Celebrity Big Brother has made it onto mobile phones this year. Customers with the 3 network can watch 2 minute video clips of the latest celebrity tears and tantrums for 50p a clip. With several other TV programmes set for your handset, Gizmo Girl decided to try out mobile Big B.
Big Brother on E4, 24/7, can be like watching paint dry so the idea of catching the best bits as video clips on your mobile is a great idea. 3 has been posting five clips a day at 7.00, 10.00, 13.00, 15.00 and 17.00 hours. Clips take less than a minute to download or can be streamed instantly, although streamed clips are not saved to your handset, so can't be watched again. DRM prevents transfer of the clips but there are no limits on how many times you watch a video once saved.
3's technology works and could go further by allowing you to dial in live to a specific camera, as already happens for fans of Big Brother in Sweden. More difficult than the technology, has been choosing video content. In comparison to video news clips, or football for example, it is more difficult to agree highlights in advance. There is no equivalent to scoring goals. 3's deal with Big Brother's production company Endemol, leaves the producers to select content. This is a bit like the editor of the Guardian deciding Endemol has editorial control over media content in his newspaper. There is no revenue sharing deal between the companies: 3 has paid Endemol a fixed fee so is taking the risk on whether subscribers will pay to view. Customers on 3's Video Value add on package have free access to all the clips.
Having tuned in so far, it seems that 3 has ended up with some clips that have rated as must see, such as Germaine Greer's decision to leave the Big Brother house. But some clips have been pretty boring and some have been impossible to follow as stand alone clips. One clip featured housemates wearing a brain-like hat, which we did not understand. Maybe Endemol was hoping clips would tease 3's customers to tune into to Channel 4? It did not really work for us.
With soaps and drama series lining up to make it onto your mobile phone, watching the winners and losers should be a good soap to watch this year.