Mobile Video: a $16B Market in 5 Years?

Pyramid Research says mobile video services will generate some $16 billion in revenue worldwide in 2014 and represent 15 percent of all wireless data sales by that time in leading markets like the U.S.

The analyst firm's new report, called "Mobile Video Services: A Five-Year Global Market Forecast," takes an in-depth look at the expected evolution of video services around the world. The co-authors of the 86-page opus, senior analyst Derek Medlin and managing director Gabriela Baez, find that the growth will be driven by a 37 percent increase in the total mobile subscriber base -- to over 6.2 billion people -- between now and 2014, coupled with the arrival of faster 3G and mobile broadband networks around the world.

3G networks offer the necessary performance to start offering mobile TV and video services, and, as the authors indicate, much of the world is slowly but surely deploying 3G:

The rapid advance of 3G is a crucial factor creating opportunities for mobile video services. At year-end 2008, 37% of mobile subscribers in North America and 29% in Western Europe will be connected to a 3G network. Over the next several years, we expect the other regions to make inroads with 3G as well. In Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe, more than 50% of subscribers will be converted by 2014, up from about 5% at year-end 2008

The report indentifies the Asia/Pacific region as one of the key areas that will spur mobile video growth in the next five years. The Light Reading-owned analyst house estimates that Asia/Pacific will represent 50 percent of all mobile subscribers by 2014, up from 44 percent today.

Overall, Pyramid predicts that the global mobile video user base will surpass 534 million subscriptions by 2014, equivalent to 8.5 percent of all mobile subscriptions, up from the current 2.5 percent level. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is slated to be 28 percent for the five-year period.

The U.S., Italy, and Japan are identified as three of the leading markets for mobile video and TV today. Pyramid says China and Chile are markets to watch for future growth, while mobile video is starting to grow in India, in anticipation of 3G licenses being awarded.

It is not all wine and roses, however, for the future of mobile TV and video. Pyramid finds that a series of regulatory and technological barriers are still stifling growth. Often a carrier needs a broadcast license to run certain content, while there's a number of different options on what technologies to use to deliver the data. The analysts also note that carriers still need to settle on how and what to charge for TV and video services, with increased access to free services potentially proving a threat to revenue.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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