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Wireless Platforms Vying for Content

As the technology progresses, wireless carriers and platforms are looking for "killer apps" to prove their services invaluable to consumers. On Friday, NTT DoCoMo (www.nttdocomo.com), announced the formation of a wholly owned subsidiary, DoCoMo.com Inc, to advise and provide financial support for wireless content providers, according to Reuters Securities. GEO Interactive's Emblaze ( www.emblaze.com), a wireless streaming platform, is also aggressively seeking to partner with content companies - announcing an agreement to feature ClickPLAY's (www.clickplay.com) preview network in its wireless trials to consumers.

DoCoMo.com Inc. will help promote the spread of video-based applications across DoCoMo's I-mode network. The I-mode network is growing rapidly, with the company listing its number of subscribers at close to 14 million, as of October 27th.

The I-mode network can transfer data at speeds of 64kps, and NTT DoCoMo introduced the F502i and D502i, its first i-mode compatible cellular phones to be equipped with vivid color display, in January of this year. NTT DoCoMo bought a 42.3 percent stake in AOL Japan for $100 million, at the end of September. Under the terms of this agreement, the two companies formed a joint investment committee to fund companies driving the development of mobile platforms.

ClickPLAY, which has created a platform to preview content and enable mobile commerce, will use GEO's Emblaze platform to package and deliver audio and video content to Emblaze-enabled mobile telephones and other wireless handheld devices. ClickPLAY will gather previews of music, movies and other video content, with some of its initial previews licensed from Gold Circle Entertainment and SightSound.com.

According to the CEO of ClickPlay, Alan Kaplan, its wireless platform is still in its initial phases of testing; however, the idea is to identify potentially profitable services of use to the consumer - such as the ability to purchase movie tickets directly after viewing the preview, or the ability to reserve a movie at your local video rental store. Kaplan believes that the key to maintaining a viewer's attention is to keep wireless multimedia content as short as possible.

"We believe that as a pioneer in delivering an end-to-end video streaming solution over wireless networks, it is key to have applications and services such as ClickPLAY Wireless, which will define a category for new revenue streams in the coming years,'' said Sasson Darwish, president of GEO's U.S. Operations.

ClickPlay and Geo expect to enact consumer trials of the wireless preview system in Korea before the end of the fourth quarter, in conjunction with Samsung, according to Kaplan. NTT DoCoMo has not yet announced any specific course of action for its DoCoMo.com subsidiary.

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