Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hand Me My Phone, The News Is On...

If you haven't noticed, local broadcasters are moving more and more to the web. They're trying to embrace new technology and changing consumer habits. If they don't, they'll be left behind. Key to the metamorphosis is moving to cellphones. Local stations are already having viewers sign up for news updates and weather updates sent directly to their cellphones, but they're also quietly moving to the next phase, which should be available in a year or so. That's right, you should soon be able to watch KFVS 12 and NewsChannel 6, along with other stations, LIVE on your cellphone.

There's still a lot to be determined. An industry-wide standardized format has to decided. That's happening right now. Once it is, a small tuner will then be manufactured into the new phones. They also have to decide whether to charge for the service. Some industry analysts think there's a good chance the service will be free, because the local stations will add this feature to their local advertising packages. Several cellphone companies already have video services available, but they're not very popular. Those video services are usually short clips of recorded video, be it news, sports, etc. Consumers would rather see the LIVE broadcasts from their local stations and networks. I think it'll be a big hit, especially if it's a free service.

On the downside, it'll be just "one more thing" distracting drivers and causing auto accidents. Which brings us to the next logical question, when auto accidents are caused by folks watching "Wheel of Fortune" instead of the road, who gets sued?

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