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PMP Market Waiting for Content

The portable media player (PMP) market did not perform as expected this year, due, in part, to questions surrounding video content availability. In-Stat believes that easy access to compelling and copyrighted video content will be vital to PMP market growth. Video content availability has been an issue because providers clearly have copyright and piracy concerns, especially in light of the legal battles fought in the digital audio market. In addition, Hollywood studios have been resistant to license full-length movies because they do not want to eclipse DVD sales in the event that video download services flourish. However, there are concerns throughout online media service communities that without access to legitimate online services, movie and video companies will face piracy issues like we saw in the digital audio industry. Despite concerns such as content availability, Digital Rights Management (DRM) standards, and support for portability, service providers and PMP manufacturers alike are collaborating in an effort to bring new online video services to consumers. For example, Archos, a leading PMP manufacturer, and EchoStar, a top satellite television company and owner of the DISH networks, have announced a limited partnership through which Archos will develop PMP products that will be DISH-branded. These products will be able to take content directly off EchoStar set top boxes via a USB 2.0 connection. In addition, Microsoft announced the launch of MSN Video Downloads this year. This is a subscription-based service providing customers with video content from service providers such as and FOX Sports. In-Stat believes that 10 to 15 minute video files will help kick start consumer adoption of portable video. Therefore, service providers that offer news clips, condensed versions of sitcoms, sports highlights and animated shorts will help drive the concept of portable video.

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