WHAT CONTENT IS KING?
CONTENT providers are slowly coming to the party and creating material specifically for cellphones. The Sundance Film Festival offered five madefor-mobile short films for conference goers to download and Hungama Mobile premiered three Bollywood movies. The Indian company already offers Bollywood fare in 30 markets.
At the above-mentioned “How Mobile is Changing TV Forever” debate, MTV and a company called SlingMedia slugged it out over whether TV as you experience it in your home or specific content will be king. Slingmedia has invented a gadget that makes it possible to “placeshift” your home TV to your laptop or cellphone anywhere in the world. You can even watch programmes recorded on your own PVR or pause live TV across continents. MTV, on the other hand, is the number one creator of made-for-mobile content today – over 100 hours a month – and maintains that the mobile TV experience is completely different from the one in your living room.
As the inventors of short-attentionspan television, MTV made the transition to cellphones fairly easily. Another example of content providers focusing more on mobile is Fox Television in the US – among other products, it has recorded 4m downloads of the specially created “mobisodes” of its action series 24.
However, the real winner for mobile video and TV could turn out to be the same as on the Internet – user-generated content. Ericsson and Endemol, the makers of reality TV series Big Brother, last year launched Me on TV in the Netherlands, a service that enables subscribers to interact with TV shows and news programmes by sending in live video news reports via their mobile phone. Vodafone and popular social networking site MySpace also announced a tie-up at 3GSM.
YouTube’s success – 100m video downloads a day – is well known, but its mobile counterpart SeeMeTV from operator 3 in the UK goes one better. It rewards subscribers who upload videos 1p every time someone else downloads their content. It still lags behind the Internet by a country mile, with downloads now averaging 1,25m a month, but if the model can be exported to the 2,5bn mobile phone users around the world, pennies could soon turn into pounds.
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