Only a decade ago, mobile entertainment was limited to a booming car stereo. These days, it includes everything from iPods and portable game machines to cell phones that can play video clips.
This sudden rush to make all kinds of entertainment available for consumers on the go has put the market ahead of the media - at least for now.
"We still have a long way to go in terms of seeing mobile entertainment as a stand-alone beat for somebody who writes for the mainstream consumer and business press," explains Chris Clark, principal with Alta Public Relations, which represents Glu Mobile. "In terms of the mainstream media, we're still talking to technology reporters who cover wireless, who cover games, who cover digital media."
Jonalyn Morris, manager of Bender/Helper Impact's wireless entertainment division, adds, "You're starting to see publications willing to add a small section dedicated to mobile entertainment, but the landscape is still primed for someone to launch a dedicated outlet."
Morris, whose clients include THQ Wireless, says she currently works with reporters to educate consumers about how to download the latest mobile games and information on pricing models. But given that a lot of new mobile content is based on familiar TV, game, and movie brands, she says you can pitch these stories to a variety of entertainment writers.
"You're seeing more coverage as publishers time their releases to related entertainment and sporting events," she adds.
In addition to iPods, PSPs, and portable DVD players, there are hundreds of different cell phones - and mobile entertainment often has to be tailored for each one, which can create headaches when sending out products for review.
"A lot of times we'll send a handset with the game already on it so there are no compatibility issues," notes Morris.
Hugo Reyes, president of WGWorld.com, one of the first sites dedicated to cell-phone gaming, says he'd like to add coverage of other mobile entertainment, such as music and down- loadable episodic programming. But he adds that some of the content is accessible only with the most advanced handsets, which means it may be too early for mass market coverage.
Reyes is quick to remind PR pros that they should never forget this is a mainstream audience.
"You don't want to bludgeon them with information that isn't important to them, such as how many pixels there are," he stresses. "Most of our readers only want to know whether or not it's fun."