Mobile Video Goes To The Movies

Aren't you glad you bought a mobile phone? How do you use it? You wouldn't happen to actually be talking to someone, would you? Because there are an ever-increasing number of companies and relationships that are hoping that you don't want to do something as mundane as communicating by voice with another person.

In the latest group of announcements between movies and mobile, we see Spike Lee hooking up with Nokia to "direct a movie made with cell phone footage from everyday people." Next up is Paramount and Motorola who've announced that they will be working together to bring Paramount films to Moto phones via side-loading (download to PC and move to mobile).

Original content in a short-form format created specifically for the mobile screen is not new, of course. But a high-profile director and a unique spin on the method of acquisition ("everyday people providing the content") will probably be intriguing enough to result in some measurable uptick in activity for Nokia (we'll see); it certainly worked to BMW's advantage when "The Hire" series debuted online, each episode directed by acclaimed motion picture directors.

All the historical questions, while they are still in play, are starting to become irrelevant. Questions such as: Do consumers care if they are watching content on a phone? Will they watch on a phone? Will they watch long-form content or only short-form? Will they watch on a phone that is also a mobile device or will the majority of people actually not try to overload their mobile device (phone-centric) but, rather, watch it on a personal device (iPod)?

More importantly, does anyone care? Does it matter? Because these trials -- attempts -- experiments -- however they are portrayed, are happening. And what's even more intriguing is how mobile providers (those who used to just identify themselves as mobile-specific technology vendors) are now morphing their identity to include terms such as media management, rich media capable, and content delivery network aware.

But beyond the consumption of long-form motion pictures on cell phones, beyond the employment of big-name motion picture directors to create original content for the very small screen, there are some other applications that will represent true innovation and freshness.

Citizen-journalist or user-generated content activity, which results in content being captured and uploaded to television stations or Web sites, is but one area where a mobile device equipped with a camera and wireless connection can upload content for posting, where it then becomes available on a worldwide basis.

What if you really wanted to go to an event but just couldn't get there? Maybe it's distance that prevents you from attending. Maybe you just couldn't get a ticket. But it's an event that you would love to see. And why not see it from a unique point of view? What if some people in the audience were capturing video from the event, and all of that video became available to you? What if you could experience that event uniquely to you because you get to choose what you see from the vast number of ways, angles, stories, that are being covered during that event?

Someone (or some company) is going to come along and start to make unique experiences more common as opposed to experimental. These participatory experiences and events will become part and parcel of  company identity.

Linear channel programming and viewing versus nonlinear viewing. Multiple ways to access content that has been created with nonlinear consumption regardless of the type of screen display.

Today we can pretty easily point to the difference between broadband and wireless. Tomorrow, will we be able to? Will it even matter?

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