Mobile Video subscriptions surge

The popularity of video and Internet TV is proliferating to the mobile! About 8.4 million wireless customers in the U.S. now subscribe to mobile video, reports Telephia – that’s 4% of all U.S. mobile subscribers. In the first quarter of 2006, there were 3.3 million mobile video subscribers, and in the first quarter of 2007, this number had grown to 8.4 million, signaling a Year-over-Year growth of 155%. This is starting from a very low number, but it’s still very decent growth. Mobile video revenues in the U.S. totaled $146 million in Q1 2007, growing 198 percent year-over-year.

In comparison, mobile music, which includes realtones, ringtones and full-track music, is a $239 million per quarter business in the U.S. Mobile music has been around for 3-4 years and music subscriptions grew 42% during the same period, from 19 million subscribers who downloaded some form of audio on their mobile devices to 27 million.

More interestingly, the survey has found out that nearly half of the mobile video subscribers were willing to put up with view ads on their cellphones – that should be very good news for the likes of Google/YouTube and other video providers.

Recent agreements between wireless operators and video content providers, such as this between Veoh and Verizon Wireless and this will further increase interest in mobile video. Of course, a compatible wireless device is required to view video on mobile phones.

IThentic to launch under-three-minute mobile entertainment videos

ithentic_logo2.gifiThentic, an online and mobile video content company, has teamed with Independent Television Service International to commission eight short films from award-winning filmmakers around the world. This work will be for a project dubbed “Global Mobile” banner with food as the common theme. Each segment will run under three minutes. iThentic has also completed pilot episodes for a range of in-house productions, including “Green Minutes,” “Hot or Not?” and “Reel Stand-Up.”

The film series will launch in October for distribution on globalmobileproject.com, itvs.org and iThentic.com and to other distribution partners, including Cellfish in the U.S. and Rogers Vision in Canada. IThentic is also looking for original, high quality, independent content for the web and mobile devices, and will share revenues with content providers.

The iThentic mobile video service is currently available on Rogers Wireless and Telus, two major Canadian mobile operators. iThentic distributes video content In the US to wireless carriers through Cellfish. Cellfish reaches a potential 350 million cellular customers through its carriage arrangements, and provides direct downloads to wireless devices from http://www.cellfish.com.

The mobile video space is just heating up and iThentic is positioning itself as a provider of short-form mobile entainment video. This is just the beginning, and we can expect many more content distributors to join the fray.

AT&T Video Calling service goes Nationwide

AT&T Video Share AT&T/Cingular started with a limited commercial rollout of the Video Share service in June 2007. Now, AT&T Video Share goes “nationwide” in nearly 160 Markets. While Europe has seen video calling services earlier (albeit with limited success), this is the first-ever service in the U.S. that enables mobile subscribers to share live video over their wireless phones while on a voice call.

This is still one-way live streaming-video feeds where one has to manually switch streaming direction (making it half-duplex video calling). There is still a laundry list of drawbacks with this service. I’m still skeptical that this service will catchup anytime soon.

Video Share works exclusively over the AT&T 3G wireless network. So the real good news here is that AT&T has expanded its 3G footprint, which was earlier limited to a few select cities. With 3G, users will get faster data download speeds using a technology called HSDPA. Another technology called HSUPA will increase upload speeds, but this will come much later.