Will Cell Carriers Kill Open Mobile Video?


Niall Kennedy looks in to the details of the Nokia announcement that Katie touched on in her roundup of news from 3GSM on GigaOM.

While Nokia is touting its integration with YouTube, I’m more interested in the new phones’ support for MediaRSS and H.264 generally — which would presumably enable anyone who can code a server side script (and therefore any video sharing service) to encode video and deliver subscriptions directly to the phone. According to the release:

Nokia Video Center offers content producers and distributors a unique way to lead consumers directly to dynamic video services which can easily be produced and tailored for various interests.

nokia_n95.jpgOf course, according to Niall, no American carriers currently offer the phones, even though as quad-band phones they support GSM networks owned and/or operated by Cingular and T-Mobile USA.

It sets up what’s become a classic sticking point between publishers and distributors — publishers want open standards in order to reach audiences on the widest range of devices and platforms while distributors search for the holy grail of creating a proprietary solution that becomes a de facto standard by sheer force of market share, forcing competitors to license the technology.

The point is that if Nokia’s solution is adopted, anyone would have access to the audience and it would reduce the number of hoops necessary to jump through in order to serve the content. Independent content producers could compete directly with the broadcast video services offered by the carriers. That means YouTube’s ‘oh-so-exclusive’ deals with carriers like Verizon Wireless and Vodafone aren’t really that great after all, though that was probably obvious in the first place. Hence, I doubt we’ll be seeing it on this side of the Atlantic any time soon.

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