This just in: YouTube is set to announce the launch of their mobile service later today. They’re cooperating with Verizon Wireless, bringing the power of YouTube (over 100 million videoclipdownloads per day (!)) to everyones mobile phones.
At the same time, O2 in the UK has launched a similar service, LookAtMe, while the operator 3 has similar services through their Kink Kommunity and SeeMeTV.
My two cents?
I think there will be an uphill struggle for these services. This mostly due to a) pricing of data transfers (a clip on YouTube, even though it would be downsized for mobile, would still be several Mbs. At a cost of some euros per 10 Mbs, for instance, you don’t watch many clips before your monthly allowance is at an end) and b) quality of the downloads (it’s just no fun watching a funny videoclip if you can’t see what’s happening in it, y’know?).
What is needed is affordable prices and made-for-mobile content. Made-for-mobile is not the same as made-with-mobile, mind you.
Even so, this all has the possibility to change the landscape of “regular” television to some extent. Already reality television has made a huge impact on how people see tv – we like looking at each other and ourselves as much or more than we like watching people in dramas or sitcoms – and with more and more user generated content, this becomes more and more accentuated.
Everyone can have their 15 megabytes of fame. What will hopefully happen is that more talent will come to the fore, through channels previously unused. Less and less do people have to “pay their dues” in the tv industry to “get their chance” and make a name for themselves.
Recipe for success? Rack up a great 3-4 minute video, using equipment worth 400€, put it up on YouTube and get 100.000 downloads per day. Then just wait for the phone to call.
Hmm, now where did I put that webcam…