They May Be Impressed By Mobile Video, But People Are Still Cheap

We’ve noted our skepticism for mobile video and television plenty of times, for various reasons. But the biggest reason is that it’s highly doubtful that people will find it so compelling that they’ll pay for it — and continue to pay for it after the novelty wears off. Plenty of studies indicate people don’t really care, and despite the spin of companies looking to hype the technology, interest remains far from proven. Jupiter analyst Julie Ask (she of ringback tone test fame) showed some of her relatives in northeastern Ohio a demo phone she had with streaming video from Sprint, and they were all amazed and impressed. When some of them went to get new phones soon after, they bought them from Sprint, but didn’t get video models — they took the free models with less functionality. So the video was cool, but, in the end, wasn’t worth paying for. Without reading too much into a single example, this is going to be a common reaction to mobile TV: it’s interesting for a bit, but when the free trial ends, so will many peoples’ interest. And with handset subsidies under constant pressure, it’s hard to see operators being able to quickly bring down the price of TV-capable handsets to levels the mass market will embrace.

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