NFL’s Miami Dolphins launch daily mobile video updates to engage fans
By Dan Butcher
November 9, 2010
Three cheers for cloud-based mobile video
The National Football League’s Miami Dolphins are delivering a free daily mobile video experience to engage the team's community of “Finatics.”
The team has partnered with Thwapr Inc. to mobilize and monetize its branded video content. This free daily video service does not require an application download and is available to more than 300 compatible mobile phones with data plans and video capability, including devices from Apple, HTC, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Dell, RIM, Samsung, Sony and Sanyo.
“In the world of sports and entertainment, there are the networks and the leagues, then there are individual teams like the Dolphins that are very forward-thinking about what they want to see in mobile,” said Bruce Goldstein, founder/CEO of Thwapr, New York. “Many want to drive everything with an app, but then you can’t share videos with friends with different devices, and you don’t know if they have an app.
“Our approach is not to require an app to view mobile video,” he said. “It’s not the lowest common denominator—it’s the highest common denominator that we can send to each user’s device.
“Whatever the scheduled content, whether it is cheerleader of the week, the coach’s press conference or a postgame speech to the team, we’re helping the Dolphins offer mobile content on demand, and people don’t have to worry about whether or not they have the right device.”
The Miami Dolphins score with mobile initiatives
Founded in 2007, Thwapr is a cloud-based mobile video sharing service founded by digital video specialists from Apple, Avid and MTV.
In addition to the Miami Dolphins, Thwapr’s clients include the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes, the Vans Warped Tour, the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and the Lordz of Brooklyn.
Dolphins mobile video
Thwapr’s service combines text messaging, mobile Web delivery and mobile video in an integrated and branded user experience.
The partnership provides mobile video programming for NFL fans.
Each day a new Dolphins video is sent to fans’ mobile phones with same themed videos provided every week of the season: Monday - Coach Sparano’s press conference; Tuesday - cheerleader video; Wednesday - offensive player interview; Thursday - defensive player interview; Friday - game preview; Saturday – community service or game preview; Sunday – locker room post-game interviews.
Finatics can experience the mobile videos by texting the keyword DOLPHINS to the short code 757575 (in Canada the short code is 77777) or by going to http://www.dolphins.com/mobilevideo.
Activating a free Thwapr account lets fans store and share all of the Dolphins mobile videos so they can view them again and share them on Facebook and Twitter.
When fans subscribe to the service, they receive a confirmation of their subscription and a welcome video with a call to action to raise money for cancer research by participating in a cycling challenge.
Fan engagement tool
The Dolphins are promoting the service on their Web site homepage, Facebook page, Twitter, email newsletter and blogs.
The Miami Dolphins have 385,000 Facebook fans, 36,000 Twitter followers and 225,000 subscribers to the team’s Finsiders Newsletter.
Thwapr and the Dolphins will also be launching new service features throughout the season.
Another key aspect of the collaboration is Thwapr’s ability to support high-definition source (1280 x 720 resolution) for uploaded video.
Thwapr uses new hybrid transcoding and adaptive rendering technology to enable HD video to be viewed across a variety of mobile devices in a scalable manner without an application download—starting from a small flip phone like a Motorola Razr all the way up to the latest Apple iPad tablet in full high-definition.
Thwapr has also launched the use of adaptive streaming with the Dolphins to enable a video experience that scales based on network bandwidth for Apple’s iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
The Dolphins have also expressed interest in adding promotional videos to drive sales of tickets and merchandise, but no such additions to the platform have been announced.
“MMS is based on a lowest-common denominator experience, but in the age of smartphones and the iPad and 4G, the challenge for brands is having the best possible video experience,” said Eric Hoffert, chief technology officer of Thwapr.
“We take the opposite approach—we pick the best possible video for each user’s handset using device detection, hybrid transcoding and adaptive rendering,” he said.
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Marketer
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