mSpot Debuts Mobile Movies
Mobile entertainment company mSpot is taking on iTunes by offering streaming, full-length movies for mobile phones. The new mSpot Mobile Movies service will be available on 30 different smartphones including the iPhone, BlackBery and Android and Windows Mobile devices and through the four major U.S. carries.
Individual films cost $4.99 to rent, or users can sign up for monthly subscriptions of $9.99, $12.99 or $15.99 to get up to four, six or eight movies a month. Rentals can last from 24 hours to five days depending on the title. Trailers are free.
The service kicks off with 350 movies via deals with studios including Paramount, Universal and The Weinstein Company. A demo on the mSpot site by CEO Daren Tsui showed mostly recent releases including "The Dark Knight," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," and "The Reader."
It's an ambitious move for mSpot, which has mainly been known for selling ringtones up to now. But Tsui sounds confident about competing with Apple, which lets people download and sync movies via iTuns to the iPhone and iPod. He told TechCrunch that with mSpot there's no downloading or syncing with a PC, so users simply start streaming movies at the click of a button.
While some mobile users have shown an appetite for watching TV episodes via mobile, though, full-length movies don't lend themselves as easily to viewing on the go. Usage would limited to certain places or situations like longer airline flights or car trips. Watching on a tablet computer, like the device rumored to be in the works from Apple, could make mobile movies a more interesting proposition.
One factor in mSpot's favor is that it already has six million users already used to paying for mobile content. If they don't go for it, probably no else will. You can go to to check out the service and post a review back here for MediaPost readers.