This week I attended my first Mobile Monday seminar. It’s held at Horse Bazaar – a cute bar on Little Lonsdale St. Walter Adamson spoke about the huge disruptive potential of mobile tv. The event is organised by Keren Flavell, who spoke earlier this year at one of the seminars I manage for the AFTRS Centre for Screen Business – The Business of Digital Distribution.
I also talked to Simon Goodrich and Andrew Apostola, the directors of the International Portable Film Festival. This photo of Keren, Simon and Andrew is from the Mobile Media Show website.
When it comes to mobile tv, I am more of a skeptic. When comparing the early era of mobile content development and delivery with the early years of the internet, some striking differences emerge.
I think the internet exploded because it was a free and easy environment in which to work and play. It quickly became very inexpensive to host, deliver and publish content. Along with increasingly cheap and sophisticated digital media technologies to capture and create content, this meant the barrier to participation became very low. The result is Web 2.0 emergent, collaborative, integrated ideas and services.
The same cannot be said for mobile content. The devices on which to play it are diverse, and require different audio and video formats. Content creators and publishers have to output their content in multiple formats. The biggest issue however is the publishing strategy. Hosting and delivery is strangled by the telcos. Content creators have content they can’t publish. Users cannot access the diversity of free and inexpensive content directly by their mobile devices compared to what is available online. Until wi-fi or wi-max or other side-loading technologies allow mobile content publishers to publish directly to consumers, mobile content delivery and consumption will remain a niche activity. Most users will continue to use the internet to consume media, and move it to their mobile devices only if they are sufficiently motivated to do so.