SmartVideo Shows Love To 50 Cent

SmartVideo, in partnership with the Digital Music Video Network, will in early June begin offering mobile phone-enabled music videos from the top artists--including U2, Eminem, Mariah Carey, and 50 Cent--in a free, ad-supported format.

Previously, SmartVideo's content was only available for a $12.95 monthly subscription fee. The new service, which delivers the Digital Music Video Network's library of music content, streams the video onto WindowsMobile Media player-enabled phones and mobile devices. The service will be entirely ad-supported, with ad overlays and 15-second spots inserted between videos. A spokesman for SmartVideo declined to release which advertisers had committed to the service.

SmartVideo's announcement coincides with the release of a study by JupiterResearch, which found that only a small proportion of consumers would agree to pay for video content on their mobile phones. The study, which surveyed 2,337 consumers in the United States, found that 54 percent would be interested in viewing video content for free, compared to the 19 percent who would be willing to pay for the same content. The types of content that those surveyed found most interesting were reports on local weather and news. The study did not ask consumers about viewing music videos on their mobile devices.



SmartVideo's CEO, Richard Bennett, said the company was trying out an ad-supported model to test the waters, both with advertisers and consumers. "The game here is to try to get the advertisers in the mix here and put together packages that are positive and good for the advertisers," he said. "But we're not sure where people are going to go."

Bennett, who hadn't seen the JupiterResearch survey, said he thought it was premature to judge the market for mobile video, whether subscription- or ad-supported. "We're still early in this market space," he said. "We're just trying to understand this market a little better from an advertising perspective."

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