Tomi Ahonen interviewed at Connected Creativity

Tomi Ahonen gave one of the morning’s prominent keynotes at MIPTV’s Connected Creativity conference in Cannes last week. Described on Twitter recently as the High Priest of SMS, Tomi Ahonen is an author, consultant and expert presenter. He jumped on stage and began electrifying the audience of television, movie and content executives with his pronouncements on mobile.

Quite a few people were left open-mouthed by his presentation. You can’t fail to be impressed by the size and reach of the mobile industry, especially with the emotive and direct comparisons Tomi uses (e.g. More people have phones than toothbrushes, 10% of British teenagers admit to texting whilst having sex).

Tomi’s key thrust was about the size of the mobile industry compared to the rest of the markets — off the top of my head: 1.8 billion TVs in the world vs 6-point-something billion mobile subscriptions. He then went on explain that entertainment industry executives were seriously missing fantastic mobile revenue opportunities. He was careful to point out that in terms of revenue, he’s talking SMS and MMS — not applications. Not yet. In five years perhaps. He rammed home his point by explaining that Americans spent half a billion dollars on text voting last year.

MMS, though, was the difficult one. How can that be monetised? Isn’t it — as we all seem to assume in this industry — totally dead? No. Tomi highlighted one Chinese newspaper that’s converted 39% of it’s readers to receive a daily (premium) MMS containing the headlines of the next day’s paper. Most of the audience were busy writing down his points and I could see lots of thoughts firing off in their heads as Tomi bounced around the stage.

When it came time to exit, the chap was mobbed. About an hour later I managed to grab him and ask him to say a few words on camera.

Here we go:

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