Think Outside The Cellular Box

In case you missed it from all the upfront noise, Verizon recently  expanded its V CAST Mobile TV service into eight more markets -- among them New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Indianapolis -- bringing the total number of markets served up to 28.  The service, based on Qualcomm's MediaFLO technology, includes eight channels of television content including CBS Mobile, ESPN, Fox Mobile, NBC 2Go, NBC News 2Go, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and MTV. V CAST Mobile TV is available to consumers based on three package tiers (how cable of them!): the "limited" or basic service package for $13 per month (includes Fox, CBS and two NBC channels); a $15-per-month basic package with all eight channels; and a premium monthly plan for $25 that includes all eight channels plus unlimited access to the library of V CAST on-demand clips. 

Now understand, I am generally sanguine about long-form video on the cell phone as a whole, but I am intrigued if only because, once the elementary fascination with porting of traditional linear programming to this device fails, and it most likely will, it will make way for the creation of content intended for it -- short-form, original and localized programming.  Come on, people, this is one is easy.  Don't think about what you can do; think about what you should do, so you're successful later on. 

You may be asking yourself, what the heck is she talking about? But, bear with me for a few lines.  If we look at the essence of what kinds of applications have succeeded on the cell phone, the majority of them are based around the core concept of communication.  Whether it is picture-taking, emailing, texting, or, yes, the obvious one of talking -- communication is at the core of all of these.  Now, let's apply that to mobile television. If I were a betting woman (and those of you who know me know where I stand on that) I would guess that we need to start thinking about content and programming that would not only be tied around this idea of communication, but would leverage some of the unique technological capabilities of a wireless network. Think localized; think location- based; think direct-to-consumer relevant infotainment.  Oh, people, come on!! It really isn't that hard, is it?

Picture this: It is Wednesday afternoon and I am walking down the street and my phone buzzes.Based on a predetermined profile so that the carrier knows I want to be nudged a little, I pick up the text message that says: Spidey Preview --Loews Theatre on 34th at 8:30 p.m. Codeword is "long red and blue underwear" to get in.  Right on!  I then tune into channel 8, My New York Movie Preview Channel, to see what else is playing, catch the reviews and the latest news from Hollywood.  I consider that I have about an hour and a half to kill and that I'd better eat something, so I tune in to watch Eat This New York for the daily update on new eateries in the area.  One looks pretty interesting, so I click on the icon, which ships me to a WAP version of OpenTable to make a reservation.  Ugh! All booked.  No worries, though, because OpenTable recommends another restaurant in the area.  Done.  After I arrive for my blue-plate special at 7 p.m., I sit down, order a cocktail, kick back and relax while I wait for my meal.  All the while, of course, watching "Access Hollywood" on my phone.

Now that is what I call thinking outside of the box.