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Still early days for mobile video, says WebVideo show panelist

NEW YORK -- Content for mobile phones has the potential to be an enormous market. And yet only one hour of the two-day WebVideo Summit was dedicated to mobile -- but it was a start.

Organized by Jupitermedia Corp., a provider of original images and information, the WebVideo Summit panel called "The Video World Goes Mobile" at least highlighted some of the key issues with mobile video.

"We're still early in consumer behavior," said Marcus Yoder, co-founder and senior vice president of Veeker, a free service that allows consumers to communicate instantly using video cameras in mobile devices.

Veeker partnered with NBC Universal to encourage citizen journalism. In one case it was the Southern California fires that spurred a flurry of mobile phone users to capture and send images and video to the news station.

"You have to have a reason for people to submit video and also want it on their phones," Mr. Yoder said. "And you have to know what exactly you're asking consumers to do and who will do it."

Hot for some, though â?¦
Within 36 hours during the California fires, thousands of hours of content had been sent in to NBC through Veeker's technology.

Veeker technology enables mobile phone users to submit video and photos that can then be extracted, put on air and syndicated by a network such as NBC.

Mr. Yoder was on the panel with Barb Dybwad, senior editor of Engadget, Andrew MacFarlane, CEO of Buzzwire and Andrew Perlman, general manager and senior vice president of content and community at Vringo.

Charles Hall, editor and senior analyst at Online Reporter, Baton Rouge, LA, moderated the session.

Mr. Hall cited Nokia numbers in stating that by 2019 the total market for mobile Internet services will reach $130 billion.

It is no news that consumers consider the mobile device as their most personal medium. So it comes as no surprise that more mobile phones are sold than television sets, according to Mr. Hall.

â?¦ not yet on fire
However, the medium has its issues.

"Mobile is still an incredibly fractured arena, since there is no single platform," Mr. MacFarlane said.

"Content on mobile needs to be all about impulse and fulfilment for the consumer," he said.

He raised the challenges for mobile video by asking the question, "What will capture the consumer's attention -- will it be brand or content driven?"

Overall, there needs to be an impulse to drive a habit of use for the consumer.

So what makes mobile content work?

"The mobile phone is the ultimate social network," Vringo's Mr. Perlman said.

Vringo has partnered with content providers such as the Saturday Night Live television show and the Discovery Channel to deliver programming to mobile devices.

"The true rise of mobile video is dependent on all of the companies in the value chain," Mr. Perlman said. "Ease of experience is critical to mobile."