Sesame Street Goes Wireless: VCAST a Wireless Babysitter?
Research firm believes that children's programming over wireless handsets is a rapidly evolving area that deserves greater industry attention.
BY JOHANNE TORRES
TMCnet VoIP Minute Watch Columnist
When does new technology adoption turn from an aid to everyday problems into a bizarre necessity? Wouldn’t acting as a babysitter be too much to ask from a wireless gadget? A new study titled Bert and Ernie Go Wireless: The Emergence of the Cell Phone as a Wireless Babysitter from research firm IDC may have an answer to these questions. The firm examined the transition video cell phone use has taken from entertaining adults with sports clips, newscasts, entertainment updates, and 'mobisode' episodes of popular television series to now serving as a way to entertain and sort of watch over our kids.
The research firm believes that children's programming over wireless handsets is a rapidly evolving area that deserves fuller industry attention. According to the study, in 2005, wireless video has turned into one of the top industry-wide areas of focus. IDC sees 'Electronic babysitting' as a potentially strong value proposition for wireless video offerings to parents of very young children.
You might remember earlier this year that Verizon Wireless launched its VCAST video as an add-on to its standard offerings of CNN, ESPN, Weather.com along with Sesame Street’s one to three-minute video clips. The study sees the move to showcase children's video programming to an adult subscriber base using high-end 3G handsets as a gamble. IDC says it is an experiment that appears to be proving an early success.
The study revealed that Verizon Wireless has reported anecdotally that usage of Sesame Street has been higher than initially expected. "I have offered my own VCAST phone and service to parents of young children at airports and on airplanes, with a near 100 percent success rate at tears and tantrum avoidance," says Scott Ellison, program director, Wireless and Mobile Communications at IDC. He noted that in each instance, not only the child was immediately absorbed in the VCAST video clips, but more striking was the positive reaction of the parents.
IDC explained that the rapid evolution of wireless content capabilities, especially video, is creating entirely new markets for the content and wireless industries. Additionally, developing wireless content and applications aimed at young children and their parents is a natural progression of the evolution of wireless, the firm believes. The study revealed that product development that addresses real parent needs is another step in the development of a wireless retail market that is already well underway. It also has the potential to drive additional content and usage revenue streams.
Verizon’s offering seems very interesting as it morphs into a service which could obtain high demand. I can’t imagine, however, what the adoption of this technology will bring to the family circle. Would it make our now shrunken human interaction a thing of the past? We shall see how technology like this will either help or damage such bonding.
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