The mobile revolution is merging with the social-networking revolution as MySpace partners with mobile video company RipCode on a new streaming-video service. MySpace announced its latest foray on Wednesday.
MySpace Mobile will let members view videos from mobile devices. With the announcement, MySpace becomes the first social-networking portal to launch video streaming for mobile. YouTube offers a similar service.
Still in beta mode, MySpace Mobile aims to stream the highest possible video quality for mobile viewing. Members can access videos they've uploaded to MySpace or have marked as a favorite. All of a member's uploaded videos and most premium content, including branded channels such as TMZ, the National Hockey League, the National Geographic, The Onion, and College Humor, are available on mobile devices.
A Growing Trend
MySpace said its members are increasingly interested in portability and on-the-go-access, making mobile video a natural step. "MySpace will continue to grow our video library as we increase delivery channels in order to keep pace with our users' accelerating desire for video consumption," said John Faith, vice president and general manager of mobile for MySpace.
MySpace Mobile is not new. The site sees about three billion page views every month from more than 10 million unique users, according to the company. But MySpace is betting that adding video streams will give it a boost in an increasingly competitive social-networking arena.
MySpace may be on to something. According to Frost & Sullivan, streaming mobile video services constitute the bulk of current U.S. mobile video offerings. Tapping streaming video puts MySpace on the leading edge for social networks. Phil Leigh, a senior analyst at Inside Digital Media, said the MySpace streaming deal is one more example of how digital video is making inroads on various fronts.
"Internet video is now on the TV, the computer, and the mobile device -- and it's advancing on all three fronts," Leigh said. "It's well established on the computer now, and it's beginning to move into the mobile devices and the television more rapidly. We'll see more of this in 2009 and beyond."
Not Tied To Carriers
MySpace is leveraging RipCode's On-Demand Video Transcoding. Real-time transcoding means MySpace can support several different handsets even though they require different combinations of codecs, bit rates, and resolutions.
What MySpace isn't doing, however, is tying its service to any one wireless carrier. MySpace is catering to iPhone users, among others, with its mobile streaming video. That, Leigh said, is the wave of the future.
"In the past if you wanted to get streaming video, you had to subscribe to the incremental services from your carrier. What's different here with the iPhone and the other devices this works with is that you can go to whatever Web site you want and get the video directly from there," Leigh said. "Mobile video is no longer in the hands of the telephone companies."