Big Plans For ESPN On Mobile


The New York Times has a comprehensive piece on mobile video/TV, although most of the info comes from ESPN (it also talks about CBS, Hearst, MediaFLO). John Zehr, senior vice president for digital video and mobile products at ESPN, said that he believes ESPN’s mobile content will become more important than its web content for many viewers, describes it as “being the first screen because it’s the closest to you”. Nine million people visit ESPN’s mobile site each month…”tens of thousands of them receive an average of 22 ESPN text messages on their phones each week”.

ESPN is also doing a lot to link its mobile and PC websites — it tracks what computer users read on its website to “determine what like-minded sports fans want to view on their phones” and is seeking a patent to cover its multiscreen effort. “The goal is to monitor individuals’ interests on the Web site and then use the information to match cellphone content to their tastes. If someone is watching a football game on and has to hit the road, Mr. Zehr says, chances are that they would like the game to appear on their cellphone 20 minutes later.”

Last resort: “The experience of content on your phone is worse than almost any other venue you could think of,” says Charles Golvin, a senior analyst at Forrester Research. “If you have a choice between a phone and any other outlet for content, you’ll almost always choose the other outlet because it’s a better experience. The phone is the device of last resort.” NYT reports that the comeback to this is that people are reaching the last resort far more often than in the past. The NYT has a graph showing the device people “could not live without” — PC always beats mobile, and in the younger groups they both beat TV, but TV slowly climbs as the groups get older while the other two fall — the cross-over is around Gen X.

One last thing — can people please never say “mobilely” again? I’d prefer if this article was the last place I saw it…

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