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Mobile entertainment biz on the fritz

Cell phone content needs new strategy

One of the biggest obstacles to the growth of mobile video in the U.S. is general confusion among consumers about what is available, execs said during a panel at Variety’s Future of Film confab in Santa Monica.

Panelists included Jonathan Barzilay, senior veep of programming and advertisng at Flo TV, Frank Chindamo, president and chief creative officer at Fun Little Movies, Saffron Digital CEO Shashi Fernanda and Daniel Tibbets, exec VP and studio chief at GoTV Networks. They agreed that the mobile entertainment biz needs to do a better job of communicating what applications are available. At present, marketing is done by the individual mobile carriers, which muddles the picture for the general consumer.

The rallying cry was “We need Ryan Seacrest back” to promote mobile texting and other options on “American Idol.” Awareness of cutting edge vid options on cell phones and mobile devices “is fragmented by all of the different messages coming from all of the different carriers,” said Tibbets.

Barzilay agreed. To bring the U.S. market up to speed with Europe and other territories, “it’s really about awareness,” he said. “People who are exposed to this way of touching content really do embrace it.”

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