Is There Room for Bitbop in a Net-lu World?

While mobile TV is popular outside the US it hasn't caught on in America.  Indeed, "round one" of subscription-based mobile TV was a failure (e.g., FloTV). Consumers proved resistant to paying monthly subscription fees for TV on the small screen.

So what makes Fox think that its new mobile TV service Bitbop, which costs $9.99 per month, will succeed? It's not clear. Right now the service is only available for BlackBerry devices. But that will change over time.

Soon Fox-backed Hulu will begin its premium service, also $9.99 per month. The company has also said that it wants to be device agnostic, which means it will be on handsets and tablets relatively soon. Then there's Neflix, one of the iPad's "killer apps" -- coming soon to the iPhone as well. 

Netflix and Hulu could easily come to dominate the paid online/mobile video market. But what consumers fundamentally want is "content in the cloud" -- the ability to access TV and movies from any device or screen. 

The combination of the two offerings (Netflix/Hulu), accessible across platforms, may crowd out other competitors and be ominous for cable companies.

Cable subscriptions are typically $50 or more per month. If users find they can pay $20 or less to access most of the same content it could spark an exodus from cable. However the cable industry is trying to prevent this by "locking" consumers into bundled subscriptions: ISP, telephone, TV.  

Despite this bundling cable could soon be confronting disruption from cloud-based video content providers.