Fox Mobile Group today announced Bitbop, a wireless subscription service that brings "premium" video content to US smartphone users. It'll cost $US10 per month, and it's the next best thing until a Hulu app gets here. Which, hey, still waiting!
With Bitbop, you'll be able to browse a menu of full-length television and movie content to either stream or temporarily download over 3G or Wi-Fi. It's not totally clear exactly how much content you'll have access to, but more than just the Fox family of networks will be represented; GigaOM reports that both NBC Universal and Discovery will be providing shows as well.
But will people pay for it? Difficult to say. Ten bucks a month seems a little steep, especially since that'll be piled on top of the pricey data plans that are needed for the system to be of any use in the first place. And some questions remain: Will the service go deep into a show's back catalogue? Does the subscription fee mean no commercial presence at all? And if, as GigaOM also notes, certain movies are going to cost extra, well, doesn't that undermine the subscription model pretty dramatically?
We'll know the answers to a lot of this in the coming weeks when Bitbop becomes available for download. If nothing else, it gives us a glimpse into precisely how Fox values on-demand online video. Which in turn gives us an idea of how much Hulu may someday cost, given Fox's ownership stake.
New Bitbop Mobile Video Subscription Service Delivers a Wealth of Premium Content to the Smartphone
State-of-the-art service unleashes new viewing possibilities
LAS VEGAS, March 24 /PRNewswire/ — INTERNATIONAL CTIA WIRELESS — Fox Mobile Group (FMG), announced the unveiling of Bitbop (www.bitbop.com) today at International CTIA Wireless 2010, a soon-to-be-available wireless subscription service that unlocks the smartphone's potential as a full-service entertainment portal. Bitbop's state-of-the-art platform allows people to view premium video content on their mobile device for the price of $US9.99 a month.
FMG chief marketing officer Chris Hoerenz said, "Bitbop is an on demand subscription-based service that delivers on the promise of making the smartphone an easy-to-use entertainment device for television programs and movies. We are able to give mobile audiences the wide range of content they want, when and where they want it, with all the customer friendly features they expect."
Added Joe Bilman, executive vice president global products, FMG, and chief architect of the Bitbop service, "I was in a meeting with a group of executives when I realised that most people carry their devices with them 100% of the time and had no idea what they could do with them. We created Bitbop to offer an eye opening experience to consumers who thought their smartphones were only for email and web access. The marriage of on demand content and mobility has the power to ignite a fire in the smartphone space."
Bitbop Service and Experience
Bitbop's mobile video subscription service is simple to use, allowing consumers to browse content from a searchable menu of high quality, full-length television programs for streaming or temporary download. Users can manage a personal queue of viewing choices from their 3G or Wi-Fi enabled smartphones. Bitbop's service will work on most advanced technology handsets with nearly every major telecommunication carrier.
FMG chief technology officer Markus Thorstvedt explained how Bitbop's platform will elevate the viewing experience. "Working across most carriers and a wide variety of devices, Bitbop's technology can move the data robustly over the pipeline, providing a picture that exceeds expectations. Whether downloading or streaming, it will bring viewers the content they want and the ability to access it anywhere."
Bitbop subscribers will choose from a selection of exciting programming from numerous top-notch content partners.
Bitbop is a new wireless subscription service delivering on demand mobile TV and movies directly to U.S. consumers' smartphones. The company's state-of-the-art platform puts the flexibility of a home-based media centre right in the user's pocket. Bitbop's service is accessible from any 3G or wireless network and features unlimited streaming or downloading of selected content from quality partners.