As an investor, I try to limit the number of my unshakable convictions. My performance benefits, I find, from a constant reexamination of my feelings about changes in technology, the economy, etc. But one area about which I do feel strongly is my belief that the world of media is about to become far more interesting than most of us ever imagined.
On Tuesday, we likely witnessed a leap in that direction, when YouTube and Verizon's
The mobile YouTube service, which will be launched on an as-yet-unannounced date in December, will be offered without additional charge to subscribers to Verizon's premium V Cast service. Those subscribers currently pay $15 per month for the service. Users of the new feature will be able to upload a video to the YouTube website by accessing the same function -- multimedia messaging service, or MMS -- that they now employ for picture sharing. As with the rest of V Cast, the mobile service will be free of advertising.
My first thought about this partnership is that it should be positive for Verizon. Potential subscribers, who may have been on the fence about paying extra for V Cast's current music, streaming video, and 3-D games triumvirate, could be won over by the opportunity to upload their own videos directly from their phones. They also will be able to download videos to their phones, thereby vastly increasing the portability of both processes.
From the perspective of YouTube -- and Rick dealt effectively with this point -- I believe that, given the assets of its new parent and the litigious world in which we live, screening content now is significantly more important for YouTube than it heretofore has been. As an independent company, part of YouTube's success was tied to its relatively unrestrictive screening policy.
Finally, the announcement causes me to strengthen somewhat my belief about the possibility of Comcast
When I close my eyes and attempt to imagine the world of commerce in, say, three years, I see logic in the notion of intensified Comcast-Verizon competition. But to compete head-on with Verizon, once the latter's video product becomes more pervasive, I believe that Comcast will need a wireless product.
And so the world of media becomes richer, more robust, and more fun. Stay tuned for the next episode.
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