MVNO pioneer Peter Adderton is back. Instead of starting a new virtual operator, though, Adderton is attempting something new, a media and marketing agency dealing in virtual media.
That may seem a stretch given Adderton’s background, but it’s really where Adderton has been heading all along. Before Amp’d Mobile went belly up, he was trying to move away from the MVNO’s arduous carrier operations and focus exclusively on content. If Amp’d had been given a year or two more, he might have succeeded. Amp’d had launched in Japan as feature-rich portal on KDDI’s content deck. The MVNO market may not be the hottest place to be in mobile right now, Adderton concedes, but the content market most certainly is.
Adderton said that investors from both within and without Amp’d asked him to try the mobile content business again, this time without the baggage of running a virtual operator. “They said there are certain things that Amp’d did very well. We’d like you to focus on those things rather than run a full-fledged wireless carrier,” Adderton said. Thus Agency 3.0 was born.
Agency 3.0 is a joint venture between Adderton, a few other executives and media powerhouse William Morris Agency and will essentially function as the mobile digital media arm for WMA. What will it do? According to Adderton, just about everything. It will contract out with WMA’s entertainment industry clients to develop content strategies and media and marketing campaigns across digital platforms, from the Internet to the handset screen. It won’t limit itself to a mere consulting roll, though. It will do the creative design, the back-end integration and even the platform development for these projects, essentially packing the roles of half a dozen different marketing, technology and design companies into a single firm.
It may be a novel concept, one that may leave some us scratching our heads. Adderton’s used to people questioning his methods though. They did exactly that when he launched Boost Mobile in the U.S. ”Saying you want to do prepaid is like saying you had leprosy in this country,” Adderton said. Dealing with bad credit, low monthly APRU and no contracts isn’t exactly a model business for most operators. Adderton gave the staid pre-paid industry a jolt with Boost. Who’s to say he can’t add a little more heat to the already hot mobile content business?