Short-form video in the spotlight

Will Robert Redford's star power finally get short-form mobile video the attention it deserves? I certainly think so. At Wednesday's Mobile Backstage event at the Mobile World Congress, Redford, founder of the Sundance Institute and Film Festival and the Sundance Channel, will sit down with the GSM Association's CMO Bill Gadja to discuss mobile's role in the short film industry.

Redford isn't the first from the movie industry to see mobile's potential as a distribution channel for independent filmmakers but his presence at Mobile Backstage adds much-needed clout to the mobile video segment. I hope his passionate commitment and support of independent films and filmmakers translates to the mobile world, where it is desperately needed. A few years ago there was a lot of momentum in this space. Then reality hit. While certain segments (teens and young adults) have become enamored with mobile video, there is still a lot of work needed to get mainstream consumers excited about this and perhaps more importantly, to get them to pay to receive mobile video content.

It's no secret that wireless carriers and content providers have yet to crack the code on video. There are still millions of consumers who have not watched a video on their handset and have no intention of doing so--at least not yet.

In the past, some of the special guests at Billboard's co-located entertainment conferences (such as those held at CTIA Wireless) have lacked any knowledge of wireless and the discussions have veered so far off topic that they became irrelevant (think Quincy Jones). I certainly don't anticipate that will happen Wednesday. Instead I think Redford will bring a much-needed boost to this area. I hope I'm not just getting sucked into his star power. -Sue