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July 14, 2006

Three New Examples of the Old/New Media Intersection...Today

Three big announcements came yesterday regarding movements of old media companies and old media money into new media forms.

For instance, HBO will be offering mobisodes exclusively for Cingular Wireless customers. These will include three-minute mini-mobisodes for Entourage, as well as full episodes from the first season of Entourage and episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Dane Cook's Tourgasm.

Meanwhile, Atlas On Demand has now confirmed deals with other most other major video-on-demand service and measurement providers to poffer a comprehensive package for VOD ad campaigns.

And CinemaNow, the on-demand video producer, announced yesterday that it is receiving more than $20 million in funding led by EchoStar and Index Holdings. The funding will be used to expand services for mobile platforms.

All three examples show how quickly the industry is expanding into mobile media and Internet programming. However, the first example--HBO's launching of content on Cingular--continues to demonstrate what platform providers encourage but what is ultimately detrimental to both fans and to content providers--deals struck for gated content.

As I've written about before, the creation of gated content shows a prohibitive new strain in the development of new media. For fans who faithfully follow a few shows, it becomes increasingly frustrating when some of that content is provided exclusvely by one platform provider and other parts by various others. The last thing fans can afford is to pay to have a Cingular phone, a T-Mobile phone, a Verizon phone and a Sprint phone, just to be able to participate in this transmedia content. Of course, that won't happen. Fans can't afford it, first of all, and the ridiculousness of that system is apparent. Maybe gated content makes some degree of sense in this experimental phase, but it represents a dangerous path, as compared to more open development in new media forms from other companies.

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