LAS VEGAS—Perhaps it isn’t surprising that a pre-show panel on social networking at this year’s CES turned into a discussion of industry economics and advertising. In the session, panelists who were supposed to be talking about innovations in mobile social networking instead ended up focusing a lot on advertising and revenue.
The panel seemed to have reached a consensus before the discussion even got going that 2009 would be a slow year for the mobile industry. Once the topic was broached, the tone was set, and it was hard to find anyone overly enthusiastic about the next couple of years. Yes – the next couple of years.
To open the panel, David Gill, director of Client Services for Nielsen, presented his company’s impressive findings that mobile social networking is the fastest growing sector of data services, surpassing video, music and e-mail. But when it came to figuring out how revenue could be generated from mobile social networking, there were very few answers.
R.J. Hilgers, vice president of Digital Marketing Services for Razorfish, also tried to keep things positive. “Not everyone is cutting spending,” he offered. “We definitely have customers that have it to spend and are doing just that.”