Fox Mobile Group has finally unveiled the long-delayed mobile video streaming service it has been working on for years, but don’t get too excited because this doesn’t sound like the Hulu for mobile that everyone has been waiting for.
While programming is expected from “numerous top-notch content partners,” there’s no mention of Hulu or News Corp.’s joint venture partner, NBC Universal (NYSE: GE), in the release. Fox Mobile said this morning as part of CTIA that the service will be called Bitbop and that it will be an on-demand video subscription service for $9.99 a month. Subscribers will be able to watch full-length content on a smartphone over WiFi and 3G.
The service is expected to launch this Spring, but since many deadlines have not been made in the past, it’s unclear how much you can take away from that. It did not specify what carriers or handsets would be supported. The announcement comes at a time when Fox Mobile Group is undergoing some restructuring pains. Not only has it lost many executives recently, but it is also considering spinning off some of its assets, including Jamba/Jamster.
In a release, Fox Mobile Group’s CMO Chris Hoerenz said: “Bitbop is an on demand subscription-based service that delivers on the promise of making the smartphone an easy-to-use entertainment device for television programs and movies. We are able to give mobile audiences the wide range of content they want, when and where they want it, with all the customer friendly features they expect.”
Bitbop will allow users to either stream the video, or temporarily download it, so that they could view it without internet access. It said that it will work on the most advanced handsets with nearly every carrier, rather than being a entry-phone mobile content play like its Jamba and Jamster brands that sell mostly ringtones. Fox will have to compete against the many applications that are already available for download today that offer free access to full-length content, and many more paid video subscriptions are available, too, through providers, such as MobiTV, FLO TV and the carriers.