With over 100 million mobile phone users in Japan, no wonder YouTube have decided to expand in this market.
Announced in 2006 for America and in January of this year for the rest of the world, YouTube have partnered with Verizon Wireless to enable mobile access to their website.
The Japanese mobile YouTube (http://m.jp.youtube.com) has gone largely unnoticed, with very little media coverage from Japanese national news organizations.
Any coverage found is only in the IT media news sites or blogs.
Strange, considering the amount of coverage the PC version receives. Is mobile video still too far ahead in the future to really make an impact now?
Not in Japan, where sites such as Mobage and Mixi have already made use of Japanese mobile Internet capabilities by making sites and applications devoted exclusively to the cell-phone version. And of course, download sites have been readily available for quite a while, where music videos of relatively good quality are available for free.
But the YouTube site, compared to thes others, offers much better video quality and clips are unlimited in length, unlike on Mobage. The search functions are also easy to navigate, in contrast to the “underground” free download sites, and more like the PC version, have user ratings so you don’t have to spend ages sifting through the copy-cat videos to find the one you were looking for.
In theory, YouTube mobile should become very successful in Japan, especially considering that YouTube video-clips can become hot topics of debate, sometimes even making the news, as was in the case of Saddam Husseins’ last hours or Benazir Bhutto’s assasination , and also considering the popularity of using mobile Internet.
Perhaps news sites are worried that this could end up being competition for them. And perhaps they should be…
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