Univision Vcast video World Cup highlights deliver

By Ken Kerschbaumer
Sports industry media professionals interested in seeing just how good cellphone video can be might want to check out Verizon s Vcast service and Univision s cellvideo coverage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup from Germany.

The Spanish-language network announced the deal with Verizon last week and it delivers free video highlights of goals within two minutes of occurring and in-depth three-to-four minute wrap-up clips that show all of the goals, shots-on-goals, and other big plays.

The production values and story-telling makes it possible to follow the bouncing ball even if one doesn’t speak Spanish. And it’s also a perfect example of how to use repetition and closeups to bring the viewer closer and closer into the action so they feel like they’re watching it on TV.

This is huge for three reasons, Javier Saralegui, president of Univision online, told SVG. First, mobile phones have three revenue streams: data you can sell like ringtones or video extras. Then you can sell exclusive rights to a carrier, like we did. And third, advertising.

Saralegui says it also delivers content to the hottest market for advertisers: the younger demo. Plus it has critical mass from day one because we don t have to build wireless penetration to 70%, he says. And this service is one way we can help carriers cycle through users to video-enabled phones which are compelling. There is no better place for a sneak-peak of video than on a phone.

While the video highlight service is fairly straightforward for the 2006 World Cup by the time the 2010 World Cup arrives expect some of Saralegui s vision of features to become reality. When you look at things like extra scenes or charging $2.95 for a vertical service for a specific team or country the options become endless, he says. Down the road we think there will be a big play for data services once users look at the phone as a media device.

A challenge for all content providers is figuring out how to have a presence on all cellphone carriers while also nailing down an exclusive deal. But Saralegui says it s a challenge worth overcoming. We ll have a base package for all carriers that will whet every consumer s appetite and then an exclusive deal with more content, he says. TV networks kill for exclusive rights and we think the same will happen for the cellphone market.

Advertisers are also becoming comfortable with the medium. They have impression guarantees and they re also following the audience s needs because the second most popular medium in the home is the Web, he says. What advertisers still don t realize is how the ads relate to sales. But at the least it s an incredibly powerful complement to the core TV buy.

And don t expect Univision to stop with football highlights. We can be very agnostic when it comes to the length of time of the clip, he says. And in the end the consumer s in control.

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