OMMA Mobile: ESPN Mobile Is Incremental to PC

I’m at MediaPost’s OMMA mobile show today, speaking and liveblogging some of the morning sessions (forgive typos). Right now, keynoter John Zehr, SVP and GM of ESPN Mobile, is outlining the mobile opportunity as it applies to a sports media giant.

Like many have done over the past week, he underscored some of Mary Meeker’s now famous slides from the Web 2.0 summit (we’ll hear a lot of that today). But not only is it faster adoption of mobile and the mobile Web, Zehr pointed out. The opportunity is to reach incremental users that aren’t necessarily big online users.

“The laggards of the PC=-based Internet are the early adopters of mobile,” he said “The challenge in delivering content is to understand what mobile is to people, how they use it and where they’re using it.”

It’s not a zero sum game he added. Similar to the opportunity for directory publishers stressed at our DMS show, mobile happens at times and places when users are away from their PCs.

You’re going to fill your media use with consumption, he contended. As mobile usage continues to increase, it will take away from other things like conversations throughout your day or maybe print media. But as far as the PC Internet, it’s mostly incremental usage.

This is particularly relevant to something conducive to timeliness, immediate need and “content snacking” such as sports scores. This is the philosophy behind the ESPN’s famously simple ScoreCenter iPhone app that’s consistently in the top 10 of free iPhone apps on iTunes (big fan).

“Moving from screen to screen throughout the day is critical to our business and drives many of our decisions going forward,” he says. “How do we program each screen to tell the story we want to tell from a sports media perspective?”

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