Its like HBO for Mobile Phones


With 3G networks finally rolling out and wireless high-speed connections becoming easily available, Brian Levin, co-founder and CEO of Seattle-based Mobliss thinks that it is time to roll out a mobile video network. He is calling his Thumb Dance, and the network is going to make its debut later this month in Park City, Utah. Yup, you guessed it right to coincide with the real Sun Dance Festival.

Why now? “Carriers are just rolling out their high speed networks, and the high end phones are coming to market now,” he says. There will be 85 million 3G subscribers world wide next year, with 2 million or so predicted in North America alone. In addition, shipments of the more powerful handsets which can handle mobile video are increasing sharply. According to In-Stat/MDR, shipments of Smartphones are expected to rise by almost 45 percent over the next five years. The firm expects that smart phones will account for some 117 million out of 833 million handsets shipped globally by 2009.

Business Week reports that most of the biggies are working on their content strategies. Fox is going to offer mobi-episodes of its hit “24″ show. Several other start-ups are also working on similar content. “I think the wireless networks are evolving, and I think we need content that is made specifically for mobile platforms,” says Levin. Unlike others who are trying to retrofit content from other platforms like cable and television, Levin believes that you need special video clips. “Short bursts of entertainment, animation, funny and humorous stuff will do well on the mobile platform,” he says. The company is also going to have Thumbdance Mobile Film Festival contest, where everyone can submit their own clips and ideas and shorts, Levin says. “Like HBO we are creating our own platform, and our own product,” he boasts. “Mobile content is where cable was 30 years ago, and so one day we hope to make our own Sopranos.” Mobliss, which is part of Index Corporation, a Japanese wireless content conglomerate, is currently working on five such series.

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