Mobile TV Gets Turned On

Mobile TV has the potential to become the wireless industry’s next mass-market data service success story, according to the latest Unstrung Insider.

The report – Mobile TV: Switching On the Revenue Stream – cites feedback from service providers and vendors involved in recent trials as evidence that mobile TV has strong end-user support.

To date, a number of Tier 1 carriers have launched mobile TV over 3G networks and dedicated mobile broadcast networks, with monthly usage already at more than 1 million sessions per month at some operators.

Report author Gabriel Brown lists Orange France (Paris: OGE) and Vodafone Germany as carriers offering “standout examples” of mobile TV services over 3G networks, while the digital satellite broadcast service offered in Korea by SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) and TU Media is “also noteworthy.” (See Orange Launches MobiTV.)

“The power is its simplicity," says Brown. "Everyone already knows how to watch TV.”

Naturally, pricing looks set to be a critical driver in boosting demand for such services. “Sub-$10/month services will be essential to drive uptake of mobile TV,” warns Brown.

This view was echoed in a recent Unstrung poll on the likely fortunes of mobile TV. A combined total of 84 percent of the 243 respondents stated they are reluctant to spend more than $10 a month to view mobile TV services (see Poll: Mobile TV Gets Zapped).

But here’s the really good news for players in this space. Brown argues that even if live mobile TV doesn’t take off in a massive way, it is already converting a proportion of the mobile user-base into regular consumers of non-voice, visual content on their cell phones, opening up the promised land of rising mobile data ARPU.

“One way to think of mobile TV is as a way for operators to claw open the mobile data box and give non-voice ARPUs a much-needed lift. It’s no surprise that the industry is pushing mobile devices as the ‘fourth screen’ in our lives, after movies, TV, and computers.”

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

The report, Mobile TV: Switching On the Revenue Stream, is available as part of an annual subscription (12 monthly issues) to Unstrung Insider, priced at $1,350. Individual reports are available for $900. To subscribe, please visit: www.unstrung.com/insider.

materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 3:02:18 AM
re: Mobile TV Gets Turned On How can service providers make money on a $10/mo video service? They charge $40-60/mo for 8kbps voice that includes no content cost. Now they will "add to ARPU" with $10 video at what cost and what bit rate? This will kill margins.

They must be really afraid of WiFi VoIP.
rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 3:02:17 AM
re: Mobile TV Gets Turned On Could they charge the content providers a fee to deliver programming over their cellular networks and ask for revenue share in transactions like the cable companies do with QVC?
Gabriel Brown 12/5/2012 | 3:02:14 AM
re: Mobile TV Gets Turned On Most people are negative about Mobile TV and you can see why GÇô about the only thing I could find worth watching was the GÇ£wipeoutGÇ¥ section on Extreme TV. You know, where BMXers land painfully on the crossbar. Ouch!

Looking at it from the service provider perspective itGÇÖs more attractive. Mainly itGÇÖs about converting users to 3G and bundling a package of services with a recurring monthly subscription fee. TV is just a part of that, but it appears to work because people at least know what TV is, and know they like it.

DonGÇÖt think mobile operators are afraid of WiFi / VOIPGǪ this is way down their list of things to worry about.
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