Seeing as how Hulu is taking forever to bring its catalog of streaming video to mobile devices (either in its current ad-supported format or in some future subscription model), the door is still open for competitors to come in and claim that space. Bitbop, an app from Fox Mobile, looks like it could take advantage.
Bitbop, though it’s origins lie in Fox Mobile, has the support of heavyweights like NBC Universal, The Food Network, CBS, MTV, A&E, TLC, and USA (no word on BBQ or WTF). The app itself will be free, but there’s definitely a paywall involved–it’s just not clear quite yet how it’ll work. It’s possible that certain content will be free (likely ad-supported) and the full catalog will be only accessible with a $10 per month subscription. But it’s also possible, given the wording of MocoNews’s report, that you’ll need that subscription to access any and all content.
Oddly, the platform is being rolled out in stages–first up is BlackBerry, or at least a few BlackBerry handsets (Bold 9000 and 9700, Curve 8900, and Tour 9630). BlackBerry might be the biggest smartphone platform in the country, but it’s certainly not what comes to mind when you think mobile entertainment. Regardless, Fox says iPhone and Android apps will be coming soon.
As the first major content-provider-approved mobile streaming video app, Bitbop is essentially setting the pace. If it’s a success, Hulu may be forced to use a similar subscription model when it eventually comes to mobile. Soon enough, we might be seeing a real war here, with Bitbop, Hulu, and Netflix–my bus rides are about to get much less boring.