Tag Archives: mobile content

Networks/Broadcasters Look at Mobile Television

At the Future of Television in Hollywood a few days ago, a high-level panel took a look at the opportunities and challenges facing the television industry. Moderated by Bill Sanders, president, Pervasive Media, panelists included Tim Connolly, vp, mobile distribution, Disney/ABC/ESPN Media Networks; Kraig Baker, partner, David Wright Tremaine LLP; Jim Eadie, vp,

Bill Sanders moderates mobile TV panel

Bill Sanders moderates mobile TV panel

digital distribution, MTV Networks; John Lawson, evp, ION Media Networks;Steve Bradbury, vp, business affairs, GoTV Networks; and Jonathan Barzilay, svp, programming and advertising, MediaFLO USA.

Sanders started off by polling the audience on how many watched video on their mobile phone–streaming or downloading–or a weekly basis. As is typical for these casual polls, the answer was…almost no one. But Sanders wasn’t discouraged. “We need to move beyond it being a ‘gee whiz’ thing to where it’s a business,” he said. He asked every panelist to describe some development they’ve seen in the last year that has changed the game…or will change the game in the next 6 to 12 months.

Steve Bradbury, GoTV: I think when you go beyond the iPhone and start talking about the Android that’s come out of the box strong and will have a proliferation, that’s interesting. LG will do a store, Blackberry and Palm will have a store. The whole idea of carriers no longer being that central focus [is a game changer]. Handset mfrs trying to take back control of content is a coming trend.

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2009 Mobile Excellence Awards Accepting Submissions

The Mobile Excellence Awards is now officially accepting submissions for 2009, for “all walks of the ecosystem,” including entertainment, media & technology, in a series of upcoming events for the industry to celebrate the best of mobilemealogo entertainment.

The premiere Mobile Excellence Awards event last year was a killer event. MobilizedTV encourages its readers to submit and join the fun at the event.

The 2009 Mobile Excellence Award Categories are as follows:

Industry Star Award
Chosen for exemplary achievement and overall impact on the mobile entertainment industry, by either, product, service, or executive team’s effort in making a difference

People’s Choice Award
Special Recognition for Industry Achievement chosen by the Mobile community itself

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Showtime’s Emmy Campaign Goes Mobile

Beginning this April, voting members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS) will enjoy the exclusive ability to view full seasons of Showtime’s original series on their iPhones and iPodTouch devices. This is an industry first; the application developed and implemented by Transpera, a mobile video delivery and advertising network that has worked with Showtime on other projects. The password-protected application will allow voters to stream fullshowtime_4cl episodes directly to their handheld devices.Showtime also launched its password-protected website, developed with online video platform Brightcove, allowing voters to mark their ballots online.

Original Showtime series includes United States of Tara, Weeds, Dexter, The Tudors, Californication, Tracey Ullman’s State of the Union, Brotherhood, This American Life, Penn & Teller: BULLSHIT! and The L Word.


“This year, by providing viewing access via iPhones and iPodTouch devices, Showtime continues to offer TV Academy members even more convenient opportunities to enjoy and consider SHOWTIME original programming,” said Richard Licata, Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications for SHOWTIME

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MOFILM for More Mobile Content

If you’re interested in mobile content, you need to know about MOFILM,which, according to its website, “celebrates the intersection of art, commerce and technology in the fast evolving sector of mobile entertainment,” and also distributes independent film content to mobile operators and content service providers around the world. MOFILM just debuted its first film festival on February 18th and 19th, 2009 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, in collaboration with the Mobile World Congress and sponsored by Chevrolet, Gigafone and Accenture. Mobile film festivals are an essential way of moving mobile content forward, exploring formats for mobile content, celebrating creatives who achieve success in the arena, and developing the aesthetics particular to the format.

For the first MOFILM Film Festival, participants submitted films of five minutes or less. A panel of leading experts selected the short list of five films, and the audience then voted for the winner with their cell phones. Winners were: Best Comedy (Frank Chindamo for English as a Second Language), Best Drama (Tor Kristoffersen for Enough), Best Documentary (The Science of Attraction by Claveski), Best Science Fiction (Star Chicks by Jay & Angela Lee) and Best Animation (Pushkin by Trevor Hardy). The overall winner was a close contest but in the end Frank Chindamo won the Chevrolet Cruse. [MobilizedTV will have an interview/story with Frank Chindamo early next week, so stay tuned.]

MobilizedTV had a chance to interview the MOFILM co-founder Ralph Cochrane, a pioneer of content for mobile and online services.

When was MOFILM founded and how has its mission evolved?

It started two years ago in 2007, the result of a dinner conversation in Chicago between the Sundance Institute and the GSM Association. The conversation went along the lines that the Sundance Institute is tasked with showcasing emerging filmmakers, they have a huge catalog and a number of submissions every year in the short film category. Two years ago, we had a huge issue of needing short, punchy clips for mobile. We asked the question, would it work on mobile? So we created a test at Barcelona. We took five leading filmmakers that Sundance recommended including Dayton & Ferris, Justin Lin (who directed Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift); Corey McAbee (the actor in American Astronaut); and the writer/director Jody Hill, now working with Seth Rogen and Maria Maggenti. That’s how we started. I was brought in because I was the ‘expert’ who knew how to deliver film to the phone. For us, it was a marketing project: trying something out in the Sundance lab style. The reaction was so positive we thought, maybe something is here.

What changes/evolution have you seen in mobile content over the years?

There are lots of changes. The biggest one is that compared to two years ago when people asked, Is this a good idea? We don’t even get asked that question now, because of the iPhone, as well as other phones from LG and others. The device size is no longer a problem, no longer an issue. The networks are much better, so you now can transmit content in that way.

There are ways of monetizing it. Look at the iPhone. You can actually make money off of content. It’s still developing; iPhone is the tip of the iceberg. People are much more aware of mobile also: there are 4 billion mobile phones in the world. It’s not just about content-either. If you can do something people want to share virally, like games or content, people are actually using it. So a lot has changed in two years.

Initially everyone thought mobile content had to be snack-sized in terms of length. Is that still true? Or do you see long-form gaining traction?

I think if you look at what Corey McAbee is doing with Stingray Sam, you can see he’s created content of 10 minutes in length, episodes, and that’s a format that’s becoming more popular. There has been some research done by Nokia to show the average viewing length for mobile TV, which is basically broadcast TV, is about 22 minutes. That’s the length of a 30-minute TV serial. You also have to bear in mind how it’s being paid for. It’s very similar to broadcast TV. There are advertisements, brought-to-you-by sponsorship preroll. It’s different than buying content on iTunes. But the technology and viewing shows that people will watch a reasonable length. People also side-load movies, but that’s probably a step too far for the market around the world.

What was it about English as a Second Language that made it a winner in the comedy category?

We had a review panel made up of the community, the people who create from around the world, so it wasn’t just English- speaking. We had people from Brazil and China. I think a couple of things about this entry really worked: it’s shot very well for mobile, it’s close-up, and it’s a topic–men and women interacting–that you can relate to . Oh, and it’s funny. I was slightly surprised, because I thought animation might win since it has less spoken dialog, and we had animation with no dialog at all. Overall, English as a Second Language won pretty narrowly over the animation genre because it wa a funny, well written script.

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Happy New Year!

Dear Readers: I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. Ready or not, it’s 2009.

I’ve been reading some of the doom-and-gloom scenarios surrounding mobile content’s prospects in the coming year. Those predictions have had me thinking about two very disparate events that I think paint a bigger and more accurate picture of where mobile content, mobile TV, mobile entertainment fits in the coming year.

One is the possibility of a strike by the Screen Actors Guild. If you’re reading this from Hollywood, you no doubt are already an expert in the stand-off, as two factions of the Guild push and pull for authorizing a strike. I won’t bore you with the details of the potential strike or its impact on the Hollywood film/TV industry. If you’re interested in that, feel free to google it and you’ll find a treasure trove of information.

What interests me is what the Screen Actors Guild membership and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television producers are fighting over. In a nutshell, the actors want residuals for the TV shows/films that, in some form, end up on the Internet. The idea goes, if it benefits the studios, it should benefit the actors. The studios/producers argue that they’re not profiting from Internet content (yet), therefore they can’t promise residuals.Although the argument is over “new media,” it really boils down to the Internet, with perhaps a whiff of consciousness about the potential of the mobile platform.

But that is a false paradigm. In the not-so-distant future, content will, to a large degree, be platform-agnostic. We’ll be able to cache it at home and move it fairly seamlessly between TV receivers, PC monitors and, yes, mobile platforms. Content will not be so clearly created for one medium and then repurposed for others. In a future of seamless connectivity, you (the viewer) may never know what platform it was created for first and if it’s entertaining, you won’t care.

This is a pretty terrifying prospect for the studios, which are built on a linear, top-down model and notorious for their lack of nimbleness. I’m most definitely not saying that the future of entertainment belongs to anybody with a digital camera. Let’s hope the future of entertainment rises above the majority of the videos found on YouTube. We don’t know much about the future model(s) for distribution of professionally produced content, but I do believe it will be much less hierarchical.

A fight over how many pennies are being made or could be made from Internet distribution is ultimately a futile one. It’s a lot bigger than the Internet. Professional actors, writers and other creatives should be fairly compensated for their work. Just trying to keep track of who’s watching it where is going to get a lot more complicated.

In that same mode, for the years that the giant electronics manufacturers fought it out between HD DVD and BluRay, I believed the battle was a moot point. I’m not saying that physical media will disappear in this new connected entertainment environment, but it’s going to be a lot less important. BluRay “won” the wars for the next-gen High Definition digital media format. But its victory may be very short-lived as people gravitate to downloading movies and other entertainment…and watching on whatever platform they choose.

So, back to the dire predictions for mobile entertainment in 2009 in the U.S. I doubt that mobile entertainment will ever arrive as a “splash” of exciting new technology. I don’t know if we’ll have “the year that mobile TV arrived.” (If so, I agree with the pundits that it won’t happen in 2009.) But maybe our interaction with content will shift in fits and starts, gradually enough, that we–or at least the teenagers we know–will be accessing content on a mobile platform and forget we were supposed to be amazed.

Coming up for 2009:

Look for:

* The next mobile installment of filmmaker L.M. Kit Carson’s “Africa Diaries,” with a story of the latest Nokia N95 production he shot in Zambia for The Sundance Channel.

* My coverage at the Consumer Electronics Show tomorrow morning and hope to cover bits and pieces of it!

And, drum roll please, MobilizedTV is on the verge of a format change. The new MobilizedTV – which I hope will appear in the next week or two — will be easier to navigate and feature video. I’ll look forward to your feedback.

All best wishes for a happy, healthy 2009.

And thanks for reading and supporting MobilizedTV.

Best regards,

Debra Kaufman

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Linux to Offer Seamless Mobile App & Content Sharing

Does Linux have a bright future in the mobile ecosystem? If you’re Andrew Shikiar, the director of global marketing for the LiMo Foundation, the answer is an emphatic yes. LiMo Foundation is an industryshikiar-21 consortium and non-profit corporation founded in 2007 and dedicated to creating an open, hardware-independent, Linux-based operating system for mobile devices. Shikiar sat down with MobilizedTV to talk about the foundation’s work and the future of Linux in the mobile ecosystem.image001

Which were the founding companies of LiMo?

The LiMo Foundation was founded by Motorola, Orange, NTT Docomo, NEC, Panasonic, Vodaphone and Samsung, a mix of operators and OEMs. All these companies that founded the organization had a history of delivering Linux-based handsets to consumers. What they quickly realized is that Linux is a powerful but fragmented technology for handsets, and that it made sense to find a layer of the operating system (O/S) on which they could collaborate while carving out room for differentiation and competition.

LiMo set out to create middleware part of the platform that would be common, that everyone could leverage and use, so that the rest of the mobile ecosystem could more efficiently create pertinent services and applications that would leverage that platform.

Give us some context to Linux as an operating system in the mobile arena.

There are so many operating systems, you can’t count the number of them in the mobile world. There are dozens of platforms. Your old phones had an input screen, they each had their own menu; the phone and O/S were one and the same. The idea you can implement a common O/S across devices really took root several years ago.There was no common platform until phones started getting smarter.

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Nokia Opens Hollywood Research Center

This morning, Nokia announced it has just opened a Nokia Research Center in Hollywood, headed by Rebecca Allen, who founded the Design/Media Arts Department at UCLA and previously held positions a rebeccaallen20041senior research scientist at MIT Media Lab Europe and “3D visionary” at Virgin Interactive Entertainment.

Other universities and research centers that Nokia Research Center collaborates with include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University in the US, the University of Cambridge, UK and Tsinghua University, China.

MobilizedTV interviewed Allen about the mission of the NRC and its potential relationships with and impact on the Hollywood film/TV industry.

MobilizedTV: Tell us a little about your background and how that serves you in your new position with Nokia.

Rebecca Allen: I joined Nokia in July of this year. I’ve spent many years at UCLA where I founded the Design and Media Arts Dept. For another 30 years I have been involved in emerging technolgies, particularly related to media and, as an artist and designer. I approach new technologies through my interest as an artist and designer but am also involved in and have fairly good knowledge of the technology as well. My feeling is if you want to do something creative with new technologies, you have to dig in and understand the tools. The better you know your tools, the more innovative things you can do with them. I also taught from way back that it was going to be important to have artists involved with these new tech were and have some kind of impact and influence on them, which is what got me to dive into research labs.

For me, it was an ideal job description. It’s rare that I can utilize the different parts of my hybrid background, and they were looking for someone with strong academic background in LA and with long-time experience working with media technologies in a research context. And they also wanted someone who was connected to the Hollywood community and that was something I felt comfortable with. And someone with a design background, or some knowledge of the design side. It is so rare to see a job description looking for these multi-disciplinary parts and exciting that I could bring experience to all these different areas.

MTV: What will the research center be doing? What’s your mandate?

RA: Our general mission is to look at what is unique about mobile media and where it might go in the future. Another nice thing, being in research, we’re able to be disruptive- to throw out new ideas and see if we can bring in innovation into the company. One focus we’ll have is “augmented reality.” What is important to me about the mobile space is that it takes us out into the physical world. It’s different from being locked up in a room staring at a monitor, be it a theater screen, TV screen or computer monitor.

With mobile, we’re allowed to be mobile–out in public places in the physical world. How can we have interesting and engaging entertainment using mobile? How can mobile entertainment be different from other entertainment we know? One thing we take advantage is the abilities of mobile devices such as GPS technologies. One idea might be a game where you play the game by going to different physical locations. You can connect that to social networking. We can use mobile devices’ cameras and GPS to, for example, take a picture of a building, have the computer can recognize the building and, in a game situation, it might be a clue.

I can also look at my display and see a virtual object that will give me a clue about where to go next. This is part of the mixed-reality technology where the computer is identifying some object in this space. Once the computer realizes it, it can bring up a fantasy object. The virtual objects or characters are clues that only appear when you’re at a certain location, or if you’re pointing your camera at a certain object. These are all ways to build up the augmented reality experience.

Another big area will be looking at new user interfaces, which is very exciting for me too – I’ve done a lot of work with human bodies, human motion, non-verbal communication. The idea of looking of this for more natural forms of interaction will also be an interesting area for us. When we’re out in the physical world, having a keyboard and mouse don’t make sense so exploring further the interfaces will make that particularly interesting.

MTV: Who are your Hollywood industry partners? How will you be working together?

RA: We haven’t announced Hollywood partners. I’ve been spending a chunk of my time talking to people. In the Los Angeles area, there are numerous interesting groups that look at technology tied in with media, often associated with media companies. We’re looking, in some cases, to collaborate with these media technology companies or even with a company generating media and interested in moving into the mobile space. We’re talking to some people and will talk to more who could be potential collaborators. Also, we’re looking at creative talent in the media industry. In my history, I’ve worked with talented artists who have always wanted to work with new technology, thinking about new ideas for mobile space. But we can’t announce anyone at this point.

Even in research, which is thought of very engineering/technology-focused. it’s crucial in these areas that you have strong creative design input all along the way from the beginning of your research. I’m comfortable with mixing these cultures; I’m a hybrid of these different cultures. This is why it’s important that we’re bringing in creative input from the beginning.

MTV: What would this look like?

RA: One thing I’d like to do is form a nice community of forward thinkers in Los Angeles. I’d like to organize a workshop or set of presentations for people to discuss new ideas. We’re in research, and part of our mandate is also to look farther out, where this will go, what will happen in five years in this space.

MTV: Will you work with the studios or bigger Hollywood institutions?

RA: I’m sure we’ll be connecting. I’m familiar with people at the studios. Even within the Hollywood environment, there are smaller compnies working with the Hollywood studios. I’d like to take advantge of that, to have some interaction with the larger studios but also a lot of work goes on in these smaller businesses. They’re often set up to look to the future. To be able to think and play with these new technologies, I’ll be looking at different-sized industries. Of course we’ll have the relationshp that’s started now with UCLA and USC.

MTV: What will be happening at the research center? What can we expect to see from it in the near future? Will this be open to the public or behind closed doors?

RA: I”m looking to have both public and behind-the-scenes. One nice quality of that in some of our research with the university, it’s intensively open to the public as well as research the university can share with other groups. And there will also be more proprietary work we’ll be doing that will specifically benefit Nokia that I won’t be able to reveal. We see a balance between those sides. By opening up some of the research areas, Nokia believes, it’ll help the whole field move forward. The feeling is that it’s good to keep innovation open to drive the future.

MTV: Where is the center? How many people are or will be staffing it?

RA: We’ve got a location now in Santa Monica where we plan to be for about a year. We’re also looking at a permanent location. Usually Nokia Research Labs are located close to a campus we’re involved with, but since we’re invovled with two campuses, we wanted to make sure we were central to them and a lot of media going on.

We should be at about 20 people, but we also have interns and visitors which will bring it up to probably 30 people . We’re getting staffed up, we’re actually hiring now. I’m looking for people who would come from both a user interface design, user experience and be knowledgeable about the technology and various areas of technology and development.

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