Anyone familiar with me knows that I don’t carry around the most up-to-date cell phone. I like to use my phone for phone calls, and am content to save other apps for other gadgets. Until very recently I clung to a Motorola E815. That phone took a beating, but it always worked, and I liked the feel of it in my hand. Then a couple weeks ago I upgraded to a first-gen Motorola RAZR. The adjustment has been easy because the interface is similar to the E815, and the RAZR has already survived several drops to the pavement. So far, so good.
A few days ago on my RAZR I received my first Verizon V CAST spam messages. The first one warned me to “stay tuned” to my phone for a “hot new opportunity from Verizon Wireless.” The second one downloaded a video for me about ESPN MVP on V CAST. Kind of irritating, but kind of cool. After all, I’ve never watched video on my own phone.
The little promo clip had a talking head and some screenshots showing how to set up my Fantasy Football league using V CAST. The video quality was crappy to say the least, but I found myself still entranced my moving pictures on my cell phone. If I was utterly bored and standing in line somewhere, I can see myself watching more video clips on my RAZR. Why not?
But here’s the kicker. Would I pay for video on my phone today? Hardly. First, there are a million video screens in my life. I don’t need to pay for one more. Second, my phone is not today’s most powerful hardware (and I’m fine with that), so why would I use it, and its tiny screen, for resource-hogging video when I have so many other options? Third, I can justify shelling out money once for a gadget, but I hate adding to my regular monthly bills, particularly when there’s the possibility I could end up exceeding a flat-fee service rate by going over a bandwidth cap.
So here’s a message to Verizon. Want to get me hooked on mobile video? You’re going to have to send me a lot more free video, and it’s going to have to be stuff I really want to see. Fantasy Football leagues? Meh. Send me clips from the Olympics in a week and a half. Send me clips of the Redskins when football season actually starts. Send me trailers from some of the best new TV shows scheduled for the fall. Send it all to me for free. Get me in the habit of watching video regularly on my phone, and maybe I’ll decide it’s worth paying for some content in the future. I don’t need mobile video, so you’ll have to convince me I want it badly enough to add on the monthly fee. Otherwise, my cell phone is just going to act as a cell phone for years to come.