At the VAS India conference last week, Jai Maroo, Director, Shemaroo Entertainment, said that the company is demoing a YouTube upload service with two partners: a user can make a video call, press * to record a video, and press # to upload it to YouTube; the service would require users to connect their YouTube account with their number, and the video, once uploaded would automatically be tagged with their mobile number.
Maroo made this point in the context of an underlying debate on packet switched (data access) versus circuit switched (point to point, call based) serving of videos on 3G, saying that one should not underestimate the importance of making access and delivery of services easy to use; his take was that the circuit switched delivery of content is significantly easier to use than packet switched. “Packet switching has advantages: there’s no call drop, works with multiple bandwidth speeds, and is better in the long term. But in terms of the user experience, circuit switching or video calling is much easier to use versus WAP. I think video calling wil be a key factor in driving adoption of 3g, because its simple,” he said.
What will drive 3G VAS adoption?
– Simplicity of access and navigation: Apart from video calling, apps will play a key role, since they allow you to customize the user interface in a manner that WAP cannot.
– Content: not just any content, but time-relevant content. Also, ‘content which you can’t watch in your living room’: Maroo mentioned the rise of channels like UTV Bindass in two-TV households, “which have shows that people are hungry for content, which they can’t watch in their living rooms. That will work on mobile. You need a slew of services. If there’s one thing that the Internet has taught us, it is that there is no one size fits all. Everything coexists and drives adoption.” Shemaroo services 27 languages in audio.
Notes from Maroo’s Talk:
– The challenge for 3G according to Maroo is that there’s no national player, and there are network issues on the technology front: the 3G rollout has not been smooth.
– On the content side, there are new rights issues – some of the content doesn’t have mobile rights.
– TV producers will have to decide whether they modify their programming to suit mobile, or launch a separate feed for mobile. Are people going to see on mobile what they see in a movie theater? Not really.
– Symbiotic relationship between TV and Mobile: Take american idol, mobile by itself does not build that kind of brand, while on the other hand TV drives traffic to mobile, which builds stickiness, and that builds mobile. 24 launched mobisodes that filled the gap between two episodes of a weekly TV show. The BBC modifed the direction of the story on the basis of what people are watching.