Mobile Phone TV and Media-Specific Traits

I mentioned earlier that Channel 4 was commissioning mobile content. Well, Channel 4 has launched their Mobile TV channel, and it is the same ol stuff, but ON YOUR PHONE! You can view the mobile site online: which is showing clips from Lost. Vodaphone 3G customers can view the clips for free until Jan 06. Other news is that:

Sky and Vodafone launched a mobile television service called Sky Mobile TV with 19 channels earlier this week.

All Vodafone 3G customers will be able to watch up to 19 channels, including 24-hour news, sport, entertainment and documentaries from channels including Sky News, Sky One, Sky Sports, Discovery and Living TV.

Repurposing again, which is good. But gee, where are the shows that are made for mobisode delivery? This same argument has been going on in academia regarding interactive storytelling: if you can print out the pages of a website and read the story just like print, then it isn’t a hypertextual/cybertextual work. Pure/real interactive works only make sense in their mode of delivery, they are media-specific. I’m not all for that theory, but I understand the principle. What are the defining characteristics of stories on mobiles then? What is a story, game or artwork that only works on a mobile like? What is it about a mobile phone that is unique? Mobile phones are portable; you can have conversations with people; can receive and send SMS, MMS, tones, images; can have GPS; surf web; can download java, games, etc. So, how can you use these attributes to create unique storytelling?:

1) can receive story updates anywhere (not limited to computer, TV etc);
2) can receive story updates in SMS, phone, MMS form;
3) can forward story components to friends on the same device;
4) can converse with characters and other players (represented by humans or bots), textually, aurally & visually;
5) can have GPS (location) triggered events;
6) can contribute to a story with captured images, video, text and audio;
7) can play games as part of story and vice versa;
8) can be directed to websites for clues & downloads etc;
9) can download storyworld elements for the phone (eg: wallpaper, ring-tone etc.).

Most of these break the fourth wall, of the storyworld. This means that the stories or games need to be realistic, or an ‘alternate reality’. Which then means that the interactions need to be plausible and urgent. Given the activity a mobile phone can be utilised for, shows currently being delivered on mobile phones seem like corpses.

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