Episodes of BBC cult classics Red Dwarf and Doctor Who are to be made available for fans to buy and view on their mobile phone. Select episodes of the two series will be offered on multi-media memory cards following a licensing deal between ROK Player and BBC Worldwide, the BBC’s commercial arm.
If the thought of staring at a tiny mobile screen for 90 minutes, possibly annoying your neighbours on the tube, isn't enough to put you off then the price might be: each of the the co-branded Digital Video Chips comes at an expensive £17 or probably slightly more than the price of an equivalent DVD. For the record, the initial BBC offering includes the classic Doctor Who special The Five Doctors and three episodes from Red Dwarf; Marooned (Series III), Quarantine (Series V), Cassandra (Series VIII). The multi-media chip will be available from Nokia stores and Choices Video, with direct sales and retail via ROK Player's web site.
It’s the first time BBC Worldwide has licensed full-length video content for use on mobile phones but ROK's existing portfolio includes music videos (e.g. Dr. Dre and Pink Floyd) and film content including Wallace and Gromit, The Shawshank Redemption and SpongeBob Square Pants.
ROK's technology allows mobile phones that are multi-media card compatible to be used as portable media player. Network coverage is not needed to view content. The ROK Player is carried along with audio-visual content on a multi-media memory card featuring ROK's patent-pending Digital Video Chip technology. ROK is trying to tap into a mobile content platform market it reckons will be worth £100m a year in the UK alone within three years.
Beam me up Scotty
A straw poll of our office revealed an appetite for downloading clips of goals in important football games or amusing video clips. While we might not want to watch anything longer than a minute ROK is far from alone in marketing products crossing the intersection between Science Fiction content and gee-whiz mobile technology.
Sona Mobile and Viacom plan to offer a "Star Trek communicator-themed mobile device" that will let users place calls, stream video clips and play Star Trek games online, among other things. The special-edition Star Trek Communicator Phone is due in US shops at the end of September. Pricing and exact features are yet to be announced but according to Sona the device will feature a multi-threading capability allowing users to run several applications concurrently.
Earlier this summer Carphone Warehouse released Spiderman 2 and Monty Python and the Holy Grail on 128MB memory cards each costing a whopping £24.99 (Pocklint review here). ®