Mobile TV coming to Washington, D.C., Will anyone use it?
July 6, 2010 8 Comments
As I reported last month, mobile TV to be launched in Washington, D.C soon. The implementation and testing are currently underway. I’ve been also doing some research on such a service past three month or so which has made me to think whether this is something the Washingtonian want. Most of the studies I have been reviewing on Mobile TV are not really optimistic about its value and growth.
No doubt the smartphones usage and their connection speeds have taken off since the inception of iPhone back in 2007, but mostly for communication and seek of information. At the end of 2008, the U.S. market had a smartphone penetration rate of 15%; it’s currently at 24% and The Nielsen Co. is predicting we’ll see a 49% adoption rate by the end of 2011.
In the latest study conducted by the USC think tank, it found that mobile video consumption is still woefully underused. Even more discouraging than the level of use, It looks like one of the main reason that has contributed to this, both mobile TV and video have failed to live up to the hype: it’s still a poor experience for most users.
Not to mention the distribution rights as another big challenge media companies still face in the mobile world. I would say one of the biggest challenge. You can be sure though, if these large companies saw enough reason to secure mobile rights on their own, it would already be done. The bread-and-butter business for BET and its counterparts is still in broadcast television and cable – there’s no sign or reason to think that will change anytime soon.
From the carrier side of the game, Verizon wireless also admits premium content services haven’t taken off as they hoped it would. So this says a great deal about what the majority of Verizon’s subscribers want from their smartphones. “Although the data usage have jacked up eight times since the launch of Droid, the top mobile video category will be self expression and user-generated content, particularly once two-way video gets its legs” according to Verizon Wireless.
Lastly, there are three monetization models that mobile content providers can pursue: licensing deals, premium models where customers pay directly for the content consumed and ad-supported offerings. Well, none of them have been happening smoothly. So not a great ROI for them yet. Till then, I think the media companies will view mobile as an experiment and not a solid business model.