Just what are folks doing with all those mobile devices?

I'm in Philadelphia, excited to attend the Hyperlinked Society at my old haunt, the Annenberg School. I chatted with some good folks last night, many of whom are likely to blog the conference during the course of the day. I may be sharing Joe Turow's nervous energy, and woke too early this morning.

Meanwhile, I am beginning to prepare for my own conference responsibilites at next week's Silverdocs, where I will be chairing a panel entitled "THE FUTURE OF REAL: E-MEDIA, I-MEDIA, WHAT MEDIA, WHOSE MEDIA?" on Thursday morning. The organizers describe it thusly:

Why should documentary filmmakers care about pod-casting, video i-Pods, mobile phone content delivery, VOD, broadband, cross-platform distribution? Are digital distribution technologies opening up new audiences and new sources of production funding? Or are they simply asking media artists to provide more versions of their content for the same-or less-amount of money?

The panelists are to include:

Linda Good Bryant, Multi Media Artist and Activist
Albie Hecht, President, World Wide Biggies/Shine Global Foundation
Debra May Hughes, President and Chief Operating Officer, Public Interactive
Clint Stinchcomb, Senior Vice President of New Media, Discovery Communications

My goal for the panel is to get beyond the hype of mobile and multiple platform distribution. I'd like the panel to paint a picture of what audiences and filmmakers are doing in this chaotic new world and am particularly interested in actual data. To wit, Nokia reports on how 18-35 year olds in 11 countries are using their mobiles:

Two thirds of people globally say a music-enabled mobile phone will replace their dedicated MP3 player, according to research from Nokia.

What's more, one in two people are already using a mobile phone as their main camera, while a third are using it for surfing the web.

Specifically, 44 per cent of respondents use a mobile phone as their primary camera…With Nokia optimistically asserting that 67 per cent of people globally now download a percentage of their music,… 36 per cent of respondents claim they are browsing the web on their mobile devices at least once a month.

The CEA reported last month that:

the most common activity for portable entertainment devices is listening to music (94 percent); however, this may be due to the lack of video capability and content. CEA estimates that only 15 percent of total digital media players shipping in 2005 were video capable, but that tide is quickly turning. This year, the percentage is expected to double. Owners of devices that do include video capability are twice as likely to engage in watching activities, choosing music videos (37 percent), movies (37 percent) and TV programming (21 percent). …Seventy-one percent of online portable digital media device owners plan to purchase entertainment content that can be played back on their device, spending close to $68 on content in the coming year.

I'm curious to learn just want kinds of programming people are watching? Will this apparrent even split between short (music videos) and long form (movies) continue? Will long form become more popular as batter life increases? Are audiences interested in serious non-fiction content, which is the concern of my day job, or will the preference be for user-generated content with a social commentary spin, like Bus Uncle? (Rowland Soong uses the phrase "spontaneous media exposures" in his summation of all things Bus Uncle.)

4 thoughts on “Just what are folks doing with all those mobile devices?

  1. Are audiences interested in serious non-fiction content, which is the concern of my day job, or will the preference be for user-generated content with a social commentary spin, like Bus Uncle?

    Isn’t there a third option? Simply viewing traditional mainstream content, just using a different device?

  2. but will the programming be different? the users’ engagement with it will be different, as we engage differently with Superman on the big screen than we do when watching at home.

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