Mobile content may be a long way off from making healthy profits and revenues, but all the big players—from operators and consumer electronics giants, to content companies and advertisers—still want a part of the game for the future. What does that future hold? One person with some definite, but well-informed, opinions is Graeme Ferguson. Since last June, he has been the managing director of global content for Picsel, which sells solutions to operators, content providers and handset makers working in the area of mobile content. But Ferguson may still be best known for his past role at Vodafone ( NYSE: VOD ), where he was the global head of content development and led the team that launched Vodafone’s content portal Live as well as negotiating the content deals for the service. He has sat on the other side of the bargaining table as well, with positions at a number of media companies including NBC, CNBC and Dow Jones ( NYSE: DJ ). And he has also had a stint at the smaller end of the content wedge, starting up his own mobile content company, Worldzap. In an in-depth interview with paidContent:UK, Ferguson gives his outspoken views on the challenges and opportunities facing the mobile content market today. More in extended entry… - On Music: “Now everyone’s got music, so why are operators even trying to be in that game? Why not let someone else offer music, get someone to put some scale into it. Every operator today just loses money on every track it sells.” - Mobile advertising: “This whole idea of mobile advertising as a panacea to the industry is a load of bollocks. Just think of it. How do you make a pan-network buy across operators? You can’t, and there’s no talks underway to do be able to do this. There’s no measurement, no independent standards. There’s no scale. And the media industry lives on scale...[But] I think mobile advertising will take off first in the U.S.: it’s basically a single language; and you can do even banner ads with scale. Or you can buy across AT&T ( NYSE: T ) and you’ve got a media buy.” - On smaller versus bigger operators and consolidation: “I don’t think an operator like Three can ultimately survive on its own because it is too much like the other operators...I do think there is room for smaller operators, but I don’t know if companies like MVNO Blyk [based on mobile advertising] will ever take off.” - On Nokia’s ( NYSE: NOK ) new push into mobile content: “I think it’s very smart. In the past, every time Nokia would put something on the handset we’d kick it off. And, certainly when it got to paid-for content, we didn’t like that because we were trying to do that ourselves. Now I think it’s a different climate. Today, if you get people to start using content on a mobile phone, they will use content on the mobile phone. Also the revenues that are threatened here are buttons in the scheme of things.” - On buying exclusive content rights: “You need to be someone who has the scale to support those rights; otherwise it’s not worth spending a penny on them. It’s only Orange France hanging onto the idea of paying for exclusive content. It’s a load of bollocks. I guarantee that the number of people going to Orange France because they have the Rugby World Cup on their network is no higher than the number of people in this room [three].” Much more in the edited transcript.