Now that the iPod has become the gadget equivalent of the cool kid in school, everyone wants the job of bringing you content wherever you are. The froth is so rich that Barron's even speculated about ApplebuyingDisney (NYSE: DIS ) . Now you can add News Corp. (NYSE: NWS ) CEO Rupert Murdoch to the wannabe content kingpins.
Yesterday, his company announced that it will offer all of its mobile content via an online store called Mobizzo. The service will comprise everything from games to ringtones to video, launching initially in the U.S. before expanding abroad.
How cliche, unoriginal, and, well, brilliant.
I'm serious. Who cares if CBS (NYSE: CBS ) and MTV also plan to be in the game? Fox already made strides with last year's mobile video series 24: Conspiracy, and to the extent that Mobizzo sufficiently distances itself from Fox (which might prove difficult), it could strike deals with other content providers.
What's more, the mobile device market has caught fire. According to The Guardian, analysts say the number of mobile phones will double to 4 billion by the end of the decade. If the work being done by Motorola (NYSE: MOT ) and others is any indication, the newer models, even at the lower end, will be rich in multimedia capabilities.
For investors, that means it's time to start thinking about how the flood of mobile content will create both threats and opportunities. Three possibilities strike me:
- A glut of devices: More mobile content should create demand for more platforms on which to play it. That could threaten the iPod, but I think it much more likely to threaten smartphones from Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) and Palm (Nasdaq: PALM ) .
- A better way to pay: It's almost possible to buy anything, anywhere, using the Web today. But you can't yet swipe your credit card into a phone or an iPod. That may bode well for eBay's (Nasdaq: EBAY ) PayPal.
- More tailored pitches: The more content we choose, the more we define ourselves to advertisers. Hello, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) .
Expect Murdoch to have dozens of people working on how to make money in each of these scenarios, not to mention more that I haven't thought of. Perhaps you can help. Send me a note with your own take on the impact of mobile content. I'll publish the most interesting ideas a week from today.
Extra! Extra! Get your related Foolishness here:
- Rupert's hot, but his company is lukewarm.
- Will the new Fox business channel go mobile?
- There's nowhere News Corp. won't go. It's even in MySpace!
Fool contributorTim Beyershasn't yet downloaded a video. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what is in his portfolio by checking Tim's Foolprofile.The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.