Ralph Simon is acknowledged as one of the founders of the modern mobile entertainment industry. Over the last 15 years, he has been a prominent global mobile trailblazer and innovator, helping grow the mobile entertainment and content industry, and playing a central role in its impact and presence worldwide.
Simon heads the London-based Mobilium Global, which provides high-level strategic advice and guidance to mobile handset makers, telco operators, technology companies, media companies, movie studio & TV networks, global music artists, ad agency groups, brands, and platform providers around the world. Specifically, Simon recommends unique, practical ways to expand a company’s mobile business and achieve profitability by growing revenues and maximizing impact from the use and distribution of mobile entertainment content, mobile music, messaging, mobile media technology and applications.
As founder and Chairman Emeritus of the influential Mobile Entertainment Forum – Americas (MEF), the global voice of the international mobile entertainment industry, he works to raise industry standards and identify mobile revenue opportunities. Simon acts as a high-level advisor to a variety of entertainment and technology companies that understand the importance of producing cross-platform mobile entertainment content to reach the over 4.5 billion mobile subscribers worldwide.
Prior to his leadership in the mobile entertainment industry, Simon co-founded the Zomba Group of music companies (and record label Jive Records) in London in the 1970s, building it into the music industry’s leading independent music company. In the early ’90s, he came to the US as Executive Vice President of Capitol Records and Blue Note Records in Hollywood and started EMI Music’s global New Media division.
Simon correctly predicted in 1997 that mobile phones would become the indispensable voice/social networking-and-music companion for consumers and their increasingly mobile lifestyles. He persuaded US music publishers to embrace this new mobile medium by granting the very first ring tone rights. This spurred a whole new mobile entertainment industry internationally, and Simon was dubbed ‘Father of the Ring Tone.’
That same year, he started the first ring tone company in the Americas, Europe, UK, Australia and Africa called Yourmobile. In 2003, Vivendi Universal purchased the company and renamed it Moviso, and it was the leading mobile entertainment content aggregator in the US for many years.
In 2004, Simon presciently recognized the sweeping effects of mobile phone use on behavior, culture, and economics. Today, numerous academics around the world are studying this in depth in what is starting to be referred to as Mobilology. Simon supports the adoption of Mobilology as a distinct field of study at the university level internationally
Between 2005-2008, Simon produced the mobile portion of the three highest profile concerts in recent global TV history (prior to the HopeforHaitiNow telethon in January 2010): Live 8; Al Gore’s Live Earth; and the TED Conference organization’s Pangea Day. By integrating a mobile/SMS layer to all these events and capturing a new market using its preferred technology, Simon influenced the production of all future broadcast fundraisers.
For Live 8, he worked with the Live Aid organization, Sir Bob Geldof and Bono, to bring mobile connectivity to 12 countries simultaneously, delivering a television audience of over 700m viewers. Simon successfully enlisted massive cross-platform participation in Al Gore’s Live Earth global event, which spanned 10 countries and reached a global TV audience of over 300m viewers. That accomplishment led to his engagement as mobile producer for the 2007 TED Conference’s Prize-winning project – Pangea Day – a global telecast in 2008 featuring short films from filmmakers all over the world.
The influential trade publication Mobile Entertainment magazine named him one of the world’s Top 50 Executives in Mobile Entertainment for 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010, and in 2007, he received its special award for Outstanding Contribution to the Global Mobile Entertainment Industry.
Currently, he serves on the boards of several companies, including Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, India’s major mobile content producer, Mobilium Africa, the Wireless Life sciences Alliance, The World Summit Awards and World Youth Summit Awards, and has recently been appointed to be the Global Ambassador for North America’s premier wireless and mobile organisation, CTIA – The Wireless Association. CTIA is North America’s key body that authorises and certifies the use of all mobile and wireless devices in North America, and is also responsible for managing all usage of Short Codes across North and now South America. Their annual convention in Las Vegas, known as Super Mobile Week, is the premier gathering for the mobile and wireless industries in the Americas.
In addition, Simon works closely with the GSM Association, the global governing body of the mobile phone industry, providing expert advice on the future of mobile use and mobile entertainment. He also has served for the past three years on the Visionary Committee for MIDEM, the international record industry’s annual convention that helps shape the global music industry’s best practices for use of intellectual property and music.
He also works with media companies and artists to help shape their mobile strategies worldwide. One such example is his client, Irish rock band U2, which preceded their recent global tour that played to 2 million people worldwide. He is working with Madonna and her management team for her 2012/2013 global touring activities, and works closely with a number of major artists from the UK and US, and also leading Bollywood names from India including Javed Akhtar.
Simon is an internationally popular speaker on mobile and mobile entertainment. Over the past year, he has delivered keynote addresses at the important Music Matters conference in Singapore; Music Matters India in Mumbai; spoken at TED Global in Oxford; The Kofi Annan Centre for ICT Excellence in Accra, Ghana; Connected Creativity in Cannes; MusExpo in Los Angeles; Ria Novosti’s Future Media Forum Conference in Moscow; the Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance conference in San Diego, California; South Asian Mobile Conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka; World Copyright Summit in Geneva; The Rutberg Wireless Influencers’ Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California; The Amsterdam Dance Event annual conference in Amsterdam; and Nokia World 2011 in London.
Ralph Simon is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in the UK, where his “Future of Media” lecture series is popular, and he is a member of the Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences in the US. He is affiliated with the Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance in California, which is driving the early progress of the emerging mobile health industry.
In May 2013, Ralph was officially appointed to be the Global Ambassador, for CTIA – The Wireless Association based in Washington DC. The CTIA is a key organisation governing the wireless and mobile industry in North America and world-wide for its many telco, device and infrastructure members. Before any mobile or wireless device can be sold in North America, it needs to be formally certified by the CTIA. CTIA also organises and produces the major annual mobile convention in the USA – this year it takes place in Las Vegas where some 30,000+ mobile professionals usually attend. He will be working closely with the CTIA to expand their impact and policy elements internationally as their official Global Ambassador.
2013 has been a hectic time for Mobilium Global and Ralph. Continuing to travel the world on a relentless search for the latest mobile device innovation, there has been a lot of emphasis on Africa, Asia and the Americas. An important development has been the growth of Mobilium Africa – which launched the Smart Health Hub in September 2013, a very special Health & Wellness platform across Africa with Samsung, one of the world’s major electronics companies. This health and wellness platform for Africa, a development of Mobilium Africa, is part of a wider range of mobile activities, software and innovation that Mobilium is bringing to Africa. This will include mobile wallet technology, mobile payment systems and a new way to deliver mobile music, social broadcasting and entertainment to the top 20 mobile markets in Africa. with 1bn people and nearly 700mn mobile subscribers, Africa has amazing potential for mobile growth across all segments.
In a world that is increasingly dominated by the needs, tastes and devices of what are called “Screenagers” Ralph is well placed to continue spreading his and Mobilium Global’s expertise around the globe.