faster than 3G today. It's going to change the complexion of the UK's high streets too, as all Orange and TMobile stores are rebranded by EE.
4. WinPho fights back When Samsung announced its new Windows Phone devices in September, people applauded the sentiment but still said it wasn't enough to sustain Microsoft's new mobile OS, Windows Phone 8. Then HTC got in on the act too and those same people began to look at things a little differently. Indeed, when one considers Microsoft's unified approach to its new UIs across all devices
YEAR IN REVIEW | 7
(PC, Surface, smartphones, Xbox), it starts to look more and more like it actually has a plan.
3. Nokia's not dead yet With an urge to sell off assets and a plan to shed 10,000 jobs by the end of 2013, things haven't looked great for Nokia. And yet, there it is, hanging in there, defying the odds. In September, Nokia unveiled its first WinPho 8 devices, the Lumias 820 and 920. Response was mixed, but after iPhone 5 failed to make any significant innovations, Nokia’s introduction of wireless charging and major imaging advances started to look like something to get excited about. Nokia still has a huge task ahead of it, and much depends on the success with which Microsoft promotes its new OS, but you get the sense that it has a chance.
1. Patent lather
2. Card-reading dongles are everySquare Everyone is scrambling to turn smartphones into credit card readers, and even though Square is the name on the tip of everyone's tongues (it will process $6bn in transactions this year), there is no shortage of competition. Rival services from fiserv, Verifone, iZettle, mPowa, Swiff and PayPal have all appeared and the onslaught shows no signs of slowing.
Our headline for this year in review was ‘Patently Mad’ and we didn’t just stick it up there arbitrarily. Everyone’s been suing everyone in mobile as the OS wars intensify and the prizes get bigger. Of course, the biggest and bitterest row of the lot has been between the biggest and bitterest OEMs: Apple and Samsung. Small victories were won on both sides until August when a court in California ordered the Korean firm to cough up $1bn for nicking things like pinch and zoom and end of menu ‘bounce back’. In the spirit of Bleak House, Samsung pledged to appeal and appeal until the sun turns into a red giant and eviscerates the earth. But still, it was a pretty damning verdict. Optimists hope that the result will be more innovation and wider consumer choice as OEMs are forced to explore new UIs.
8 | DEVELOPMENT & PUBLISHING
Best Gambling Company Paddy Power A great year for Paddy Power on mobile. The firm revealed that mobile revenues more than doubled to €53m for Jan to June 2012, and that over half of its active sports book customers now do their gambling via mobile devices. A big focus for the company for 2013 will be its new mobile real-money casino app called Roller Casino, which it developed from the ground up for iOS. It plans to give one player the chance to win £1m on a single spin of the roulette wheel.
Probability This UK firm is a previous ME Award winner and has been a presence on the mobile gambling scene since 2003. Probability runs both B2C and B2B offerings. The former centres around customer facing brands such as the LadyLucks series, which has over 1m players. B2B wise, Probability provides UK bookmakers and online casinos with a multiplatform gambling experience from one account. Probability White Label is the newest extension of this, featuring optimised landing pages, a CRM and retention program and the games themselves. Probability’s revenue rose 44 per cent to £2.26m in FY 2012.
Cellectivity Cellectivity is best known for its Bet2Go mobile odds comparison and sports betting app, which allows punters to compare prices and place a bet across a range of bookies including William Hill, BlueSquare and Ladbrokes. It’s being rolled out in Greece, Spain and Italy. Cellectivity also manages mobile gaming and gambling portals on behalf of UK mobile operators and other distribution channels (O2, Orange, T-Mobile, 3) and a number of other mobile portals.
Ladbrokes Ladbrokes' mobile division was getting all the bonuses this year after revenue from the company's mobile products rose 174 per cent to £15.6 between 2010 and 2012. The firm said 20 per cent of digital bets placed and 23 per cent of digital revenue earned is now by mobile. And Ladbrokes has ambitious plans for new mobile products and also the opening up of its APIs to third parties.
Betfair The Betfair app was early into Apple app stores and is still reaping the benefits. In June Betfair confirmed bets using phones rose 114
per cent in a year, while revenues generated were up 98 per cent. Meanwhile the new product development continues. Betfair renewed its agreement with Playtech to launch into the bingo market in Spain and Italy and offer its customers access to Playtech’s poker networks.
William Hill Even by the heady standards of most UK bookmakers, William Hill recorded an astonishing year in mobile. The mobile ‘sportsbook’ registered a 390 per cent growth year-on-year to June and comprised 28 per cent in that month alone. It reckoned its app had delivered more than 40,000 new customers in four months.
Bet365 Bet365 offers a first-bet bonus for mobile customers to encourage sign-ups. It’s working. The core app can be used in 17 different languages, and accepts payments via nine different deposit methods. It gives players access their account history while they're on the go. But now the firm is extending and deepening its product range to reach all consumer sectors. App users can also watch Bet365's live streaming of sports events on their devices.
Playtech Playtech powers some of the biggest mobile bingo, casino and sports betting brands, providing a range of ancillary services such as marketing, hosting and CRM services. Licensees include Betfair, Bet365, William Hill, Paddy Power and Sky. The main selling point is the cross platform function, which lets players keep playing games across different devices. And of course, the games can be connected together to give players access to huge progressive jackpots.
Bigfish Games This US company is the pioneer of real money iPhone gambling and, at time of going to press, was preparing to launch a play-for-cash mobile casino game in the liberal UK market. The title is a re-skin of the popular play-forfun app Card Ace: Casino, and will feature slots, video poker, roulette and blackjack. It’s being real-money-enabled by Betable. Bigfish is determined to lead the way in the bringing together of social gaming and real-money gambling – an area that could be fascinating once Zynga et al join in.
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: BETFAIR
10 | DEVELOPMENT & PUBLISHING
Best Adult Company MiKandi Android adult app portal MiKandi was launched in 2009 to bypass the porn blocks enforced by Google Play and offer a dedicated space to access adult content. This year it developed the MiKandi Theatre, a consumer-focused video store featuring hundreds of clips from partner studios. Also significant was the debut of the video store on iOS, which was hosted via an HTML5 site to evade Apple’s anti-porn stance.
Adultmoda UK-based ad network Adultmoda is the saucy sister service of non-adult platform Admoda. It had a busy 2012, passing 250bn served ads in total since its 2006 launch. The firm also developed solutions to enable adverts to run on tube sites like Pornhub, while it has also introduced keyword targeting to give publishers more control over inventory. The most recent innovation was post-roll video advertising, which it claims is an industry first.
Private Media The Private Media Group was born in 1965, providing traditional print and visual offerings before the digital effect of the 21st century brought about an expansion. The company branched into mobile and offers its extensive archive of content to more than 1.2bn devices via 114 operators in 37 countries.
optimised its PlugInFeeds.com portal to aggregate content for users searching for adult material from their mobiles.
Spankmo Spain-based Spankmo takes existing adult services and makes them mobile no matter what the device. It is the technical partner behind over 50 partner mobile sites, and added many more deals this year in the femdom, amateur and gay genres. Meanwhile a deal with Segpay enabled new payment tools for monetisng mobile users. In September Spankmo launched MobGlam, its own affiliate program. It features 14 mobile sites all run on the firm’s robust mobile platform and offers subscriptions for unlimited video streaming.
AdultAppMart AdultAppMart is another platform designed to offer filthy apps to Android users. Its store offers adult only content and gives developers the chance to upload and monetise their products. It even offers in-app billing. Earlier in the year, AAM partnered with Cherry Media to broaden its reach to the developer community. More recently, the portal looked to capture the tablet market by producing a revamped version especially for the Google Nexus 7.
Apex Media Ltd Cherry Media Three times ME Award winner Cherry Media can claim to be the unofficial voice of the mobile adult sector. Well, its CEO Julia Dimambro can, such is her dedication and visibility in the space. Julia is happy to admit that Cherry has changed a bit to reflect the shifting mobile ecosystem. It is currently focused less on its own content (though it still produces) than on taking partners into mobile with sites, apps, portals, affiliate programmes and more. It’s also looking carefully at AR, which it reckons will bring about the biggest change to adult entertainment since the web.
PinkVisual Pink Visual regards itself as a tech-centric studio, providing porn to any device via its iPinkVisualPass.com mobile site. There’s a version for iPad, and PV has also dabbled in AR and 3D platforms. Pink currently plans to produce ad-supported tube sites with an equal revenue share for studios, and
Apex’s Original Sensations brand provides of tasteful unique videos and photos, which are produced for third parties to use. The content publisher has offices in the UK and Czech Republic, and supports mobiles, web portals, VOD services and TV channels. One of the features enables users to send each other 15 second clips tailored for specific occasions like birthdays et al, with Vodafone reportedly experiencing huge success from the feature.
Reporo Reporo runs a premium mobile adult ad network and also operates the Mwah and Phwah social networks. The company recently smashed the 18bn mobile adult ads per month milestone across its own ad and redirect network in 44 countries. This year, the firm expanded its operations in two notable ways. First, it launched contextual targeting to match ads to relevant sites using specific keywords. Later, it unveiled a dedicated ad network for specialist gay inventory.
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: CHERRY MEDIA
12 | DEVELOPMENT & PUBLISHING
Best Games Publisher
Best Games Publisher Award Partner
EA has flourished in mobile through organic growth and the careful porting of its own killer IP, but also through acquisition. Total revs in FY12 were $269m, representing a 17 per cent year-on-year increase over FY11. In Q4, it had its highest ever quarter of sales. EA plans to release 41 new games in fiscal 2013 including new titles based on SimCity, Need for Speed, FIFA, Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies.
Mindshapes was formed by ex-Playfish staffers and specialises in apps for preschoolers. It’s now embarking on an ambitious plan to launch virtual worlds such as Magic Town, the first virtual world based on picture book characters. There were 70 stories at launch. By the end of the year there will be 200 . More ambitious will be Mindshapes’ attempt to revolutionise the online language learning space with Language City.
Gameloft France’s Gameloft maintained its progress in 2012, reaching record sales of €95.2m in H1, a rise of 24 per cent year-on-year. The result showcases the popularity of its cross-platform titles – available across mobiles, connected TVs and set-top boxes. The firm went big on freemium and paymium games and says over 60 per cent of smartphone revs are made from in-app purchases and ads.
Outfit 7 Slovenia’s Outfit 7 built its success on a single idea: virtual pets that repeat back (in cartoony voice) what is said to them by the user. This has led to 400m Talking Friends downloads and over 90m monthly active users. Disney is now licensing the IP as the basis for a cartoon series while the brand advertising agency Beanstalk is creating mugs, toys and more based on the Talking Friends characters.
Appynation Last year, AppyNation launched as a body through which indie UK developers could share marketing and tech resouces while retaining control of their IP. Founder members included Finblade, Niffler and Lightning Fish. Each of them has ten per cent of the business, and retains 75 per cent of what is earned after the app stores take their cut. AppyNation debuted with Niffler's Chuck's Challenge 3D.
Glu Mobile Glu’s investment in smartphone platforms continued to pay off in 2012, with revenue for Q2 FY12 up 33 per cent to $23.6m. That represented a quarterly rise in smartphone revenues of 111 per cent year-over-year – largely due to titles such as Deer Hunter Reloaded. And it was freemium that was working for Glu, with 84 per cent of revenue coming from micro-transactions, in-game ads and offers. In August 2012, it acquired online multiplayer services provider Gamespy.
Rovio Over one billion Angry Birds have transformed Rovio into a publishing juggernaut that generated €75.4m in 2011. In the Spring, Rovio launched its latest iteration - Angry Birds Space – and achieved 100m installs inside 76 days. This came in the wake of a licensing programme that launched mugs, mags and even a theme park. Interesting times ahead for Rovio. The firm has launched its first postBirds game, Amazing Alex, and speculation remains that it will seek a $7bn IPO.
Com2Us Korea’s Com2Us has been plugging away since the early days and now it’s reaping the rewards thanks to smartphones, premium and connected play. Its Homerun Battle Baseball games have notched over 400m online game sessions based on 20m app downloads. Meanwhile its Tiny Farm game attracts over 1m daily users. Overall, the Com2uS Hub social gaming network has 30m subscribers.
Thumbstar Games Thumbstar describes 2012 as the year of its second phase. It rolled out an ambitious third-party product programme that led to the release of two new games per week to over 140 channels. In the summer Thumbstar closed a deal with NII Holdings in LatAm and then won exclusive access to 130m China Telecom users. It also signed a partnership with Urbanscan to revive classic Gremlin titles from the 90s.
Magmic Canada’s Magmic is best known for its close relationship with compatriot device maker RIM. And guess what? Despite the BlackBerry maker’s crappy year, Magmic is still thriving on the RIM platform. The firm has over 100 titles in its roster, and although it publishes across BlackBerry, iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7, J2ME, Brew and others, the RIM platform still accounts for 45 per cent of sales.
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: EA MOBILE
DEVELOPMENT & PUBLISHING | 13
Best Branded App Developer Golden Gekko
Since launch in 2006, Golden Gekko has developed hundreds of native and web apps for clients across pretty much all verticals. Customers include Cadbury’s, BBC, Audi, Disney and dozens more. Signature projects include the landmark location-based offers app, O2 Priority Moments, Mango’s MNG shopping App and MyDog – the first mobile social-network app for dog-owners.
In short time, Yuza has emerged as one of the most creative app makers in the world. Many of its in-house products have become major hits – helping Yuza improve its skillset while also serving as a calling card to brand clients. 2012’s big hit was Dream: On – an app that can influence what you dream about. Seriously. In tandem with this activity, Yuza works with brands such as Virgin Atlantic and The Good Food Guide. It’s also deep into AR, creating the well-received AR-enabled Aston Martin Experience.
Grapple Last year, Grapple’s team of 85 created 210 apps for 90 clients – and achieved 8m downloads as a result. Impressive, when you consider that the firm didn’t formally start trading until 2010. Between 2006 and 2010 Grapple perfected its solution, which churns out cross-platform apps from just one code base. It’s had a busy summer, producing apps for Sky News Arabia, Beauty Recommended, and What Car? And its McDonald’s app achieved 1m UK downloads, complemented by 10m visits to the mobile site. Meanwhile, Premier Inn is developing an average of £2m extra revenues per month from Grapple’s mobile platform.
Masabi UK-based Masabi has been honing its ‘Ticket Machine in Your Pocket’ idea for years, and is finally reaping the rewards. Companies including Virgin Trains, CrossCountry and Greater Anglia have all partnered Masabi to offer their customers an alternative means of buying and presenting tickets via SMS and barcodes. But 2012 was the year it all started to really come together. In the Spring, Masabi managed to nail its first US partnership this year with Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). More US deals are being worked on.
Always On Message Bristol-based Always On Message has clients including David Lloyd Leisure, BBC and Wilkinson Sword. Its development framework follows a strict ordering of product, roadmap, interface, design and execution. AoM partnered ITN this summer to promote the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a GPS-enabled app that offered the user a guided tour of London’s royal venues. Apple picked up on this and made the app a feature in a special British Monarchy section.
Ubinow London-based Ubinow is a tech-savvy app and marketing specialist, with all work completed in-house by the team of selfdescribed artists, creators and problem solvers. In addition to client-based requests, the studio has published its own D2C creations like football game ARKick Off and photo-editing app easyTitler. Among Ubinow’s more successful projects was the Specsavers Eye Test app, enabling users to examine their eyes via mobile, while its Paul app for Universal Pictures hit 1.5m downloads and reached the number one spot in the UK and US App Store charts.
XS2TheWorld (XS2) This Dutch company has been building a solid reputation in the app space thanks to work with clients including Fanta, Guinness, Porsche, Skoda and HSBC. But this year, two big events helped to take XS to a much wider audience. First it won a Cannes Lion Award for its innovative campaign with Dutch railway firm NS, developing an app that produced a 360-degree mobile walk-around of the Royal Waiting Rooms in Amsterdam. Then it hired the former Ogilvy head of mobile Scott Seaborn as its exec creative director. Everyone knows Scott, so it was quite a signing.
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14 | DEVELOPMENT & PUBLISHING
Best Enterprise App Developer Mubaloo
Mubaloo plans, designs, develops, delivers and markets bespoke mobile apps for businesses and brands. From strategic planning and UX/UI design, through to frontend development, back-end integration, testing and delivery; Mubaloo offers clients a professional end-to-end solution to their specific requirements. From content rich-sales presentation tools, engaging events apps, instore CRM tools and maintenance dashboards to logistics apps with geo-fencing and even a carbon-offsetting app, Mubaloo's innovative approach, matched with creative and technical ability has revolutionised business processes for clients including BP, Global Radio, Virgin Media, UNITE and the LSE.
hedgehog describes itself as a post-PC digital agency, helping brands create products for phones, tablets, TV, kiosks and other connected post-PC devices. It’s certainly found many willing clients in the enterprise space – from News International to Statoil ASA to Reckitt Benckiser. hedgehog says its apps are designed to perform critical business functions to large numbers of users simultaneously – be they staff, suppliers, customers or partners.
5app 5app burst onto the UK mobile scene in 2012 to quickly become one of the developers synonymous with the flourishing enterprise app space. It unveiled Toolkit, a cross-platform development tool that enables businesses to create apps across all types of devices on a write-once-deploy-many basis. It uses standard web-programming tools to connect to any enterprise system using a standard API. Of course, apps are an opportunity for enterprises but also a potential headache. They have to work with security systems, report in the right format, not crash a user’s phone, work offline and so on. 5app reckons it’s nailed these. Users are authenticated, and each user only receives apps they are authorised to run – no app store is required.
Atos Origin This giant consultancy works with huge corporates and even governments all over the world. Such activity has led it inevitably into the enterprise app space as its clients attempt to adapt to the new BYOD ‘bring your own device’ workplace culture. Early in 2012, it unveiled the MyMarket solution to facilitate app distribution and management within organisations. The portfolio includes design and usability, app development and testing, device management and full service outsourcing, including billing mediation. Atos works with a wide range of clients and has also won awards for its behind-the-scenes collaborations on ticketing apps with fellow ME Awards finalist Masabi.
Chelsea Apps Factory Under the stewardship of ex-News International MD Mike Anderson, Chelsea App Factory has become one of the go-to agencies for enterprises in search of app nous. Although it’s made consumer-facing products, it’s also developed a Secure Development Life Cycle toolkit that delivers enterprise apps with built-in security safeguards. The firm has made since made apps for RBS, Vodafone, CNBC and Robert Walters and Deloitte Digital, building products that sync with the BYOD (bring your own device) trend. In August it sealed a major deal with PEER 1 Hosting to deliver mobile service for an unnamed global healthcare company.
14 15 ME Awards 2012_Final 19/10/2012 10:04 Page 2
DEVELOPMENT & PUBLISHING | 15
Best Games Developer NaturalMotion
Oxford-based NaturalMotion began life as a maker of middleware for consoles – but it found a second life in iPhone games, scoring big hits with Backbreaker Football, Jenga and others. It has also had a 10m download success in the freemium space with My Horse. This year NaturalMotion raised $11m and added Mitch Lasky – founder of pioneering US publisher Jamdat – to its board. NaturalMotion's CSR Racing has generated more than $12m in one month, even though the firm claims the company spent nothing on marketing or user acquisition.
Gaming for pre-school kids is a fast growing area – as any parent whose child has tried to swipe the TV will know. This has led to a number of specialist publishers launching products tailored specially for the under 5s. One of the most successful is P2, which now boasts a catalogue based on brands such as Peppa Pig, Tracy Beaker, Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam and more. In March it confirmed that it had sold 600,000 apps in 16 months. That’s sold, not downloaded.
Neon Play Was it a stroke of luck when a purchase of Neon Play’s Paper Glider was celebrated as the ten billionth App Store download? Possibly. But there would have been no chance of it had UK-based Neon Play not released 32 apps and accumulated over 20 million sales over the months. The studio has now notched up one million downloads on the App Store, with titles such as Golf Putt Pro flying thanks to a FreeAppADay promotion that generated 250,000 downloads in a single day. Not too shabby for a firm launched in June 2010.
Firemonkeys In July, EA brought together two acclaimed developers– Iron Monkey and Firemint – to create Firemonkeys. Together they had 50m players in 2012 alone thanks to titles including Flight Control, Real Racing, Dead Space and more. As Foremonkeys, the two teams got off to a flyer. Real Racing 2 got the fourth highest iOS metacritic score of all time, while The Sims FreePlay became the number one title in free game charts in 85 countries.
HandyGames This German studio is one of the industry’s originals, a developer of successful titles even in the Java days. But the firm has sustained its success in the iOS/Android era with products such as the medieval city-building Townsmen Franchise. It passed 25m Google Play downloads this year, after embracing the freemium model. Handy also sealed two smart deals when it made 35 games available for Nokia's Asha Touch feature phones, and teamed up with Yudo1 to make its games available in China.
Mobile Pie Bristol–based Mobile Pie has grown its team and its reputation steadily on the back of original in-house games and well-received projects for a variety of third parties. This year collaborated with the BoB (Best of British) collective on Summer Sports and launched Pen Pilot for the Samsung Galaxy Note. But alongside these, Mobile Pie has won awards for work such as the ambitious free-to-play title My Star for Orange, Top Trumps Collection and Home Sheep Home 2 for Aardman Animations. It’s also working with fellow finalist P2 Games.
New Star Games They say the days of the bedroom iPhone developer are gone. But romantic stories are still out there. One such is the New Star Soccer series. It’s a hybrid of footy game and management SIM that challenges the player to go from trainee to international legend. And it’s all the creation of Simon Read, a selftaught developer who made his first game in 2002. New Star Soccer has been gleefully reviewed and deeply loved by its army of fans. This year New Star Soccer 5 passed 1m downloads on iOS and earned almost 600,000 in-app purchases.
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Best Video Service Provider zeebox The zeebox service is a ‘sidekick’ app that builds on users’ desire to use their tablet or phone while watching TV. The app is like an alternative EPG that serves up social media feeds and conversations, as well as information on the topics, people and products featured in specific programmes. In 2012, Sky invested in zeebox and formally coopted it as the its second-screen’ consumer service. zeebox's app has been downloaded around 1.5m times in the UK and has up to 400,000 active users.
Skyfire Skyfire is known to some as a mobile browser, but this is actually just another manifestation of the firm’s data compression technology – a tech that is helping operators to radically reduce the pressure on their networks from video streaming. Skyfire’s core revenue comes from licensing to operators, who buy licenses based on the amount of video to be compressed. Its Optimizer service works with almost any video format, to yield 75 per cent savings, depending on device type.
YesVideo YesVideo’s tech helps consumers take their archive video footage and make it mobile. They can drop off their prints, tapes and cinefilms at one of YesVideo’s 34,000 retail locations, or online. Then, through YesVideo’s ‘MemorySafe’ app, customers can view their newly-digitised home movies on a phone.
QuickPlay Media QuickPlay has pioneered multiscreen experiences since 2004 for AT&T, RIM, Rogers, Samsung and many more. The firm’s managed video solutions – VoD, live TV and media transformation – are built on its OpenVideo platform, which manages more than 1.5m content assets across more than 4,000 content providers around the world. QuickPlay is also active in China with TVB. A $100m funding round will fund fresh expansion to Europe and Asia in 2013.
Saffron Digital The three times winner of this award enjoyed a memorable 2012 of further expansion. Saffron creates device-optimised storefronts for all connected devices including mobile. It works with OEMs, operators, retailers, broadcasters and more, and currently powers KDDI Video Pass, HTC Watch, Samsung Media
Hub, Sky on the fly transcoding and NBC Universal’s syfy.com online channels. In 2012, Saffron worked hard on DRM, building a proprietary secure player that removes client’s reliance on existing in-built players. Its platform also became fully compatible with the UltraViolet ecosystem.
SPB TV SPB TV is a D2C ad-funded app that provides access to free-to-air digital TV channels. It has over 10m users. But it's also licensed by operators including StarHub, MTS, MegaFon and BSNL for which it delivers a TV offering quickly across all video-enabled devices, including mobiles, tablets, PCs, set-top boxes and smart TVs. In 2012, the firm unveiled a 3D style user interface for the service to make the browsing experience more intuitive.
YuMe YuMe streams video ads to web-enabled devices, and is thus mining a sector that it (very vocally) believes will be worth billions as consumers migrate their viewing from TV to mobile. One of its cherished causes is the psychology of viewing – it contends that the target site itself can be less important than the placement on a page. Thus, it has a proprietary algorithm PQI that decides placement by key metrics including: interaction rate, video completion rate, video player size, player on-page location and more. It says PQI optimised ad campaigns can yield a 215 per cent lift in interactions against campaigns which were not.
On Demand Group ODG powers video services for mobile firms, broadcasters and ISPs, delivering services that enable VoD, streaming, cross-device playback and more. Customers include Virgin Media, SFR Neuf and OTE Greece. It also manages 3UK’s SVOD and Catch-Up service. ODG was bought by Avail-TVN in 2012 to create a global VOD player reaching 70m consumers.
Bytemobile Bytemobile delivers data compression services for giant telcos. It has relationships with 130 operators, and processes more than 20 petabytes of mobile data a day. It claims its video solutions reduce traffic by up to 60 per cent, easing pressure on networks and enabling operators to evolve offerings from short, lo-res clips to full-length HD – and from progressive downloads to streaming media.
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: SAFFRON DIGITAL
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18 19 ME Awards 2012_Final 19/10/2012 10:03 Page 1
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Best Music Service Provider Shazam Shazam maintained its momentum this year as its discovery app passed the 250m app download milestone. Thus, Shazam claims to have generated $300m sales of digital goods for the music industry in its history – and reckons up to ten per cent of its music tags lead to purchases from stores like Apple's iTunes. Interestingly, Shazam launched its first new app since 2008 with the Shazam Player. It inched Shazam closer to being a destination, rather than a tool for discovering tracks.
Omnifone In September 2012, Omnifone did something remarkable in the world of digital music provision: it posted a profit. Omnifone’s core Music Station platform takes care of licensing, digitising and copy-protecting songs and enables third parties to offer music services comprising 22m tracks. Customers include Sony (Music Unlimited), RIM (BBM Music) and HP. In 2012, the firm launched services under its own internally developed brand, rara.
24/7 Entertainment 24-7 made its name – and won an ME Award – for its pioneering work with Denmark's mobile operator and ISP TDC, for which its bundled unlimited music with broadband/mobile subscriptions. More recently, however, the firm launched a Spotifylike all-you-can-eat streaming music offering called Juke. In 2012, 24/7 expanded the offer to include social media sharing, PayPal, performance optimisation and more. Socalled Jukers even get exclusives, such as video access to ‘private’ artist gigs.
Spotify Though a PC business at first, Spotify’s future was always in mobile. The app era helped it to accelerate that vision, and in July 2012, it confirmed 4m paying subscribers – that represented one million new premium subs since January. Overall, it had more than 15m active users at this point. The result of all this has been revenue that could hit $250 in 2012. Spotify is now planing to launch a Pandoralike free radio service to complement its paid streaming offering.
Livewire Mobile Livewire bought UK rival Fonestarz in 2010 to become one of the mobile world’s most widely connected mobile music specialists. Highlights of its services in 2012 include: the
debut of Canada’s first unlimited music service, Siren, on Public Mobile; the launch of its own music discovery and navigation application Rumpus on Android smartphones and tablets; and the growth of its music downloads services through Android apps and mobile web services on operators like Bell Mobility, 3UK and Ireland, Vodafone New Zealand and Telecom New Zealand.
Deezer France’s Deezer has made steady progress competing with Spotify as a music streaming service by closing multiple deals with strategic partners. It started with Orange in its home country and gradually extended this via deals with T-Mobile Austria, Deutsche Telekom and more. And there were also launches in Brazil, Cuba, Venezuela, Singapore and Malaysia. It claims over 20m users, 1.5m of whom are paying.
Mobile Roadie Mobile Roadie was arguably the first company to market a DIY music app-building solution. The company powers more than 3,000 apps in the US, UK, Japan, China, Brazil and the Middle East. By the summer of 2012, its apps has 20m users and were adding 1.5m more a month.The firm powers the official Taylor Swift app and says a push notification sent from the app to 1m followers helped power 623,000 first week song downloads.
Nokia Nokia was always a vigorous player in the mobile music space, and its conversion to the WinPho platform didn’t change this. Thus, the firm loaded the Nokia Music service (downloads, radio, playlists etc...) on all Lumia devices and has now reached 24 countries. The service offers more than 17m tracks from all major labels, with no sin up or login required. No ads either.
Flowd The Flowd app lets fans communicate directly with artists and comprises 'Foursquare' style check-ins for registering attendance at gigs. It has 800 bands on its system, but seems to have been adopted most enthusiastically by clubbers thanks to the participation of DJs such as Armin van Buuren. In its first year, 7.5 per cent of attendees used Flowd to check in to the gigs and 76 per cent of those went on to collect free merchandise.
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: SPOTIFY
18 19 ME Awards 2012_Final 19/10/2012 10:04 Page 2
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Best Augmented Reality Company Blippar
Probably the best known of all the AR startups. It’s done a great deal of PR around turning ‘Blip’ into a verb that denotes zapping something with an AR browser. Thus, Blipp to Buy offers brands the chance to merge mcommerce with image recognition and AR, enabling its app users to instantly buy items that are featured in press ads, outdoor ads or editorial ads in print. The service has been tested in the UK with Tesco, ASOS, Domino's Pizza and Aer Lingus. One successful campaign saw seven per cent (or 26,500) of Stylist readers using Blippar on the Olympics edition of the title, generating more than 152,000 blipps – an average of 5.8 each.
Metaio’s roots go back to 1999, but it began publicising its AR work a decade later. Its core product is Junaio, the free mobile browser that acts both as content vehicle and development platform. It now reckons 15m people are using its tech, and that (by end 2011) 5,000 developers were using it to make AR content. Last December, Metaio made its SDK free to developers, and enhanced it with gravity-aware AR experiences, a 3D rendering engine and visual tracking technology for 2D and 3D objects, which was three times more robust than the previous version.
Zappar is another big name helping to make the UK a hotbed of AR action. It has partnered with Penguin Books to digitise books like Moby Dick and Robinson Crusoe offering animations, video, audio and extracts by pointing the phone at the book cover. Perhaps a bit more interesting was the deal with card specialist Moonpig to offer a range of cards that come to life when viewed through an AR browser. Called Video Cards and costing from £4.99, the landscape or portrait cards feature a still to trigger video content. Other partners include Asda, JCPenney, Macy's, WWE and Hasbro. By autumn 2012, Zappar had more than 700,000 users, who had made more than 1.6m 'Zaps' since May 2011.
In July, Aurasma confirmed 4m downloads of its AR app in its first year – thanks in part to its work with 6,000 partners. It is one of the more visible firms in the AR space, not least because it’s a division of Autonomy, the British tech giant bought by HP for $10bn in 2011. Aurasma expects to pass the 10,000 partner milestone by 2013, and has certainly accrued some eye-catching deals in the last year including those with Universal Pictures UK, Budweiser, Bandai, Marie Claire and more. A huge breakthrough came in September, when Aurasma announced a global partnership with Telefónica Digital to integrate the technology into the range of media services Telefónica offers brands and advertisers. In the same month, it made a big splash by teaming up with Sainsburys to enhance the Sainsbury’s Magazine with AR features.
This Dutch company can claim to be the first to really popularise AR within the industry. Its location-based tech senses where the user is and then overlays markers on the cameraphone view. Third parties can make their own apps to sit on top of the platform. The firm claims that over 25m people have downloaded Layar – and that one million are active per month. Layar keeps innovating around the basic tech. This summer it launched a platform for 'augmenting' print pages, giving publishers the ability to bring static pages to life with videos, links and 'buy' buttons on an AR app. Layar reckons that, when readers view these pages inside the app, the printed page effectively becomes a point-of-sale. And because the tech recognises existing images from print pages (there's no need for markers), it is a smoother and more intuitive experience for end users.
Chipset giant Qualcomm is famed for its investment in R&D and as such it’s been at the forefront of the AR space. The firm doesn’t really compete with the others in this shortlist. Indeed, many AR firms – Blippar, for example – base their platforms on Qualcomm’s Vuforia tech. The firm reckons this powers more than 1,000 apps a year, with licensees including Audi, Nike, and Sony Pictures. By summer 2012, almost 30,000 developers signed up to the platform from over 130,000 countries. Vuforia enables image-based AR that uses a visual trigger to bring animations, graphics and video to the screen. It recently added cloud-based image recognition, expanding its local database of 80 images to over a million. Qualcomm believes this can transform the tech. It’s already working with American Apparel on apps that can give product info in store.
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Best Social Games Service Provider Star Arcade
Finland's Star Arcade specialises in connected gaming, targeting its freemium and adfunded games primarily at the emerging markets of Africa, Asia and Latin America. It launched in 2011 with a platform enabling multi-play, rankings, high-scores, chat and so on. Crucially, the games run on feature phones or smart devices. By summer 2012, it had over 600,000 users. This year, Star Arcade began testing a tournament play model with operators. The scheme sends out messages that invite players to download a game and then take part in a weekly or daily contest. Itâ€™s being trialled by Saudi Telecom Company.
In 2010, PlayPhone pivoted away from the dying ringtone business to re-direct its expertise and relationships at social gaming. The resultant network supports crossplatform virtual goods inventory management, cloud-based gamer progress tracking, synchronous multiplayer gaming and social integration on smartphones and tablets. It launched in late 2011 and had 4.1m monthly active users by July 2012. PlayPhone hosted 12m game sessions and 3.5m gameplay hours in June alone.
GREE The Japanese social games giant arguably began the whole browser-based social gaming revolution. After sweeping like a tornado through its domestic market, GREE started looking overseas with a series of strategic acquisitions in 2011. The process started when it bought OpenFeint for $104m and then invested in developers IUGO and Wizcorp last month. GREE also opened a base in San Francisco. The firm's most recent fiscals showed that its platform had 7,500 games and 190m registered users. Its stated goal is to attain one billion worldwide users.
Tequila Mobile This Polish mobile games publisher operates the Tequila Planet platform, which offers freeto-play mobile games across a variety of mobile platforms, with 'one click' virtual goods purchases. It amassed over 10m users in its first year and is on track for 30m unique users in 2012. The firm's key differentiator is that it focuses on free-to-play Java, Android and RIM games played beyond the crowded app stores. Its in-app billing infrastructure covers over 85 countries. Other high points of the year included a $1.7m funding round and a deal to supply games to specialist distributor Mondia.
PapayaMobile DeNA DeNA's Mobage service brings games together in one network and lets users engage in connected play while buying virtual items using the Mobage currency. It's been a huge success in its native Japan, where ARPUs are around $12 a month. Today, there are 40m users on its Mobage platform in Japan, but DeNA is also active in Europe, China and the US. 2012 was marked by more expansion, and the signing of several important partnerships. High among them was a deal to make games based on characters from Disney and its Marvel Comics unit. It is also working with Hasbro to bring the Transformers franchise to mobile.
Last year's winner is an open mobile social network that provides tools for Android developers to create freemium mobile social games. It hosts games on a network used by 68m members across the world. These users can invite friends to participate in games, and keep up with them when not playing. More than 300 games run on the PapayaMobile social network â€“ and they're all third party titles since PapayaMobile ceased publishing its own games in May 2011. Cumulative revenue from in-game purchases and virtual currency sales also increased by nearly 50 per cent in 2012, and 20 new Android games were added from leading European developers Tatem Games, CandyBox Games, BulkyPix, AMA, and Kiloo.
LAST YEARâ€™S WINNER: PAPAYAMOBILE
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Best Games Monetisation Service inneractive
This Israeli firm runs a developer-centric ad exchange that brings together 120 ad providers in a one line SDK. Developers can easily embed the code to access a network of different advertisers, and they can optimise their ad pay-outs and thereby maximise their app potential. inneractive has been busy linking up with strategic partners to increase its footprint. A good example is Marmalade. So now, when developers use the ‘write once deploy many’ platform, they get the option to monetise using the inneractive ad network.
Sweden’s 24MAS rose to near ubiquity in 2011 as an ad network, but ended the year acquiring aggregator Selatra and the UK sports publisher Player One. In 2012 it built on these foundations to enhance its back-end technology platform 123play.com, which supports feature such as app rental and subs. Operators have gone for it. Deals concluded in 2012 included those with 3 Indonesia, O2 Ireland, Vodafone Hungary and more.
GetJar GetJar relies on sponsorship and ads to support its free app model, but the reason it’s been shortlisted here is GetJar Gold. This is an entirely virtual currency but it pays out real money to developers funded by ads. It works by inviting developers to code an SDK into their apps. This adds a 'pay with GetJar Gold' option to any traditional in-app payments currency they already use – and thereby takes the currency to apps on stores such as Google Play or Amazon Appstore. GetJar Gold passed 20m users in its first seven months.
Flurry Flurry is well-known for its Flurry Analytics services, which give developers the tools to understand how consumers interact with their apps. The idea is discover who’s using the app, how and when. The tools can divide segments by demographics, interest, geography, usage and more – and show how to tweak the app for better results. Over 75,000 companies use Flurry Analytics in more than 200,000 apps. But Flurry also has 'data-powered' app ad platform, AppSpot. This takes all the data goodness from the analytics tools to take ad targeting to what it believes is a new level of accuracy.
Mondia Media This content distributor has focused hard on gaming in 2012, with some success. Its games store for Vodafone India recently introduced the All You Can Play club. To counter low credit levels on user phones, Mondia came up with the ‘5 Rupee per day’ store, which allows customers to play all the games for just five rupees using wrapper technology to regulate the sessions. Over 1,300 games now attract over 13,000 downloads a day.
Flexion Flexion's wrapper tech offers an alternative to giving away demos or taking a risk on full priced launches. Its tech uses DRM to limit access, so that developers can give away a full game, but restrict it by plays or levels – and make it simple for players to unlock the rest. Flexion-wrapped games are available in Orange, Nokia, Samsung and Sony stores. Flexion says 160m user are on the platform.
Kiip This US ad specialist has enjoyed an amazing run since launch in late 2010. Kiip’s mantra is ‘real rewards for virtual achievements’. So, when a user makes a breakthrough, such as a high score, the Kiip system rewards them with coupons that can be exhanged for 'real' rewards. By summer 2012, there were more than 400 Kiip-enabled games and apps. Kiip says it gives out five rewards a second.
TeePee Games Industry legend Tony Pearce launched TeePee in 2010 and continues to make strides with the games discovery portal. TeePee gives gamers a web destination that uses a smart questionnaire to deliver back targeted recommendations for browser, tablet and smartphone titles. Interestingly, the firm has begun working with third parties, and now powers the games channel for OK! magazine. TeePee now hosts more than 3,000 games.
Antix Games The team behind UK firm Antix has long nursed a desire to build a platform that allows gamers to play, share and even copy games whatever the device they use. In 2012 it launched as the Antix Game Player, offering tools, certification and the option to pre-built choose white-label games. Antix has already signed up Indonesian operators Telkomsel and MLW Telecom, and smart TV makers Haier and Vestel.
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Best Cross-Platform Tools Provider Marmalade
Marmalade is one of the pioneers of the crossplatform tools space. Its platform lets developers build one code base and deploy to multiple platforms with just one click. Close to 100,000 developers have chosen Marmalade and games such as Cut the Rope and Draw Something were made with it. Beyond the SDK, Marmalade runs an service to help connect developers to lesser-known app stores. Over the last year it paid out over $500,000 to developers as part of this program. In 2012 Marmalade extended the functionality of its SDK with enhancements based around location, notifications and social media.
The KonyOne platform lets developers build an app once and deploy it across more than 9,000 devices, seven operating systems and multiple channels. The US-based firm is already working with 70 Fortune 500 companies in airline, automotive and insurance. Kony had a memorable 2012, doubling bookings and extending into added HTML5 apps and the enterprise BYOD (BringYour-Own-Device) sector with off-the-shelf, vertical-specific apps for banking, healthcare, retail, travel and other areas.
Appcelerator Appcelerator’s Titanium platform is one of the world's most popular solutions: there are 50,000 Titanium-built native apps in production today on 75m devices. The system leverages over 5,000 device and OS APIs to create native iOS and Android apps as well as HTML5 web apps. The firm reckons customers who standardise on the Titanium Platform get to market 70 per cent faster than with native development and can quickly optimise business results with analytics–driven insights into user behavior and app performance.
Mippin Mippin has been around for years but pivoted away from its news aggregation project to turn itself into a cross-platform app-creation engine that allows content owners to build great-looking apps in minutes. It offers these services from its own platform but also licenses it to OEMs and operators, so they can extend the functionality to their own partners. This year, Mippin developed the BlackBerry App Generator. It’s an an online tool that enables publishers to build apps for BlackBerry device in less than ten minutes, and distribute it via BlackBerry App World.
Usablenet is a pretty different beast from the games-focused Maramalade and Unity. While they target hardcore developers, Usablenet has reached out to mainstream brands in retail, travel, banking and more with a platform that re-configures a full web site for mobile (or app) and requires no technical expertise from the customer. It delivers versions that work across any device, plus Facebook and other channels. The firm works with 25 per cent of the Fortune 1000.
US firm appMobi is one of the industry’s most enthusiastic flag wavers for HTML5 web apps. It has over 50,000 developers using its services to apps using just one code base. appMobi's solution supports in-app payments, push messaging, user analytics, gamification and game acceleration. It is billed on a per app/per-active user basis. Last summer, appMobi embarked on an audacious promo, offering free access to its tools – with no fee chargeable until an app has reached 10,000 monthly users (after which it costs ten cents per additional monthly user).
A previous winner at the ME Awards, Unity achieved a notable milestone in 2012: hitting 1m registered developers for the first time and over 6m total downloads. Unity reckons nearly two per cent of the world’s 16m active developers are using its tech to develop their projects. Clients include Coca-Cola, Disney and EA. Mirroring the growth of the Unity platform is the Unity Web Player, which lets gamers run 3D content created with Unity directly in the browser. It’s had 125m installs and reaches over 5m new PCs a month.
A switch from operator portals to branded apps and sites saw July prosper in the ‘second wave’ of mobile content. The firm’s Mi platform now powers solutions for big clients such as ToysRUs, Intel and the NBA. The ‘platform as a service’ solution lets these clients crate their own products without tech expertise, and configure them for different devices and user bases. Perhaps its best known product is the ESPN Goals app it made for the eponymous sports broadcaster.
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Best Pay By Mobile Company Onebip
Onebip signalled its intention to migrate its impressive progress in continental Europe to anglophone markets by re-locating its HQ to London in 2011. The company is a division of Italian content giant Neomobile, and has an impressive roster of clients in the games and dating spaces such as Travian, Stardoll and Badoo. Founded in 2005, its system connects to more than 200 operators in 58 countries. Onebip's biggest moment in 2012 was the launch of its single-click Onebip Mobile Browser. It uses an encrypted identification process to recognise the user’s phone number, so he or she does not have to input any credentials such as a password or PIN.
Buongiorno's payment service is now available in Italy, Spain, Germany and France. It has 40 merchant partners, and has been used by over 150,000 customers to buy digital goods via 1.7m transactions every month. In 2012, Buongiorno extended its functionality to support one click in-app operator payments on Android. The SDK's automatic number recognition works for any SIM-based device not only on 3G but also wi-fi. It also has an in-app purchase option for HTML5 apps.
BOKU BOKU is one of the better known companies in this shortlist, not least because it's based in the US, and exists to a degree in the Silicon Valley bubble. But that doesn't mean there isn't substance to its offer. BOKU is active in 66 countries through more than 240 carrier partners, and works with merchants such as Facebook and Zynga. The firm had an excellent 2012, raising $35m and sealing an eye-catching partnership with MasterCard to develop an NFC mobile wallet.
PayOne The company formerly known as PaymentOne re-branded as PayOne in 2012 to fuel its 'pay by mobile' drive. It's probably less well-known globally than BOKU et al, but it has a distinguished history in digital subscriptions and mobile payments. Last year, the firm passed the $5 bn milestone in direct to carrier billings for clients including Blizzard, AOL and WeeWorld. PayOne has a network of more than 1,200 operators in 80 countries, and reaches more than 4bn consumers and 10bn devices.
Danal This Korean company is probably best known as the power behind BilltoMobile, which is a big pay-by-mobile presence in the US market where it connects to all four major carriers. But it is a genuine innovator in its home country, where it powers mobile payments for physical goods – one of the few places in the world where this is legally possible. The firm has processed over $4bn in payment volume via over 12,000 online merchants in Korea, Taiwan and China. In 2012, Danal signalled its global ambitions with a launch into Europe.
M-Coin Like Cashlog and Onebip, M-Coin is the payby-mobile offshoot of a parent content giant. In this case, the owner is Portugal’s TIMWE. MCoin was lunched in 2010 and now operates in more than 75 countries, with 25 local offices processing millions of mobile payments per day. Merchant partners range from Habbo to TequilaMobile.
Text2Pay Text2Pay specialises in one tap billing for mobile websites, apps and hybrids in 43 countries. 2012 saw the company launch the 1-Tap system for speeding these transactions even more. The solution recognises the user’s phone number, and removes the need to input any information such as a password or PIN authentication. It also launched a new self-serve wizard that lets digital merchants set up mobile payments in minutes.
Bango This multiple ME Award winner enjoyed a memorable 2012 that climaxed in September when it switched on direct operator billing on Facebook apps. It was payback for over a decade of activity in the mobile payments space that started with SMS billing on small WAP sites and led to official partner status with US carriers and RIM. Bango also became a technology partner for Mastercard's PayPass mobile wallet and is working with Amazon.
GlobalCharge GlobalCharge focuses in-app micropayments. This is a growing space, but one dominated by credit card payments. App makers and app store owners know a vast army of users is excluded because of this, and that a huge opportunity exists to offer them 'pay by mobile'. GlobalCharge is addressing this in 72 countries through a network of over 200 carriers.
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Best Transactions Company CoreThree UK-based Corethree has a twist on the conventional billing proposition: rather than have clients build their own payments enabled apps, partners take a presence on the Core payments app. End users register their payment card details once, and then have one app through which they can order from a range of merchants. Corethree has been busy in the travel space, signing up Go North East at launch, then adding More Bus and others.
OpenMarket This previous ME Award winner claims to be the largest messaging and payment provider in the industry. It has over 800 enterprise customers including Virgin Atlantic, Amazon and the NHS. Every year it processes $1bn in mobile payments while processing thousands of messages per second. Two notable events in 2012 included the launch of a Push Notifications service – adding another comms channel for its enterprise customers – and the opening of an Indian base.
Oxygen8 Oxygen8 is now one of the world’s most successful mobile transactions specialists, with offices in ten countries and operations in 20. The firm supports all manner of mobile comms, but has two specialist payments divisions: ‘Payment Solutions’ looks after SMS, WAP and operator billing while ‘International Money Remittance’ handles money transfers in emerging markets. Oxygen8’s billing services contributed 49 per cent of its revenues in FY2012.
MACH MACH is the payments giant that works with fixed and mobile telephony firms, but has successfully diversified into the app space through the MACH Direct Billing Gateway. It powers all operator-billed app purchases for Microsoft's Windows Marketplace, and won a deal earlier this year to do the same for Skype Credits. In September, MACH confirmed direct operator billing with all of the UK’s major mobile networks.
Sybase 365 Sybase 365 is the mobile division within transactions juggernaut Sybase. It’s active in six continents via 900 operators and delivers 1.8bn messages a day. Like all the companies in this shortlist, Sybase is evolving beyond its SMS roots into new areas. This year saw a
collaboration with Urban Airship to offer push notifications and a deepening of Sybase’s commitment to mobile transfers for the unbanked via a new deployment in Pakistan. It is also helping Telefonica Digital to develop the Telefonica mWallet.
Ericsson IPX Ericsson IPX works with more than 1,000 multi-national enterprises and hundreds operators all over the world. It’s a giant. But like every other big transactions beast, it has one eye on the big trends for the future. For Ericsson IPX, that means NFC. It plans to be an intermediary between wallet providers who want their apps to sit inside the SIM card, and the operators that own those SIMs. Hence, the launch of an NFC Trusted Service Manager dev kit and a partnership with software specialist Aconite to improve the offering.
mBlox mBlox was synonymous with the first generation of mobile VAS, building services around SMS and its premium cousin. But the firm evolved to offer enterprises much richer service via mBlox’s connections to 800 operators in over 180 countries. This year, it launched mBlox Engage, a toolkit to transform the app into a relationship marketing tool and revenue driver. Brands have the ability to wake up the app while it’s asleep, check location of the user, and trigger content based on location or time.
IMImobile IMImobile offers payment services as part of a wide remit to deliver a wide range of VAS products top operators and enterprises. Its DaVinci ESP platform connects to more than 80 operators and 100-plus brands in 64 countries. The India-based firm is very active in Africa and has an agreement with MTN in 20 countries. Meanwhile, in 2011 alone, IMImobile handled more than 23m audience messages for clients such as BBC, Sky, Global Radio and zeebox.
txtNation txtNation offers a range of transactional and marketing tools to help over 7,000 clients reach consumers in 70 countries. Its product set includes the txtNation Gateway for mobile billing and SMS services, the JunglePay all-inone payments solution for sites and apps, and the mFusion suite for delivering mobile marketing campaigns.
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: BANGO
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Best Web Publishing Company bemoko
bemoko has offered a cross-platform solution that coverts desktop sites to mobile since 2007. It has worked primarily with agencies but is now looking to fly solo with clients include Pizza Hut, Nokia, and McDonald’s. It’s been working with Macmillan Cancer Research for 18 months and estimates that mobile will account for 50 per cent of the charity’s total traffic by the end of the year, up from nine per cent when it started working with bemoko.
Antenna is one of the market’s oldest established mobile web specialists, having been active through the WAP days under its former guise Volantis. In 2011, Antenna dedicated its resources at launching a publishing platform targeted at enterprises. The firm grew on the back of working with Global 1000 companies like Heineken, Xerox and Coca-Cola. Its new task was to translate this into a easy-to-use, cross-platform tool for enterprises. The result was AMPchroma, which went live in February 2012.
Infomedia Mobile agency Infomedia launched in 2002 and has offered marketing support across all elements of mobile entertainment ever since, with a particular focus on the web. Tesco Mobile, Virgin Media and Manchester United enlisted the firm for mobile site builds, while Betfred recently signed up to the new InfoMedia 247 Sport portal, which delivers sporting content and promos via the mobile web and apps. Infomedia is handling customer-facing issues such as SMS communication and inserting the odds for a given sports event or news story.
Holland’s Momac was launched in 2001 as a content aggregator, before launching the mVolve web development platform. It’s live in 29 countries, and begun an expansion into North and South American markets at the start of the year with the opening of a Florida office. The growth secured partnerships with operators in Brazil, Argentina and Chile. The mVolve platform runs more than 1,000 mobile sites, apps and operator portals for clients including Vodafone, Telefonica, 3 and MSN.
Wapple started the year with a bang by winning a five-year trademark battle against Apple, which had alleged that the mobile web publisher was trading off of its name and brand. Wapple is one of the original mobile web champions and has consistently grown a business that offers a DIY platform for small companies to build sites but also works with multinational brands on giant campaigns. Clients include 3, Fabreze, Comic Relief and others. In total it has more than 25,000 users of its technology, which is used in more than 100 countries and 23 languages.
Duda Duda was launched in 2009, following a poor iPhone web browsing experience the year before, which left the co-founder squinting at his screen in frustration. The Californian company’s DudaMobile reseller platform offers do-it-yourself tools that make it easy and affordable for small businesses and agencies go mobile. It’s now licensed by AT&T, Webs.com, Logoworks by HP, Yahoo! and other leading companies. By January 2012, Duda had mobilised more than 1m websites. Now, it’s nearer 2m.
Netbiscuits is a multiple winner of this award. It offers a cloud platform for the development and delivery of sites and apps across all devices. This year Netbiscuits added two major upgrades. The first was the Tactile HTML5 Development Framework, which addresses the cross-device challenges of multi-touch. Next, Netbiscuits rolled out Adtribute, which is an IAB & MMA standards compliant solution for the creation and delivery of rich media ads for touch-enabled mobile devices.
Taptu Taptu offers a cross-platform social newsreader app and a developer platform that allows any publisher to take their content mobile. Its reader lets users ‘DJ their news’ by taking multiple feeds and presenting them in a cool icon-based UI. Streams can be based on keyword search or topic, then shared with friend. They are constantly updated. Meanwhile Taptu’s developer platform, Tapform, is being used to host the content of The Guardian UK’s Environment as well as Dutch publication De Pers.
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Best Ad Network Adfonic Adfonic is now one of the world’s fastestgrowing ad networks with offices in three continents. It offers real-time reporting, analytics and post-click measurement to over 15,000 publisher sites and apps, giving advertisers access to 200m users, and driving 80bn quarterly ad requests. It also launched a big push into the rich media space.
KissMyAds In barely a year, this Anglo-German firm made its mark with some innovative ideas. These include an affiliate programme that offers lifelong payments for all subs generated. KissMyAds offers revenue models including cost per action and cost per sale using a platform that learns from past performance. It also developed a UDID workaround based on fingerprint tracking.
InMobi Last year’s winner maintained its momentum in 2012 via a network that reaches 578m users via over 13,000 sites and apps. It has 25 regional offices. 2012 saw a major push into rich media to the extent that half of all brand campaigns now feature it. InMobi also addressed Apple’s clampdown on UDID targeting to create an alternative tracking tool, which is available to the whole industry.
madvertise This European network expanded fast in 2012 to hit 6bn page impressions a month by July – up 200 per cent on the end of 2011. It helped that madvertise expanded its footprint eastwards by purchasing Turkey’s Mobilike to add 600m impressions a month. And it kept the new services coming, launching an ad planning dashboard for agencies.
Jumptap This US network reaches 156m worldwide. Jumptap's big focus is linking consumer behaviour on mobile and the web with offline data to give advertisers a fuller picture. That's why it's partnering with data providers like Datalogix. Jumptap also increased its rich media campaigns by 187 per cent in 2012.
sales in September 2012. This year Google added AdMob campaigns to the AdWords dashboard, making an inventory of more than 300,000 apps available to 1m advertisers.
YOC YOC has achieved remarkable results with what it claims is the largest premium media network in Europe. It offers a self-service marketplace that delivers 5bn mobile ad impressions a month with 300 publishers. In 2012, YOC won a Golden Lion for its 'Mystery Ad' format. The Nokia campaign reproduced a WinPho UI on iOS and Android devices.
4th Screen This UK ad network is respected for its innovation in ad formats and its work with a number of premium publishers. 2012 was a big year for the firm, not least because it was bought by Opera Software. It will be interesting to see how 4th Screen helps to monetise its new owner’s 160m plus users.
Mojiva Mojiva processes 45bn ad requests a month across 8,000 sites and apps. The firm offers both a ‘regular’ mobile ad network and also a self-service ad server – Mocean – for bigger publishers. The latter was the basis for a huge deal with Microsoft to serve mobile display ads across global network including MSN for Mobile and other properties.
MobPartner This French affiliate network grabbed the headlines in September, when it signed a deal with GREE. The collaboration gives GREE’s network of developers the chance to get infront of MobPartner’s 100,000 publishers, while monetising their traffic. MobPartner is live in 200 networks.
LeadBolt Leadbolt serves up to 2bn ads per month to over 30,000 apps in 100 countries. It says its ad types achieve eCPMs up to 15 times higher than for standard banners, by targeting users when they run the app, during app usage and even when the app is not in use.
Google Google remains a significant presence in a space that it created (as AdMob) back in 2005. Indeed, according to eMarketer, Google accounted for 56 per cent of all US mobile ad
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: INMOBI
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Best Rich Media Ad Platform Crisp Media Crisp was founded in 2003, and spent its early years building sites and later apps for big brands. But it correctly anticipated the revolution apps would bring to mobile advertising and built a platform for creating rich media campaigns. The 'Engage' platform was formally launched in September of 2009, offering advertisers and publishers a reporting dashboard to measure campaign performance in real time, and a catalogue of HTML5 ad units intended for use on smartphones and (later) tablets. Since then it’s added tech such as Adhesion, which overlay ads that stick to the screen wherever you scroll to, and also Capsize, which eliminates the need for multiple creative sizes by automatically adjusting the width and height of the foreground elements. Crisp won much praise for a campaign with Chevy that asked the viewer where they live and then gave them a destination that they could drive to on a single tank. It showed the journey by displaying a map that synced with a video and a gallery.
Medialets Medialets works with over 300 of the world’s premium publishers and recently opened an EMEA office in the UK. Clients include BBC, BSkyB, The New York Times, Thomson Reuters and Yahoo!. Although it has a self-service ‘dashboard’, the firm describes itself as a full service provider and partner, helping to build the ad, QA it, and make sure it works the same across all platforms and publishers’ mobile apps and websites. Once built, clients can buy inventory direct from premium publishers through the Medialets Private Marketplace. Medialets is pioneering 'super rich' mobile advertising. A good example is the HTML5 ad for Ralph Lauren that ran on the The New York Times iPad app. The ad was actually a multipage full-screen magazine, with a 'catalogue' of Polo products and interactive elements, such as multiple videos. It had a shopping cart built directly in, so users could purchase direct from it, all the way to transaction without leaving the ad format. Another was the Pepsi Max campaign that aimed to use every native feature of the iPad. You could zoom in on the multiple video layers to infinity, and even 'shake' the bottle and watch it explode.
Celtra Celtra's AdCreator platform is an SDK-agnostic, mobile ad creation platform for building, trafficking and tracking rich media mobile ads. It enables non-tech staff to create, manage, and
measure rich campaigns without the installation of any proprietary SDKs. And it's used by agencies, publishers and ad networks in 18 countries to create ads that feature video, touch, 3D, social media and other compelling elements. This summer, the firm pulled off a major coup when the agency giant Mindshare agreed to use its platform on an exclusive basis. Mindshare UK represents brands like Unilver, Landrover, Nestle, Mazda and more.
InMobi Studio Until earlier this year, InMobi Studio was known as Sprout, the rich media pioneer that lets agencies create HTML5 ad units using existing assets in as little as 45 minutes, and also distribute them across ad networks. InMobi bought Sprout in 2010. The firm has enjoyed a tremendous 2012, sealing landmark deals with Mediacom, Hearst and others. The former alone has annual billings exceeding $26 billion and 116 offices in 89 countries. Ad impressions grew 437 per cent in the first eight months of the year. InMobi Studio’s platform enables rich media ads features that include gamification, gesturing, animation, mobile video and locationbased ads. A well-known example of its output the HTML5 ad developed for Sega's Samurai Bloodshow. When clicked, it pops open to a full screen experience and features a fully functional demo of the game to try before purchase.
Amobee Amobee offers comprehensive, end-to-end mobile advertising solutions and services for advertisers, publishers and operators worldwide. Amobee enables its large customers to run targeted, leading edge mobile ad campaigns on a global scale with unparalleled ROI. Amobee is a division of SingTel’s Digital L!fe Group, which is focused on creating new digital growth engines to delight customers and disrupt adjacent industries. The company turned heads with Amobee PULSE Create - a cutting-edge mobile ad creation platform that lets advertisers and publishers create innovative rich media and 3D mobile ad campaigns. Amobee PULSE Create is the first full-scale creative ad platform that is fully integrated with Amobee PULSE for Publishers, which gives publishers the ability to measure performances of rich media and 3D mobile ad campaigns. Additionally, Amobee's technology has the unique ability to transform existing 2D assets into interactive 3D ads. Amobee PULSE Create is available to all advertisers and agencies, giving them exclusive access to PULSE 3D and PULSE Rich Media technology.
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Best Marketing Company Fetch Media Fetch is set to more than quadruple turnover in 2012 thanks to work with Sony Music, William Hill and Cancer Research. It does the creative but also plans and buys campaigns – making it a genuinely mobile agency. Thus, its work with Sony included mobile ads, an HTML5 creative with MTV and a listening screen takeover on Shazam. Fetch also bought Lucidity Mobile, gaining access to clients such as Harrods and Carlsberg.
Velti Velti provides marketing support to more than 825 brands via messaging, apps, and the mobile web. It had a busy end to 2011, sealing the multi-million dollar acquisitions of MIG, Air2Web and Casee. Velti also partnered with Vodafone to reward 6m PAYG customers with ‘Freebee Rewardz’, offering up treats from Thorntons, Fitness First and Blockbuster.
Somo Founded in 2009, Somo has secured clients including Samsung, Disney, EA, and perhaps most notably, Audi. Somo produced an AR app for the car giant for use during Le Mans, while TV-style creative for the A6 Avant was brought to mobile with HTML5. Somo later expanded into the US. The team has completed campaigns with Thorntons, IGN, Google, Orange and more.
Sponge Sponge is one of the world’s pioneers of mobile marketing. Today, it boasts offices in London and Africa, delivering more than 10,000 campaigns for clients including CocaCola, Adidas, and Barclays in more than 30 countries. In one outstanding campaign for Auto Trader, the Sponge platform delivered 20m searches from 2m unique users a month.
Enrich Mobile Enrich runs a premium network that comprises Sky, Angry Birds and others, and a proprietary video ad solution too. More recently the firm showcased a deeper form of marketing by putting together the acclaimed Rovio/Samsung promo. This rewarded Angry Birds gamers with a new Golden Egg Galaxy level they could only unlock by visiting a video site detailing new Samsung products.
Odyssey Odyssey builds advertising and marketing solutions primarily for the world’s movie
studios. This ranges from serving rich media ads to building sites and apps. In 2012 one of the most successful of Odyssey’s campaign was with Warner Bros on The Hangover Part II.
Isobar Mobile Aegis Group consumed Marvellous in 2007, and last year merged the well-known mmarketing company with an existing subsidiary to make Isobar. This year’s outstanding campaign was for the ‘Bud Ice Cold Index’ app. It targeted Irish drinkers and had a simple premise: the hotter the weather, the less they would pay for their Bud Ice. The redemption rate hit 1,000 vouchers per day.
AKQA WPP-owned AKQA launched its mobile division in 2006,. It went on to become a huge presence on the m-marketing scene. Perhaps its most successful campaign is Nike Training Club, which offers GPS-enabled workouts and support. It’s regarded as a brilliant example of a brand building an enduring and useful product, not just a gimmick or a bit of fun. It went to number one in 21 countries.
Lumata Lumata launched in 2011 after a de-merging of Buongiorno’s marketing unit. It arrived fully formed with more than 100 customers including operators, OEMs, retailers and brands. But it won new clients in 2012, launching an m-commerce site for French Connection as part of a wider m-commerce strategy. It also acquired ACT750, a specialist in real-time customer retention products.
Placecast Stateside Placecast is all about location-based deals services. It provides a white label platform for the O2 More scheme, which alone passed 10m users in May. Placecast has more than 130 retailers using its ShopAlerts service, and recently opened its APIs to enable any company to embed the tools into their mobile wallets.
Brainstorm Brainstorm started off by providing SMS campaigns, but has since adapted to offer a cloud platform, Dragon, to support MMS, rich media and demographic targeting. The platform sent £3.8m of messages in two years. Brainstorm also offers so-called ‘Ambient Marketing’, which delivers contextual offerings based on real-world variables.
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: FETCH MEDIA
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Best Customer Service Betfair
In a market where customers can get a tad, er, emotional, it's only right that Betfair puts such an emphasis on customer service. The company has a collection of 14 promises, created in tandem with customers, designed to ensure it delivers the best service it can. As the public's trust in m-commerce increases, more and more companies are staking a claim on the mobile gambling market, but among them all Betfair stands tall, largely thanks to its policy of transparency. It has also embraced social media, creating a dedicated Twitter feed for helpdesk-style enquiries.
Operators don’t often get plaudits for customer service. Indeed, they generally get stick. So critical is their service to people’s lives that every fault is scrutinised and criticised. When the O2 network went down in July this year, the official Twitter feed was besieged by angry users. Customers wanted to know what had gone wrong and when it would be fixed, but O2 didn't know. Rather than sending out a dull PR-nonsense response and keeping quiet, it chose to respond with wit and humanity to some of the Twitter messages irate customers were sending its way. For example, when requested to auto-fellate by one irate Tweeter, O2 replied: “Maybe later, got tweets to send right now.” It didn't fix the problems any sooner, but it helped calm the mood. Not only did Ofcom name O2 as the UK mobile provider with the highest level of customer satisfaction in the last year, but its use of social media to connect with customers has won it a lot of positive attention.
Freshdesk Freshdesk is a multilingual, online helpdesk and customer support tool that imports and syncs all Google contacts and allows users to manage helpdesk tickets from within Gmail. It can be integrated into Jira and allows monitoring and customer support via Twitter and Facebook too. After launching in June last year, Freshdesk raised more than $6m in venture funding from Tiger Global and Accel.
Samsung OpenMarket OpenMarket is a multi-national giant in the mobile payments and messaging space. This necessarily puts it in a delicate position between mobile operators and 800 big enterprise customers. Essentially, major brands rely on OpenMarket to power their mobile business. So the firm has invested significant effort to build a customer-centric approach. As a result, customers can speak directly to real support engineers – not call centres – and receive 24/7 support from technically qualified native speakers.
Samsung has led the way in many aspects of mobile in the last couple of years, and customer service is no exception. In an effort to show customers it cares, earlier this year Samsung released a mobile app called, er, Samsung Cares (no award for the name). The app aims to provide customer service on the go, offering the facility to view FAQs, How-To Guides, video tutorials and troubleshooting guides. The app even allows users to track the service status of devices sent off for repair.
Amazon Amazon’s success has been powered by low prices and seamless checkout. But equally important is its commitment to high levels of service for its 152m customers. In this, it has been very successful, setting new benchmarks for what’s possible. This year, the Foresee customer satisfaction score for Amazon was the highest awarded to any Internet shopping website since the research began in 2005. Amazon bases its mission statement around being customer-centric, and states that ‘every time a customer contacts us, we see it as a defect’. Tales of the company replacing faulty Kindles with free next day are common, and the firm even copies over previous purchases to the new device.
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Best PR agency Hotwire To tech journos, Hotwire is known as the agency that represents Acision, Shazam, FT and many more. The firm has developed internal systems to formalise its activity in some areas. For instance, it created a bespoke social media monitoring system called Listening Post and also the ‘Issues Factory’, which focuses on positioning its clients as thought leaders in their industries. Hotwire has 167 staff in seven offices across Europe, Asia, South America and the Far East. In 2012, it was ranked 49th in The Holmes Report’s Top 250 Global Agencies list.
Diffusion Diffusion is a tech-centred agency with genuine mobile chops. This is evident in a client roster that stretches from start-ups like Chelsea Apps Factory and Mindshapes to established industry leaders like Nokia. Over the past year, Diffusion’s mobile division has grown by over 350 per cent in revenue with new client wins including Hotels.com and 118118. Bravely, Diffusion works on a revolutionary payment-by-results model.
works. VSC claims to be the market’s first mobile-centric PR agency, having launched in 2002. In a decade its worked with a parade of huge Valley names including AdMob, OpenFeint, Greystripe, Motally and Card.io. It was also the first firm to launch a dedicated agency for promoting apps. VSC firm has grown 20 per cent every year, and 60 per cent in 2012. It’s won over 100 awards.
Mustard PR One of the most active and enduring of UK agencies, Mustard has helped new and established businesses to raise their profiles. Back in the early days, the firm helped In-Fusio become (arguably) the world’s biggest mobile games developer. It used this as a springboard to work with Orange, Buongiorno, madvertise, Lumata, Vuzix and others. This year it helped to launch the mobile data measuring app Onavo, generating £15m worth of media coverage. Its campaign for Foap (a service that lets users sell their iPhone pictures) was covered in 26 countries.
Speed says ‘we have mobile in our blood’. It certainly has the track record to back this up. In 2007, it launched Admob in the UK, working with it right up until the sale to Google in 2010. It’s also played a key role in bringing star start-ups like The Mobile Money Network and Somo to the attention of trade and public. Today, Speed’s team stands at almost 90 people in London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Singapore.
In case you’re wondering, it stands for digital, mobile and social. Dimoso is less than a year old, but its formidable trio of founders (20 years experience between them) and its unconventional approach has enabled it to win significant business with Openmarket, Onebip, Yazino, M&C Saatchi Mobile, Papaya and many more. The firm also found time to launch App Promoter – a dedicated service through which journalists can find screenshots, video, info etc relating to hundreds of app releases.
Liberty will be known to pretty much every mobile journo in the world. After all, it mans the press zone at Mobile World Congress. In all it had 15 clients at the 2012 show, securing 229 briefings and over 367 pieces of coverage. Liberty won the MWC gig on the back of many years’ work with all manner of mobile clients, not least Qualcomm and the MMA. In 2012, it hired Nick Lane, analyst and founder of MobileSQUARED, to further bolster its mobile nous.
For many years, Tim Banks and Steve Green were the InfoMob boys – highly regarded PRs on the UK mobile scene. They still are (highly regarded, that is), but they are no longer InfoMob. Now re-branded GiantPR, they have maintained their position at the heart of the market, working with the MEF and MIG, and helping to launch interesting new start-ups like the ad-funded mobile broadband venture Samba Mobile.
VSC There’s something very Californian about this SanFran-based agency. Maybe it’s the way it eschews formal job titles in favour of ‘The Fresh Prince’ and ‘The ImPRessionist’. But it
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Best Recruitment Agency Propel London
This fast-growing company boasts a team of consultants that are genuine mobile enthusiasts, which has helped the firm to grow fast in mobile advertising and marketing, creative technology and user experience. Propel evangelises mobile to other markets by contributing to blogs, sponsoring and hosting mobile events, advertising on mobile specific sites and – of course – face to face networking. With a female CEO and founder, Propel does much good work to attract more women to tech and creative roles. The firm averages three placements per week into mobile for last recruitment year.
Datascope is especially well-known to games industry execs, and has successfully transferred that nous over to the mobile world. Over time, what started as an operation for placing developers evolved to embrace sales, marketing and PR in all corners of gaming. Datascope now has bases in the UK and US and has placed jobs in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, India, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Holland, Russia and the rest of Europe.
Aspire Mobile Aspire’s four strong team of mobile experts boasts and in depth knowledge of the sector, which has enabled Aspire to place some ‘big money’ signings in the areas of advertising/search, marketing, apps, payment, billing and social networking. Aspire has worked with clients including Carat, Manchester United, Deutsche Telekom, Velti and more. It is active on Twitter and has penned many white papers. It says 70 per cent of new business comes from referrals.
IMR Executive The founding directors of IMR Executive have over 20 years of collective experience in the specialist search industry. The firm has a specific focus on the digital Industries, and has become a fixture on the mobile scene thanks mostly to the tireless work of its director Ross Wellby. This is a guy who once rode a child’s bike in an ME Awards video. He’s dedicated. IMR works across Europe, North America and Asia and has placed hundreds of execs in all corners of the mobile business.
Artemis Search This cross sector recruiter has had a presence across the UK since 2004 from offices in London, Leeds and Manchester. It provides bespoke solutions for both client and candidates from junior management to board level appointments across the UK and Europe. Artemis has a growing digital division in which mobile is a major part.
OPM Recruitment OPM was started by Kim Parker Adcock and her computer in 1999. It is now an internationally recognised specialist in games personnel recruitment. Key to its development has been a procedure document that guides its team on how to operate in terms of processes, database, ethics, morals, quality of information and service. This was named ‘The Never Ending Story’ in 2012 as a wry attempt to reflect its evolutionary nature. It’s clearly working.
Sheridan Evans Sheridan Evans was founded in 2004 by Richard Evans, who can boast a genuinely deep insiders’ knowledge of the mobile space. His 20 year career in technology includes various GM, marketing and business development roles at Motorola, Vodafone and others. Richard also hosts the popular monthly mobile networking dinners at Little Italy in London.
European Leaders This high level search company has worked with clients including LoveFilm, ByteMobile, Aspiro and many more. But it complements its recruitment work with a training and information sharing ethos. The firm’s CEO Academy brings together business leaders for networking and mutual support. Then there are the Hot Topics events, comprising invitation-only panel debates. Previous speakers have included leaders from Google, Amazon, Groupon, Visa and Foursquare.
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Best Device Manufacturer Apple
Apple maintained its vice-like grip inside the heads of millions of mobile-philes in 2012. The iPhone 4S was widely considered to be an underwhelming launch. But it then sold 4m in a weekend. The iPhone 5 sold 5m when it rolled out in September. But of course Apple’s influence runs much deeper than hardware. In the last 12 months it launched significant new services including the speech recognition software Siri and the m-commerce app Passbook. Meanwhile the apps ecosystem powered on, passing 30bn downloads by July.
Hard to believe that just a few years ago, ZTE was making badged devices for operators. The Chinese OEM now has a stated aim to be a top three smartphone OEM and it spent 2012 moving closer to that goal. IDC placed ZTE in the smartphone top five, after shifting 8m devices in the second quarter to snatch a 5.2 per cent share of the worldwide market. The numbers placed it just 1.4 per cent behind Nokia. In 2012 ZTE unveiled the Grand X, a dual-core 4.3 inch device. It aims to ship 100m smartphones a year by 2015.
In the months following its split from Ericsson, Sony embarked on an unrelenting marketing drive by launching numerous Xperia devices. Of course, Sony has a vast family of devices in its roster, and it’s driving towards connecting them with a single platform. That explains the Xperia PlayStation devices. And it also lies behind the Music Unlimited streaming app, which makes Sony content accessible across smartphones, tablets, PS3, Vita and TVs.
Along with ZTE, Huawei represents the wind blowing in from the East and threatening to transform the smartphone market over the next decade. The Chinese firm is sharply focused on the entry-level Android space, and expects to ship 60m units this year. That's a threefold rise on the 20m shipped in 2011. At MWC, it unveiled the world’s first quad-core smartphone, the Ascend D, and a few weeks earlier it launched what it claimed was the thinnest Android phone on the market.
Samsung Interesting year for Samsung. The lawsuits flew and it won some of them, but lost the big one and paid Apple $1bn as a result. But the litigation ultimately stemmed from Samsung’s stunning success in smartphones. You don’t sue losers; the Galaxy S III ended up selling 20m phones in 100 days. Meanwhile Samsung ramped up its ambitions in content . The centrepiece of this strategy was Samsung Music Hub, which was upgraded from a music download site to a multi-purpose portal with streaming, subscriptions and radio.
Nokia 2011/2012 saw Nokia embark on the biggest change to its strategy since it abandoned rubber. The launch of the Lumia devices in December kicked off its partnership with Microsoft and signalled an end to Nokia’s reliance on its own OSs. The move met with mixed commercial success. But Nokia knows its struggle to win back consumers won’t be won in a year. So it continues to refine the strategy. The firm won more approval for a solid set of WinPho 8 devices in September. Nokia put the focus on its traditional strong point – imaging – enhacing its 920 phone with a ‘PureView’ camera, based on the same tech that powered the remarkable 41 megapixel handset it unveiled during MWC.
Amazon Is it possible that Apple is more spooked by Amazon than any other ‘hardware’ company? Think about it. Samsung, LG, Nokia et al don’t have any kind of leverage in content services. They don’t really have direct ongoing relationships with their customers. Amazon does. And now it sells devices too. The Kindle Fire upped the ante for Amazon, giving it a device that was more than a simple e-reader. The public lapped it up, but sales began to wane through the summer, and an overseas launch didn’t materialise. All that changed when Amazon unveiled a new seven-inch Kindle Fire HD tablet and updated Kindle Fire in September, then confirmed a global rollout for both.
Motorola What a crazy ride Moto has ‘enjoyed’ since selling squillions of RAZRs in the noughties. It messed that legacy up, and missed out on the smartphone revolution ushered in by Apple. Moo clawed back some ground with the Android-based Dext and Droid devices, before being bought by Google. 2012 saw Moto make its biggest move for years, unveiling the Intel based RAZRi with "edge-to-edge" display. The 4.3 inch display is 15 per cent larger than the iPhone 5.
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: SAMSUNG
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Best Operator Award Partner
O2 distinguished itself in 2012 with some genuinely ambitious launches that demonstrated its desire to be more than the clichéd dumb pipe. First there was O2 Wallet. Now, lots of operators talk about mobile money, but here was a genuine live launch. The central plank of the wallet was Money Messages, giving users the ability to load card details and then send money through a simple text to another user’s phone number. Daily transfers of between £1 and £500 are permitted. But the wallet also supported classic m-commerce features including ‘My Offers’. This service was supported at launch by retailers such as Debenhams, Comet, Sainsbury’s Direct, and Tesco Direct. Meanwhile the price comparison function supported the use of a barcode scanner to check prices and send the user to a price comparison site. O2 Wallet sought to build on the relationships nurtured between O2 and brands via previously launched services like Priority Moments. This is O2’s Groupon-type equivalent. It enables users to sign up and then access location-based offers flagged by GPS. A year after launch in July 2011, it claimed to have helped more than on 1m UK shoppers save more than £8m through 3,400 offers from more than 300 high street brands.
Like many operators, Voda felt the pinch in voice and text revs, while seeing data revs leap 22 per cent in a financial year to account for 14.5 per cent of the company's £43 bn in service revenues. It’s a trend that must have sharpened Vodafone’s desire to explore new data-driving ideas like m-commerce. The network’s ambitions in this space were spelt out loud and clear when it bought the location specialist Vouchercloud, raising its shareholding from 21 per cent to 57 per cent. Vouchercloud uses GPS to alert users to discounts, codes and vouchers for daily shopping from shops, restaurants, travel and financial services companies. Vouchers are downloaded with a single tap, then shown to the sales assistant in store to redeem the discount. The app has been downloaded more than 2.5 m times. Currently, more than 2,000 merchants are offering 8,000 discounts, vouchers and loyalty schemes. The service is live in the UK and has launched in Ireland. Voda is also exploring mobile money concepts, and clearly wants to be integral to the drive towards contactless proximity payments. Hence the NFC payments partnership with Visa. This project will be based on the Visa pre-paid account, and will be pitched at 398m customers in 30 countries.
Yes, it’s part of the Everything Everywhere setup now, but Orange still launches plenty of products and services under its own brand. In 2012, Orange ploughed on with its Quick Tap NFC payments project with Barclaycard. This was launched in May 2011, with limited success. But it got a big boost when Orange confirmed it would support Android, with the Samsung Galaxy SIII as the first device. Users can load up to £150 onto their handset using any UK Barclaycard debit or credit card with MasterCard or Visa. Quick Tap supports transactions of up to £20 each. It works with any NFC reader in the 70,000 UK outlets that accept the technology. Meanwhile, in a more traditional space, Orange continued to lead the operator market for own-brand smartphones. No one else comes close to Orange, which has enjoyed success with its Californian themed devices. And there was a big new launch in the summer when Orange UK unveiled Europe's first Intel-powered smartphone, the San Diego.
3UK doesn’t make the headlines for pioneering content services like it used to (remember SeeMeeTV?), but it doesn’t half know how to hammer those data bundles. The operator is very keen to play up the advantages of having a network built for data (a network in which it has invested $1bn since 2008), and offers all you can eat bundles from as little as £13 per month. Last summer, it trumpeted that its smartphone customers had doubled their data use in less than a year – going from an average 450MB a month to 1.1Gb.
LAST YEAR’S WINNER: ORANGE
34 | SPECIAL AWARD
Outstanding Contribution to Mobile Entertainment Every year, ME surprises someone (in a pleasant way, we hope) by ambushing them with the Outstanding Contribution award. Last year was no exception as Mobile Stream’s Simon Buckingham was rendered almost speechless on receiving his gong. Anyone who knows Simon knows that ‘a man of few words’ doesn’t really describe him. But Simon was a fitting recipient of the award because the category was created to recognise an individual who’s gone beyond the call of duty to promote our fantastic business. This is a guy who wrote reports through the night while working at Vodafone to fund the ringtone business he’d launched well ahead of the rest of the market. He turned that business into a global, publicly quoted content juggernaut. Simon joined a list of previous winners that helped to move the market forward in different ways. Our first winner in 2006 was Bango’s Ray Anderson, whose mobile payments system created an ecosystem of indie mobile sites. Then there was Ralph Simon, the irrepressible music entrepreneur and flag-waver for the business. He stopped short a meeting on Capitol Hill to receive the award. Enough said. In 2008, Nokia’s Anssi Vanjoki bagged the prize in recognition of his creation of the Nseries range. Before iPhone and Android, this was the world’s introduction to smartphones. The following year ME celebrated the man who has done so much to popularise mobile content in India and other emerging markets, Hungama’s Neeraj Roy. 2010 saw the prize go to AdMob founder Omar Hamoui. This was the guy who ploughed ahead with his vision of a network to deliver ads to mobile sites, when everyone told him it wouldn’t work. Well, we know what happened there. It’s a real pleasure – and a little humbling – to hand out these awards. ME values its place at the heart of the mobile content community and feels genuinely touched to be in a position to shine the spotlight on its stars.
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2006: Ray Anderson
2007: Ralph Simon
2008: Anssi Vanjoki
2009: Neeraj Roy
2010: Omar Hamoui
2011: Simon Buckingham
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Our judges and how they execute… Who decides the winners of the ME Awards? Good question and one we’re happy to duck. Actually, we’re not dodging the question, just responsibility for picking the victorious finalists. No, these awards are not decided by the ME team but by over 400 industry execs from across the industry. Their votes decide it. So don’t blame us if you don’t win. The judges are drawn from all corners of the business – from hardware to publishing, operators to consumer brands – and we’re extremely grateful for their time. Judging forms were sent to execs working at: GFK, 24Mas, Livewire, Cellcom, Sponge, Binbit, T-Mobile, Orange, O2, Vodafone, Nokia, Sony, HTC, Google, Facebook, Shazam, Gameloft, UStwo, Zed, Somo, Microsoft, Mediacells, Metaflow, Fox, Universal, Popcap, EA, Com2Us, GetJar, Camerjam, Skywrite, Arvato, Buongiorno, Flirtomatic, Fjord, MIG, OpenMarket, Txtnation, mBlox, MEF, Minick, Mobile Streams, InMobi, Admoda, Blippar, GSMA, Millennial, Adfonic, Cherry Media, Private, Incentivated, Disney, Turner, ESPN, Spotify, 24/7, PayPal, Square, Cellectivity, StrikeAd, Taptu, Ribot, Masabi, Ideaworks, Muzicall, Sofialys, Poynt, Mocospace, 3UK, Grapple, Fetch, BBH, Yuza, GoFresh, Mobcast, Glu, Upstream, RIM, Comscore, Nielsen, Vringo, Samsung, Musically, Blyk, Out There, Amdocs, SoundHound, Mach, Qualcomm, Netbiscuits, Wapple, Saffron, Golden Gekko, Palringo, Screen Digest, MMN, Snaptu, Monitise and dozens more.
Don’t miss out on ME’s famous awards night This years ME Awards take place on Thursday, November 29th at The Royal Garden Hotel, High St Kensington, London Get your tickets now by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 1992 535647 Tickets are priced at £295 + VAT per person or £2,750 + VAT per table of ten If you are interested in sponsoring this years awards then please contact email@example.com or call +44 (0) 1992 535647
Best Games Publisher Award Partner
Best Operator Award Partner
Outstanding Contribution to Mobile Entertainment Award Partner