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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

YouTube's Effort To Get Mobile

Stocks: (VZ)(NWS)(CMCSA)

Verizon and Google unit YouTube are in talks about putting video content onto cell phones. The service would be part of Verizon's premium V-Cast service.

Verizon would also offer YouTube content for it on-demand IPTV service that is being built-out as part of the telecom's $18 billion fiber-to-the-home initiative. It is a bet the company move if there ever was one.

Since Samsung has just announced that global handset sales will rise only 10% in 2007, anything to sell mobile phones or service plans is going to be welcome.

The Verizon initiative has several problems. The first is that YouTube is in talks with Comcast about a similar TV video on demand service. The Verizon IPTV product may, therefore, have no competitor edge.

The other major issue is that YouTube content is free now. And, that may be its great strength since very little of the content is mainstream, and the content that is may be subject to copyright actions.

Verizon's V-Cast servicce actually costs money, a monthly subscription fee. Whether mobile users will pay to see people in their underwear lip-syncing songs is an open question. And, the answer may be "no".

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

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