Mobile Content and it's Risk for Verizon

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Verizon takes mobile TV prime time
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There's a great piece threadlinked above from telephonyonline detailing Verizon's moves into Mobile "mobisodes" with the launch of it's VCast service tomorrow:

Verizon and News Corp. claim the mobisode is a milestone in mobile content, which may not be over-stating it. It shows that major entertainment companies are willing to devote resources, money and talent toward creating something solely for the mobile format. The studios are willing to bet that the tiny screen of a handset can be an entertainment medium in its own right — a so-called “fourth screen” on par with the movie, TV and PC screens — not just an adjunct to wireless.

“We certainly believe that wireless is becoming a new medium for entertainment,” said Paul Palmieri, executive director of business development for Verizon Wireless. “We're targeting mainstream media and bringing it directly to subscribers. These mobisodes are a signal of what's to come.”

But the industry is also taking a risk. Video streaming is barely in its nascent phases. The repurposed sports, news and entertainment video streams currently available have limited audiences. The format of the short video clips optimized for a tiny screen may seem a bit arcane to consumers bred on living room TV. News Corp. and Verizon are gambling that they can spur the market for multimedia by creating an entirely new format of wireless entertainment. And while industry observers laud both companies for taking the plunge into these unknown waters, many of them expressed doubts as to whether the mobisode will be a success.

Risk or not, the potential of the handset is too great to ignore, said Lucy Hood, senior vice president of content for News Corp. She pointed out that there are 1.3 billion mobile subscribers in the world today, compared with 1.1 billion TV homes — and the growth in handset purchases is far outpacing that of TVs. “This is a growth market that we want to be a first mover in,” Hood said.

As James points out though, there was a recent survey by A T Kearney that found that users didn't want specially made media for mobile, they were quite happy to have the same TV content they get in their living rooms channeled through thier handsets:

“The mobisode pre-supposes that people don’t want to watch the same old TV content on their handsets - that they want something new adopted specifically for mobile lifestyles. But according to research firm A.T. Kearney, watching TV on their phones is exactly what users want to do.”

It's great to watch all of this unfold - it's also worth pointing out, as if it wasn't obvious enough, that users dont always know what they want! - yeah yeah, listen to your audience and all that, BUT, people wouldnt ever get anything new at all if companies didn't take risks with what they might like.. How easy is it to get an answer like that eh? "Do you want 1 minute TV shows or would you like your normal shows on your mobile madam?" - Sheesh...