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Online Digital Video Services Going Mobile

The online applications for digital video are evolving beyond entertainment. Moreover, a growing number of mobile service providers worldwide are increasing their video messaging and telephony offerings.

According to a new study from ABI Research, the market value for mobile video telephony services including video mail, video calling, and video sharing services, will grow from $1 billion in 2007 to over $17 billion by 2012, a CAGR of 74 percent.

That said, the conditions that will drive or inhibit growth of these new services by region are complex.

According to principal analyst Dan Shey, "The Web 2.0 phenomena and sites that allow posting of mobile video will increase demand for mobile video services. However, global demand inhibitors include income levels, messaging and video viewing alternatives, and handset capabilities. And then there is the uncertainty factor for operators of video services on network utilization which will affect their promotion and pricing strategies."

Reflecting such complex conditions, ABI Research has created forecasts for uptake of mobile video messaging and telephony services for eight different regions of the world. According to the report, the industrialized regions of North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific will command 90 percent of the video services revenues.

While only 10 percent of the service revenues will come from the developing regions of the world, the opportunity for video services serving customers from developed regions should not be discounted.

Says Shey, "The biggest opportunity for carriers in developing world countries is with video messaging services. The mobile phone is the most common device in these regions and 2.5G networks are sufficient for this service. With more people migrating and immigrating to find work, video messaging can be the service that provides a rich form of communication for social and familial connectivity."

I believe that video messaging also has numerous new commercial applications, such as sharing short video presentations. Low cost consumer-grade digital video authoring and editing software typically enables the formating of output for mobile devices. I currently use Sony Vegas software, and have previously utilized Windows Movie Maker for this purpose.

The future applications for video use on a mobile phone should be limited only by our imagination -- but it will more likely be limited by service provider pricing strategies. To date, public Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity appears to be the primary method that early adopters apply for viewing video while on-the-go.

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