Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Wireless Carriers to Subscribers: "Let Us Entertain You!"

Cell phones are morphing into all-in-one media devices, but that doesn't mean they're entertaining consumers.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Verizon is in talks with YouTube to bring user-submitted videos from the Web service to Verizon's wireless customers. The move would follow similar ones by Sprint-Nextel and Cingular to offer video, music and games to their wireless customers.

But do people want to watch?

``The phone remains primarily for voice communication. All these other things are secondary features,''
said Michael Gartenberg, research director at Jupiter Research in New York.

As for video in particular, he added,

``Consumers consistently tell us that while they are interested in these services, they're not willing to pay a whole lot of money for them.''

The wireless providers are among a growing number of players trying to jump into the market for providing portable video.

To be sure, analysts don't argue that video on cell phones is doomed to failure. In fact, the short clips that are available on YouTube may prove popular among cell phone users who are looking for a quick diversion, they say.

Just don't expect consumers to replace their big-screen TV or even their video iPods with a video-playing cell phone anytime soon.

``It may become some sort of standard feature, but that doesn't necessarily mean that's where consumers will first go to get video,''
said Chris Crotty, senior consumer electronics analyst at iSuppli.

Source: MercuryNews.com

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