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O2 launches mobile video service
Posted: 07-Oct-2003 [Source: mmO2]

[O2 launches video service in the UK enabling customers to download or stream video content over its existing mobile data network.]

The service is free until 31 January 2004; and for the next two months, customers can access exclusive Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2003 video clips, thanks to O2's 'official mobile licensee' status1. The mobile video service will be rolled-out across Germany and Ireland during the course of next year2.

O2's mobile video service is the first of its kind in the UK. In addition to exclusive RWC 2003 clips, the service offers a range of other content, including news, comedy, music, fashion and sport, to appeal to a broad audience. ITN, CNBC Europe, Classic Comedy, Bake, Fashion TV, GMTV, Extreme Sports Channel and Extreme International are just some of the leading content providers working with O2.

Exclusive RWC 2003 content comprises half and full-time highlights from Australia, special interviews with coaches and players and a choice of nearly 100 classic RWC 2003 moments such as 'top tries'. The RWC 2003 video clips vary in length - averaging 10 seconds for a 'top try' to 45 seconds for highlights and interviews.

O2's mobile video service can be accessed via O2 Active3, making it intuitive and easy-to-use. A customer simply visits O2 Active, clicks 'What's New' and selects 'Video'. They then select from the list of genres, and a directory of available clips. Customers can choose to either 'stream' the clip (i.e. they watch it once and it will not be stored to the handset) or 'download' it (i.e. it downloads to the handset for future viewing). If streaming, the customer will start to watch the clip in around 10 seconds; downloading takes around 90 seconds depending on the length of the clip. For content other than RWC 2003, video clips are an average of 30-90 seconds in length.

At launch, the service is supported by the Nokia 3650 and the Sony Ericsson P800. From November, this will increase to include the new Xda II, Nokia 6600, Siemens SX1, Motorola V600 and Sony Ericsson P900.

The launch of O2's commercial mobile video service follows a successful customer trial earlier this year.4 In the trial, breaking news was the most popular genre, followed by sports and music videos. The trial service met or exceeded expectations for 78% of the trialist group, they used the service on an average 3.5 times a week, and 94% of respondents had demonstrated it to friends and family. Trialists were particularly impressed with how easy the service was to use.

Kent Thexton, chief marketing and data officer, mmO2, commented: "Mobile video is a natural extension to our mobile entertainment services such as games and music. We aim to provide a range of compelling content for our target audience - the exclusive RWC content being a case in point. We focus on making it really easy for customers to access our services, and therefore are making this possible over existing networks and with existing handsets. The mobile video trial provided us with strong customer insight, and many of the suggestions raised have been incorporated into this commercial launch."

O2 also offers customers the ability to create and send their own Video Media Messages. Currently available on the Nokia 3650, and more handsets from November, a customer can record up to 10 seconds of personal video clip and send it to another video capable phone or email address using O2's existing Media Messaging service. As an introductory offer, this costs as little as 16p with an O2 post pay bolt on package.

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