A recent study by Juniper Research predicted mobile entertainment, defined as video, music, and other content delivered to cell phones, could be a $47.5 billion global business in the next few years.
While much of that growth - and subsequent media interest - is taking place in Europe and Asia, US entertainment trade titles, such as The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard, are taking notice and dedicating reporters or bloggers to a mobile entertainment beat, says Christine Bock, CEO of Bock Communications, a wireless specialty firm.
"There are also reporters like Leslie Cauley of USA Today closely following the space, who regularly call us to find out what's going on," she adds.
However, mobile entertainment is considered more a technology than entertainment category, which means reporters ask the hard questions about business models and service carrier contracts before they discuss the actual content, says Tracy Ford, associate publisher and editor of the leading trade outlet RCR Wireless News.
"There are tons of startups, and they're all pitching us," she says. "Just because they're new does not mean they're worthy of coverage."
Ford notes that even issues like the amount of power required to watch video on a phone are impacting what new companies her publication covers.
"The screens are certainly getting better," she adds. "But the good companies are the ones that can talk about the entire ecosystem that needs to be in place before their entertainment application can reach its full potential."
Antony Bruno, digital editor at Billboard, agrees, adding that there is little reason for traditional, entertainment-style reviews of mobile content.
"Most of what's appearing on cell phones is smaller, repurposed versions of content that... appeared on other platforms," he says.
There are companies releasing "mobisodes" and other original entertainment for cell phones, but there's not enough of it for media outlets to justify a dedicated mobile entertainment content reviewer.
Yet, because mobile entertainment is rapidly becoming a pop culture phenomenon, many outlets are covering mobile content in broad, non-traditional ways, says Vijay Chattha, chief talker at VSC Consulting.
"We're recommending that our mobile entertainment clients really think broad when it comes to consumer media," he says, citing a client who had a cell-phone based fighting game featuring the major presidential candidates. "We ended up having a lot of success pitching political reporters... looking for fresh angles for election coverage."
- Market research on mobile entertainment's huge potential growth among the youth demographic is a reason reporters should be covering the space more closely
- Mobile entertainment is now a technology story, so make sure your pitches focus on business and delivery models, as well as the entertainment content
- Reporters may be aware of the buzz, but some haven't seen mobile entertainment themselves, so look for opportunities to demo your client's products as often as you can