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Social networking checks in as the key platform for telemedia 3.0 at TELEMEDIA 360 LEEDS

If there was one key take away from Telemedia360 in Leeds on 11 May, it was that, if mobile marked out the advent of telemedia 2.0, then now we are witnessing the birth of the next generation of telemedia services - telemedia 3.0 if you will - with social media (namely Facebook) at its heart.

Session after session at the show revealed how social media is proving the key target for getting everything from apps to media content to interaction and advertising moving. It also has huge implications for telemedia billing, as new third party payment providers enter this new world as the hunger for virtual goods - and real world shopping - on Facebook grows.

According to Miles Ross, head of mobile at publishers IPC, Facebook is "critical." Ross says that IPC uses Facebook to "drive interaction with our products and our Facebook products themselves and we are fairly advanced in social games, because that is where our readers are. The hunger for virtual goods is also going to be avid".

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And this means that there is a whole new opportunity for billing and payments, but it remains unclear as to how the telemedia sector is exploiting this currently, leaving the way open to a raft of new players such as Boku, Zong and OpenMarket.

Twitter is also playing a huge role in the media sector, forcing media product brands to sit behind unified URLs so that they can be tweeted and found on multiple devices and through many channels, not just online and mobile, but apps, on tablets and across the social media sphere.

Social media is also playing a vital role in the development of m-commerce and m-retailing, with new ventures such as Whatser and Frooly - who both debuted at Telemedia360 Leeds on 11 May - to create compelling new mobile based services that not only allow people to be 'social' but also to fill a novel niche: the small retailer and the high street.

It is interesting to note that at the last Telemedia360 event in Manchester, the m-retail talk was centred on the opportunities that surround major retailers. This time out - just six months later - we are seeing a propensity to target small, independent retailers with mobile as a quick step into mobile commerce.

But its not all one way traffic to social networks. Many are starting to look to some of the key ‘old skool’ telemedia services to drive users in an ever more competitive environment. Friends Reunited is adding dating services, to pull together the ideas of finding ‘people you went to school with’ and ‘people you went to school with who you fancy another crack at’. Around this the social network is also adding in horoscopes from Russell Grant to help guide users as to how well their potential dates might shape up.

This example, delivered by’s Kevin Parker marks how social networking is now becoming entrenched in the telemedia world. The question is, does the telemedia industry recognise this? We'll have to see at the next telemedia event.


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