Third-screen, mobile video, gaining speed as TV Everywhere grinds forward

Jim O'Neil

Three-screen delivery is a popular buzz phrase in the online video industry, and a must-have ability for TV Everywhere. With the connected television market catching fire and the acceleration of over-the-top delivery being simplified for the consumer with devices like Roku and software like Boxee and with Google TV and other broad-appeal products on the market, it's no surprise that the third screen, mobile, is beginning to heat up as well.

According to a recent Yankee Group survey, nearly a quarter of smartphone users watch video on their phone at least once per day. As Yankee says, Mobile video is in high demand, and consumers are willing to pay for it.

Online video delivery specialist Brightcove this week rolled out a software development kit for Android phones (see related story) promising publishers a head start for online video delivery options to that popular mobile device. Kyte, too, rolled out an SDK for Android in May, and other platforms say they'll be rolling out Android tools in coming quarters. Obviously, just about everyone has tools for getting video to the iPhone and the increasingly appealing iPad (3 million units and counting).

Jeff Whatcott, Brightcove's SVP of marketing, told me that mobile video would be the company's single biggest investment in 2010, but warned that the space is harder than ever to navigate because of the ongoing platform wars between Apple and, well, anyone to an extent, that's causing increasing fragmentation.

But, in that fragmentation, there's also opportunity for companies that have to get video ready to go out to mobile devices.

The Open Mobile Video Coalition reported this week that a Washington, D.C. trial that pushes 23 Mobile Digital TV channels from nine D.C.-area broadcasters out to a group of alpha testers with specially equipped Mobile DTV receivers has been hugely popular, scoring a 7.1 on a 10-point popularity scale. Nearly two-thirds of viewers (63 percent) say they watch shows "on the go," with 44 percent saying they watch it at work or school (oops, there goes the productivity again) and a third saying they watch at home. About half say they watch one or two times a day, and 30 percent say they watch more often.

In addition to stations in New York and Washington, TV broadcasters are now transmitting Mobile DTV signals in Detroit, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Raleigh, Atlanta, Orlando, Chicago, Austin, Columbus (Ohio), Omaha, Los Angeles, San Jose, Fresno, and other cities.

So, how much opportunity is your company seeing as TV Everywhere, and especially mobile video, begins to gain speed? Are you ready for it? Getting ready for it? Or, are you already there, in the thick of it? Lemmeno! -Jim