Wireless Wonders

No news, just comment about mobile phones and services, from a veteran practitioner...3G, GPRS, WAP, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc...

Friday, March 11, 2005

Is Mobile TV bite-size TV?

The "buzz" at Cebit is high mega-pixel camera phones and Mobile TV. No surprise there. No doubt we are duly destined towards a drip-fed existence of non-stop entertainment. That's if the entertainment industry finds its way into the mobile world, which it is eager to do.

In Hollywood, so I'm told by an O2 bigwig, they're calling mobile "the 4th screen". As one "analyst" puts it: "After television, cinema and the PC a new platform is taking shape." That's the forth screen - the "platform" bit, which is mobile. I thought a platform is where we wait for trains...

Thus far, mobile video is really bite-sized video, nothing essentially mobile. We can well imagine that this excites the entertainment industry, as there must surely be an endless supply of bite-size "content"...

After pop videos, trailers and other skittish chunks from stardom world, I can well imagine "snippet TV" becoming popular. We just get to watch the classic scenes from all our favourite movies. These will be packaged and sold according to mood. "Feeling great" clips, "Payback" clips, "Motivational" clips, "Kick ass" clips...take your pick. Sounds plausible and likely.

The essence of mobile is dynamic context, both spatial and temporal. This does not apply to our current television/cinema experience. Very few people in media seem to have understood this difference and its implications.

With low-cost digital production techniques making movie-making accessible, combined with the obviously lower budgets to make a nano-length film, you have to wonder if a cottage industry of mobile video producers will emerge. I think so. And from within that crowd we will find talent who can utilise the mobile context and give us something new. My gut feel, and possibly my desire, is that such talent will give us refreshing alternatives to mainstream snippet world.

Of course, mainstream entertainment will duly grab mobile as one of its distribution channels, but I think this is a sufficiently different area that we can, and should, expect some radical shifts in how we define entertainment. Mobile video/TV will be different....

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