Tuesday, January 03, 2006

JupiterResearch: Can Vongo jumpstart the portable video market?

Michael Gartenberg posts his thoughts on the recently announced Vongo service from Starz in partnership with Microsoft and Sony at the Jupiter Analyst Weblogs. Gartenberg first takes on the Vongo name by writing, "Yech. Sounds like one of the characters from Blazing Saddles. Who thinks of this stuff?" He thinks the "service itself sounds interesting," but still has "a lot of concerns" that the subscription model will be a harder sell and with the playback device of which none were mentioned beyond the PC. If it is indeed targeted to PC users, he states:

Well, that's fine for a tiny segment of the market but unless there's a really easy way to get the content from the PC to the TV set, it's going to be as niche a product as the earlier version was (STARZ Connect done in partnership with REAL). At the moment, this service cries out for a device to let me easily get my content from my PC to my TV (think Airport Express, but with video) or at least an MCE interface and a killer mobile device too. It's certainly not clear what devices other than the PC will work with Vongo (there's no listing of any portable devices on the market that work with the service) and without that part of the equation, it's only half a story. One thing is clear, there's no iPod support so it's already starting from a very poor position. Especially since Apple has already been evangelizing the market the mobile video content is NOT about full length movies but rather episodic TV shows.

It's also time to remind everyone that the iPod drove people to the iTunes music store, not the other way around.
On the topic of the partners in this venture, Gartenberg writes:
it's interesting to see that Sony is on board with this as part of Connect. Now, what devices will Sony have for playback? Is this tied to the PSP perhaps? Will we see a new generation of video Walkman? Are we seeing a Sony embrace of Microsoft media technologies and what does that mean for a future alliance against Apple?
As Gartenberg concludes, Vongo brings up more questions than it answers. I guess we'll just have to wait and see...