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CTIA Brings U.S. Mobile Video Into Focus

Rob Glaser, the founder, chairman, and CEO of RealNetworks, spoke Monday evening at Mobile Entertainment Live! produced by Billboard Magazine, Nielsen Mobile, and The Hollywood Reporter in partnership with CTIA The Wireless Association, and dubbed the official mobile entertainment event of CTIA Wireless 2008.

Glaser used his speech to discuss entertainment as a service, focusing on carrier pricing plans, open access handsets, and networks and advertising versus subscription. He noted that content and connectivity have a key symbiotic relationship.

"Ads on a small screen and a network with limited bandwidth can create a negative experience," Glaser said, mentioning that phones with a larger screen, such as Apple's iPhone, could work but regular feature phones have very limited screen space.

"The most successful ad model," Glaser said, "is in-game advertising" which his company uses, showing ads between game levels.

According to Nielsen Mobile data, about 90 percent of the phones in the marketplace are capable of doing more than making phone calls. But only 33 percent of subscribers pay for data plans, with only 13 percent using the data service regularly.

"The problem is that products are designed from the content owner's perspective, and not with consumers in mind," said Peter Lurie, Virgin Mobile USA general counsel and founder, during a Monday session dubbed "Content versus Carrier."

Mobile Streaming
Not that companies aren't attempting to get into the space early. Besides the encoder companies attending the show, such as Envivio, Media Excel, and Ripcode, streaming mobile service aggregators are also announcing new partnerships.

Mywaves, based in Sunnyvale, announced additions to its ad-supported streaming mobile video service, including expansion into mainstream content from MTV, as clips from Jackass, VH1, Gametrailers and Atom Entertainment. The company, which creates "channels" for each show, claims to have over 460,000 channels of content. The company beat out MTV for the title of best mobile video service at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.

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