Olivier Griot: Mobile Services Guru
In a burgeoning mobile content market, he’s made it a corporate platform alongside magazines and Web sites.
As director of mobile services at Hearst, Olivier Griot has made mobile content a corporate priority. He’s overseen the build-out of a mobile content division within Hearst, taking most of the production out of third-party hands. "It is an opportunity to build a new business," says Griot. "It’s a revenue generation opportunity. Publishers are thinking of mobile as a third platform."
Griot, who says that Hearst’s mobile reach is into the six figures for users, calls mobile content an "entertainment snack" that users access at downtime moments during the day. It’s an approach that pays respect not only to users’ time but the limits of the technology. "Technology very much drives or constrains the type of content we can offer, and also what will be conducive to a good user experience," he says.
At Hearst, Griot, based on the number of subscribers he currently had, was ready to begin forming user panels to conduct formal research.
Griot concentrated mobile development with the young women’s brands;CosmoGirl!, Cosmopolitan and Seventeen;since they focus on a demographic that is active with mobile content. For now, Hearst is seeing revenues from two streams: Subscriptions at $2.49 per month, and pay-per-event (ringtones, wallpapers or games) for $1.99 per. SmartMoney is also active in the mobile space and charges $3.99 per month.
In the early stages of Griot’s mobile-content development, the process was outsourced. Now, everything but the "hardcore programming" has been moved in-house. Developing the business in-house can cost a publisher upwards of several hundred thousand dollars.
Important in the decision to move operations in-house was to better control brand and marketing. "That’s clearly something that’s core to our skills and as a media company that’s something we want to control ourselves," says Griot.
At presstime, Griot was lured away from Hearst to become managing director of mobile services at Hachette Filipacchi, where he says he’ll have the resources to embark on a large-scale expansion of the company’s mobile services.
VITAL STATS: Hearst’s mobile subscribers have broken through the six-figure barrier.