Monday, December 12, 2005

Sprint Unveils Movie Download Service

Sprint has announced a new cell phone service that will allow consumers to download full-length TV shows, movies, concerts, and specials for an additional $6.95 per month. According to E-Commerce News, analysts thought the service will "likely struggle against limited demand for small-screen content."

Roger Entner at Ovum opined, "I don't think full-length films on a regular handset will find a lot of acceptance," noting potential technical hurdles such as battery life and small screens. Gartner's Michael King added, "Certainly, there's just a ton of experimentation now. That's probably what we're going to see for the next two or three years."

King suggested "there was probably some winning combination of length, content and price point," but wondered about the Sprint service, which start out with older Hollywood films, such as "Night of the Living Dead" and "Short Circuit" from 1986, through a service from Mspot.

King also pointed out that "At the end of the day, you want to be able to make a phone call." Compelling content and usage model will be critical, and Entner thought full-length films, which require high bandwidth, would likely be a struggle for carriers "in getting the concept off the ground."

He said, "The typical person who wants to watch a movie has one and a half hours and a TV at their disposal. You either have unappealing movies no one wants to watch, or it becomes a money loser because too many people watch it."