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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

WSJ on Mobile Video ... Analyst Will Richmond on Broadband Video Trends for 2007

- In the Wall Street Journal today, Lee Gomes' column is headlined `Filmmakers Face Some Big Challenges On Tiny Cellphones.' He writes:

    ...[F]ilm schools at Boston University, the University of California, Los Angeles, and others are giving classes in producing videos for mobile devices -- some even shot entirely with cellphones. Robert Redford has gotten into the act. In November, his Sundance Institute, along with GSM Association, a mobile-phone trade group, commissioned five films by independent directors for cellphones.

    But don't expect a new art form. At a news conference announcing the mobile initiative, Mr. Redford said he hoped cellphones would help revive the short film. But filmmakers experimenting with the medium, point to its shortcomings -- in shooting and in viewing. Night shots look terrible. Wide angle shots don't work. Detail is lost. "There's not a lot of room for subtlety," says filmmaker Valerie Faris, who with her husband, Jonathan Dayton are making one of the Sundance films.

    And it's still uncertain whether mobile video is a viable business, despite Hollywood's new focus on the small screen and the billions of dollars invested by wireless companies to make such advanced services possible.

    At this point, the outlook isn't cheery. Millions of video-capable cellphones are flooding the market, but only 2.5% of subscribers watch it at least once a month, according to a Yankee Group estimate.

    To expand viewership, the wireless industry must solve two problems: one financial, the other creative...

- Analyst Will Richmond of Broadband Directions lays out what he sees as seven important video trends for 2007.

Among his trends:

"Apple's iTV box will likely succeed (but only if more than just iTunes video is easily accessible)." (I don't see more than iTunes video being accessible from Apple.)

"...Google is the company best-positioned for success in a broadband video world."

Community-building around video will gain in importance. "The intense viral nature of compelling video launched more than one unknown amateur video producer into the stratosphere this past year," Richmond writes. "This interactive/viral phenomenon has been noticed by mainstream media companies, who are just beginning to incorporate interactive features and functionality around video offered on their own sites."


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