Rights & The Third Screen

[ image courtesy of ee seuu / Flickr ]

Verizon sent me a direct mail piece some weeks ago telling me about the debut of their mobile TV service, and we covered that phenomenon here at Superfly. More and more providers are offering video service on mobile phones, and content providers are rushing to get in on the fun. A quick Google search yields many paid ads from the major providers: Sprint, Cingular, and the aforementioned Verizon.

ABC and Sprint have just inked a deal that will place full-length ABC television content on Sprint mobile phones, as reported by MediaPost. Discovery [Channel] Mobile is launching 14 mobile-only programs that are shorter in length; this is part of the aggressive strategy that this year-old subsidiary channel pursues, says Mediaweek.

The Washington Business Journal reports that AOL, too, is getting a piece of the Third Screen action by purchasing a provider of advertising on the mobile platforms.

Clint Stinchcomb, executive vp and general manger, Discovery Emerging Networks gives this devastating quote:

“As the number-one producer of nonfiction entertainment with broad and flexible programming rights, we can provide consumers and distributors with original, compelling series unique to the platform.”

Why devastating? Broad and flexible programming rights. Read those words again. Content creators and distributors willing to enter into agreements with broad and flexible rights will be able to have that content served, sliced, and diced in ways we know and ways we do not yet know. There is risk involved, but if brands are carefully managed and a strategic approach employed, the opportunities are only now starting to rear their heads.

The mainstream AOL getting in the game should only reinforce the idea that this should no longer be considered a niche platform.

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