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Magnify Aims the iPhone's Video Camera at Business Users
Could an iPhone be your company's next video camera? Magnify Mobile might just make it so.
Thurs., Sept. 24, by Troy Dreier

Magnify.net, which has already won large clients such as the Weather Channel and New York magazine for its simple video channel creation tools, is now expanding into the mobile world. Naturally, its starting with an iPhone app, Magnify Mobile.

Magnify.net's options let clients choose from three tiers of service: a free account (limited to 20 50MB uploads per week), a pro account (which adds advertising and watermarking options), and an enterprise account. The service lets clients easily add video to their sites and also present relevant videos from other sources on the web.

The Magnify Mobile app, which is free and only works on 3GS iPhones, expands on that by allowing people to shoot video and send it to their sites in one step. The app includes simple start and end point editing, and even lets users upload to any Magnify site. That means you could solicit videos from your readers, then view them through the Magnify client as they come in. Controls let you publish the ones you want and delete the rest.

Video for the free and pro levels streams at 400Kbps (that's a 336Kbps H.264 MP4 video with 64Kbps AAC audio). Enterprise clients get both that standard stream and a 908Kbps stream (consisting of 780Kbps H.264 MP4 video and 128Kbps AAC audio).

Magnify Mobile
Adding Video to Business
While Magnify's free option will no doubt attract many who are simply curious, Steve Rosenbaum, the company's CEO, says medium and large businesses are the target audience.

"What we really want is to help businesses make money with video," Rosenbaum says. "If we can add value and add stickiness and help you make money, then you're not going to have any trouble paying us every month."

There are already plenty of companies doing well in the consumer sharing space, he says, but there's a need to fill in easy professional video. The typical client might be a real estate agent videoing a new property, and then instantly putting it online for clients to view.

Talk to business owners about video and you see them wince, Rosenbaum says. They instantly think that it's too expensive or complicated. But when you tell them that it's neither, he adds, they lean in to hear more.

An Army of Cameras
As companies get more media-enabled, Magnify and its iPhone solution are well-positioned to capture a fast-paced and connected readership.

"I think that this type of app is likely to appeal to many media organizations (such as CNN and ESPN) to allow reporters to easily upload video on the go from their handset to the media room," says Julien Blin, principal analyst and CEO of JBB Research. "Citizen journalism has been growing in popularity over the past few years, so they should benefit from this trend."

The surprising development, however, is that the camera-enabled mobile phone, which has already supplanted the camcorder for many people, seems poised to do the same for business.

"This type of mobile app has a couple of advantages," notes Blin. "One, it is the first 'free' mobile video publishing app. Two, it will be able to leverage the growing appetite for video-based mobile user-generated content apps and mobile social networking apps."

If businesses can get their clients to download Magnify Mobile and enjoy sending in their own videos, they'll have constant streams of video at little extra cost.