Interview: Mikko Pilkama, Director of Multimedia, Nokia on Twango purchase

August 29, 2007 at 7:10 pm

inbabble-twango-nokia.jpgLast month Nokia acquired Twango, a user generated content platform for sharing pictures, videos and audio. The platform includes a mobile optimised site so that users can upload, share and comment on content without the need for a downloaded application.

We managed to get some time with Mikko Pilkama, Director of Multimedia at Nokia to get some views on the user generated content market, those placed well to take advantage of the growth and what they look for in an acquisition.

Is it fair to say that Nokia is becoming a media company with the purchase of Twango? and if so, what is the motivation to extend beyond just the manufacture of handsets?
Pilkama: Consumer Internet services are an important part of the Nokia Nseries multimedia experiences – to provide better ease-of-use and to allow the community building and sharing that is so typical to the Internet. Consumer Internet services is not an independent business for Nokia but a means to provide more value and ease-of-use for consumers and thus increase the value of our devices for them. It is a natural progression and a long-term evolution of our existing product business in the context of continuously enhancing the total user experience, and thus supporting and increasing our product sales.

Connected multimedia cameras provide a unique ability to spontaneously capture and share your experiences wherever, whenever. By acquiring Twango, Nokia can deliver an easy way for people to share their photos, videos, and other personal media through their desktop, mobile, and other connected devices. It brings us another step closer to providing customers with seamless universal access to their personal media: at anytime, anywhere, from any connected device, in any way that they choose.

Given the Twango purchase Nokia must see some potential in user generated video and picture sharing. What are Nokia’s predictions on the penetration of this type of activity? do you see everyone from young and old using this in say 5 years?
Pilkama: Because of the great quality and strong global distribution of our products, Nokia’s connected cameras are rapidly becoming the world’s largest primary source for images and videos. Nokia believes that sharing of images directly from your mobile imaging device to online communities has huge value to the user. Whether you’re hanging out with friends, at a concert, visiting somewhere amazing on holiday or simply looking for inspiration in your working life, your camera phone allows you to capture the moment and instantly share it.

The online image sharing and printing services market is currently estimated at $1Billion, growing to $5Billion by 2010.

Who do you see best placed to capitalise on phone based media sharing popularity, especially as the popularity grows, handset manufacturers (like Nokia!), mobile carriers, or standalone application providers?
Pilkama: Nokia is well-positioned to provide a differentiated media sharing experience by integrating web-based services with desktop, mobile and other connected devices. Our primary reason for the Twango acquisition is to offer ease of use and an exciting experience for people to share their digital content with friends and web communities.

One key focus for Nokia is to ensure our operator customers’ success. In this case, the success of the whole industry depends on our ability to address the consumer needs – the driver for demand and for growth. Consumers have demonstrated their interest in Internet services and we firmly believe the telecom industry should follow this trend and capitalize on the opportunity. This is a big and a growing pie, with enough for everyone to share. For us it means sales of more advanced devices, for the operators it means increased data traffic, for developers it means more application sales and usage.

When Nokia assesses an application such as Twango, what sort of things do you look for?
Pilkama: Nokia has a comprehensive strategy around its multimedia computers and related experiences. As part of this strategy, we believe that a media sharing service is a key requirement for consumers. After a thorough analysis of suitable players in that market, Nokia determined that Twango would be the best fit. Some influencers included Twango’s great team and their social media and Web services expertise, as well as the robust, flexible platform for handling personal media and integrating with mobile devices, client software and other Web services.

Richard T.
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Entry filed under: mikko pilkama, mobile applications, mobile content, nokia, twango, user generated content.

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