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Audiences, and Hollywood, Flock to Smartphones

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TV on smartphone

Minh Uong / The New York Times

It might be hard to imagine watching "The Office" on a screen no bigger than a business card. But tens of thousands of people--by the most conservative estimate--are already doing just that.

As Hollywood shrinks its films and television shows for the small screens of cellphones, its assumptions about mobile viewing are being upended by surprisingly patient consumers.

"We all thought they’d be watching video clips in the checkout line or between classes," said Vivi Zigler, the president for digital entertainment at NBC Universal, summing up the industry’s conventional wisdom. But owners of iPhones and other smartphones are actually watching long episodes and sometimes complete films, so a growing number of media companies are vying for people’s mobile attention spans.

Measured against TV ratings and box-office receipts, the mobile video audience is tiny today, but a range of companies, from Hollywood studios to local TV stations, all foresee an increasingly wireless world--and they don’t want to be cut out of the picture.

From The New York Times
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