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Surfline CEO on new HD video feature for iPhones

By Tiffany Montgomery
March 09, 2010 6:39 AM

Surfline is continuing to offer interesting services for mobile phone users.

Premium members can now watch the waves in high definition on their iPhones and iTouches at 84 of the best surfing locations in the world.

I asked Surfline CEO Jonno Wells about this new mobile feature, which the company announced today.

What was involved in creating this application?

To clarify a little bit, the release of the cams is on the mobile.surfline.com site for anyone accessing with an iPhone mobile browser. What we released is streaming technology that doesn’t require an “app,” although the same technology will be used to power our cams in future apps.

The cams will available soon on other mobile devices, like Android and Blackberry.

Was it expensive to produce?

Jonno wellsThe short answer is yes, and it took about a year, so far. Our team had to upgrade over 80 individual camera locations around the world to simultaneously support HD Cams on Surfline.com and mobile.surfline.com.

Another challenge is that there are a wide variety of different standards each manufacturer requires to support video on their particular mobile device. We’re still working on supporting the other major devices besides the iPhone.

Lastly, the ongoing costs to stream larger video files to customers is higher for us, and we added even more cost by streaming video to mobile phones. The quality difference is dramatic though, so we think it is a good investment.

(Right: Surfline CEO Jonno Wells.)

Do you think the application will help drive premium subscribers?

Yes. We’ve already had sign ups from new users during the soft launch. Also, we are delivering more value to our existing Premium Members, which is very important to us. Premium Members that have seen the new cams on their iPhones are telling us they are really stoked.

How is your subscription business going overall?

Overall, subscriptions have been going well. We’ve seen particularly strong incremental growth since we began rolling out HD cams in the last year. The team has made other improvements that are also making a difference.

We owe Mother Nature some big props, too. We had some incredible swells this season and good waves help drive sign-ups.

Even in the tight economy, surfers seem to find high value from subscribing. The cost works out to like 20 cents a day. Surfers tell us they rely on the service to save time, money, and score better waves, which is what it is all about.

There is also an entertainment/escape value for surfers watching their favorite spots, such as on a cam like Pipeline in HD. The cams have become a positive stress outlet during the day, and now that outlet will extend to their mobile phones.

Free trial

Surfline is offering a free trial of the HD surf cams until March 31.

Sign up on this Surfline page, then click “Register for free” and create your account. Once you confirm your account by email, follow these steps.

1. Using your phone’s web browser, enter "mobile.surfline.com"

2. Login using your email and password

3. Find a surf spot by city name or spot name

4. Then, click, "VIEW THIS STREAM IN HD"





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