Change is in the air at Handango, which in December welcomed new CEO Bill Stone, a former Amp’d Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone executive. He replaces founder Randy Eisenman, who remains actively engaged with the company.
You can expect to hear more from Handango this year as it tries to better establish its brand into the minds of consumers. The biggest goal Stone has for Handango in 2008 is to move the company from a technology enabler to a marketing and retail company, leveraging its many years of heavy lifting and establishing relationships. “Any good retailer has to build the brand in the marketplace,” he says.
Handango works both direct to consumer and through wireless carriers, so it has a somewhat unique perspective on the whole open access initiatives under way in the industry. Moves by Apple, Google and Yahoo! are all helping Handango because they shine a brighter light on what wireless can offer, Stone says.
The biggest issue now for Handango isn’t going up against small, direct competitors, but for the industry as a whole to grow the entire content pie, opening it up beyond the typical road warrior or technology geek segments, he says.
Consumers who use their wireless devices to access content are either trying to save time or trying to kill time, he says. And whether they’re playing games or checking e-mail, you have to make it easy for them to get to that content.
Despite a lot of continued hype around mobile advertising, Stone says he expects 2008 will be a year of exploration and getting the right formula.