Mobile video, which has crawled along like a caterpillar for the past few years, is on the cusp of emerging from its cocoon as a beautiful new butterfly — one that thrives on smartphones powerful enough to play video. So it’s not surprising that despite the doubts about the economy, QuickPlay Media, which powers Sirius’ smartphone service, has raised a round of $12 million led by GMP Securities, plus existing investors General Catalyst Partners, JLA Ventures and Ventures West.

QuickPlay’s service, which includes several dozen TV shows, is available only for the BlackBerry now, but the company has obvious expansion plans. We don’t have any inside info, but an iPhone play seems almost too obvious to mention.

David Smith, from San Francisco-based mobile marketing agency Mediasmith, says industry heavyweights Qualcomm and Cisco are pushing mobile video hard, focusing on its potential as an advertising medium. “With smartphone inventory emerging, mobile video is starting to appeal to brand advertisers. Discovery via mobile video is a natural channel for media companies, in particular. There’s a lot of dollars here. Take for example NBC. We are going to have the Olympics next year and NBC will be getting into mobile, for sure.”

Various mobile industry heavyweights like Qualcomm and Cisco have increased their efforts to push mobile video in recent months.

Meet us at MobileBeat 2009

David Smith and Keith Kressin from Qualcomm will be at our MobileBeat 2009 conference, talking about mobile advertising, new devices and the future of mobile video.