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in Filmmaking
on Jan 9, 2009

I was hoping to find someone to cover CES this year but struck out. (If you are a Filmmaker reader attending and would like to send some comments from the point-of-view of an independent filmmaker, you can email me at editor.filmmaker AT However, discovering Scott Kirsner’s CES blog at Variety is, for me, the next best thing to having a correspondent there. I interviewed Scott in the last issue of the magazine, and over at the Variety blog he files commentary in his own patented fusion of tech coverage and industry business analysis. Among the topics: a predicted explosion of up to six-fold in BluRay sales; what will drive equipment sales given the retail electronic sector’s collapse; and a piece entitled “Unraveling the Mysteries of Mobile Video” that talks about just that.

An excerpt:

“I like to say that mobile video is like a crab,” says Frank Barbieri, chief executive of Transpera, a San Francisco-based start-up that works with media companies to deliver video to phones. “It’s hard to crack, and it has all these little compartments, but once you get into it, you find all this really sweet meat.”

Some media execs at CES have the sense that the audience for video on phones isn’t big enough yet. “The numbers aren’t there,” says Bill Bradford, chief product officer at Fox Digital Media, who also expressed concern that content protection, or digital rights management, isn’t yet strong enough on mobile phones. “It’ll take a few years.”

But working directly with mobile carriers, MTV Networks served up “nearly 100 million video streams in 2008, and that was double the number from the year before,” says Greg Clayman, executive vice president of digital distribution. But Clayman acknowledges that carriers are hoping to move toward delivering more ad-supported content, as opposed to subscription-based content, and that “there’s no agreed-upon ad formats yet.”

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