It’s looking as though mobile television is going to grow exponentially over the next few years, with faster and more numerous connections, and more devices capable of streaming video. TV.com clearly wants in on the ground level, and has already started its push.
Hulu Vs. Joost Vs. TV.com
Hulu and Joost were once the two big online video portals battling it out for the hearts and minds of viewers. But Joost has fallen by the wayside of late, a victim of not having enough premium content regularly airing. The switch to being browser-based has helped, but not enough to keep it buzzworthy and in the news.
The new battle seems to be between Hulu and TV.com, a relatively new entry into he video portal market after evolving from being a more community-based affair. The two sites have traded blows recently, with Hulu removing its content from TV.com after the former realized the latter could be stiff competition.
TV.com On The Up
Just a few days ago, TV.com announced it would be making some short-form content available internationally, breaking the site free of its U.S. only shackles. This is something Hulu has hinted at for months but never actually delivered on.
And now the CBS-owned TV.com has beat Hulu to the punch again, this time releasing an iPhone application. The app offers all iPhone and iPod Touch users the chance to watch TV.com content on their mobile device. This includes full episodes of shows such as Star Trek, Beverly Hills 90210, and C.S.I..
Jeff Sellinger, Executive Vice President and General Manager, CBS Mobile said:
“CBS Mobile is excited to be on Apple’s App Store with our application for TV.com, where TV lives online – and now on iPhone and iPod touch,”
“Fans can now watch their favorite shows, great clips and create custom channels whenever and wherever they want through the iPhone and iPod touch application.”
The Need For Flash
TV.com isn’t the first online video site to go down this route, with Joost launching a similar app at the end of last year. And YouTube has been available since the beginning. But more telling is the sites that haven’t yet launched apps to enable mobile viewing, the biggest of which is obviously Hulu.
The biggest problem for Hulu is that it uses Adobe Flash to deliver video content, and Flash isn’t yet compatible with the iPhone and many other of the new-generation of mobile devices. Hulu has indicated it’s working on a iPhone app but it’s relying on Apple and Adobe to work together to make Flash available on the iPhone.
Mobile Video Popularity Explosion
A recent study by ABI Research suggests that there will be 500 million mobile TV viewers by 2013, in a market worth an estimated $50 billion. The number of mobile television users is expected to double every year between now and then. In other words, mobile video is about to explode in popularity.
This shows how important it is for any online video portal worth its salt to offer its users the chance to watch on the move. The fact that both TV.com and Joost have beaten Hulu to the punch means the NBC and News Corp. venture is playing catch-up and risks being left behind.
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