Will Carriers Endorse BitBop?
12:10 PM -- Fox Mobile is taking a stab at mobile TV with the recent launch of Bitbop, an on-demand streaming TV service. It’s already being pegged as the “Hulu LLC for mobile phones,” something consumers may embrace, but the carriers are a different story.
The app is being introduced in beta to BlackBerry phones first, with Android and iPhone versions planned. The app itself is free, but accessing the entire catalogue of content will cost users $9.99 per month. According to its Website, content will include yet-to-be-announced movies and shows from 25 stations, including Fox, NBC, CBS, A&E, Bravo, Lifetime, and others.
The service will require a credit card at launch, but Fox is hoping it can entice the carriers to agree to provide the billing. This will be easier said than done, considering that most already have a relationship in place with Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)’s FLO TV, the subscription service AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless offer; or MobiTV Inc. , Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)’s partner. (See App Focus: MobiTV’s iPhone Streaming Success and Sprint Touts Cheap Mobile TV on WiMax & 3G .)
Further, GigaOm makes the valid point that carriers, especially AT&T, may not want to endorse another mobile video service, given past struggles to handle that form of data-intense traffic. BitBop will work over both 3G and WiFi.
All this hinges on whether consumers do, in fact, embrace it first. It has yet to be proven in the US that consumers even want to pay $10 per month for TV they can access at home. (See Mobile TV Meandered at The Cable Show .)
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile