I was reading a press release from Versaly Entertainment today regarding their support of SoBe's mobile content portal. At first, I thought it would be free ring tones and wallpaper associated with the SoBe brand. As it turns out, there are a few free items associated with the SoBe brand, but most of the content is for sale for $2.00. I'm not sure what the business model is, but I plan to follow-up with Versaly to find out. I'm equally intrigued by a CPG company marketing a third party's content and content showing up at what could be an unlimited number of online sites. I understand both sides. On one hand, SoBe is providing attractive content that will drive traffic to their site and assist in developing a community. Content providers get additional traffic. I'm unclear in terms of how SoBe will drive traffic to that portion of their site or how it will translate into more beverage sales – or if that is at all relevant. The content is not as explicitly tied to their brand as I would expect.
In terms of the site and the buying/browsing experience, I liked it. The web site leads consumers through a decision tree – country, carrier, phone type, etc. to ensure compatibility and a good experience. Pricing is also simple – free or $2.00 for most items. I have Verizon so I wasn't able to download anything to try the service.
Mobile content on a site like SoBe is also a good sign and trend for the mobile content industry. It shows that the carriers are opening up in terms of what content their consumers can download. I think that will be one of the key factors in driving growth in this – mobile content and entertainment – market.