Making sense of mobile video
2005 has started since less than two weeks and I’m glad to find out we already have a buzz word that will take us through the (wireless) year: “mobile video”. Sorry about the sarcastic approach to the issue, but I need to balance the fact someone out there is taking the fact too seriously.
I liked Mike Masnick writing on Techdirt “Exactly What We Don’t Need: Full Length Movies On Mobile Phones“, commenting Vodafone Germany recent offer of full time movies over 3G connections. A full length movie streamed to a tiny little screen doesn’t make much sense. It’s a waste of time and money both for users and carriers.
I must say I’m not a big fan of mobile video and I don’t have an handset that supports this content, but I miss the point of mixing medium and messages.
I wonder how many mobile users currently have 90 or more minutes to spend watching a movie on their phone screen.
Mobile video it’s ok for someone wants to take a break and relax with a music video or get updated with some video news. But like in Vodafone’s case the time requirements are way high (and you also need to remember the time when the broadcasting starts).
I don’t want to sound too academic, but remember McLuhan saying the medium is the message. Mobile phones were invented to work as “phones” to be used while on the move. Now they have evolved into multi-purpose devices (and this is great for many of us, that otherwise would be probably unemployed but I believe the next evolution step has to be integration rather than substitution.
A movie has been created to be featured on a wide cinema screen, with dolby surround sound etc… you can’t constrain it to a mobile phone screen.
conVISUAL has had a similar idea, but limiting the offer to the movies’ key scenes. In my opinion, this makes no sense either, also because of the limited choice films they offer (“American Pie”, “Dumb And Dumber”, “Terminator 2″ and “Jurassic Park” don’t exactly have the memorable scenes I would like to watch again on my phone).
A successful mobile business idea comes from considerations of the mobile phone characteristics, not from an analysis of already available content. That’s why “mobisodes” do make sense and full length movies don’t; SMS proved to be the killer application while MMS are facing a slow adoption.
First ask yourself when, why and by whom are mobile phones used and then develop and market your content. Who are current 3G users? Business people who don’t have 90 minutes time to watch a movie or teenagers fascinated by the Big Brother?
I know the market requires companies to rush, but sometimes it’s better to slow down and think before acting.
Wasting money it’s pity, and mobile video does have a bright future.