Reminder To Mobile Phone Industry: It's About Communications, Not Content
from the why-do-they-keep-forgetting dept
We’ve never quite understood the fascination from those in the mobile phone industry with mobile broadcast TV. It has almost everything going against it. It’s incredibly expensive to set up (witness the money spent by Qualcomm alone), it’s of limited utility and it doesn’t really add much value. If you want something new to catch on, it has to allow people the ability to do something that they simply couldn’t do before. However, mobile TV has been tried in the past and failed. Sony had a portable handheld TV that did poorly on the market, as the appeal for mobile broadcast video just isn’t that strong. If you’re on the go, you’re not likely to have much time to sit down and watch a full hour, or even half-hour, TV program. Also, with the advent of time shifting, there are even fewer reasons to want to “watch stuff now.”
But the biggest thing working against mobile broadcast TV is the whole concept that it’s broadcast. It’s almost as if the mobile industry hasn’t paid attention to what’s been happening to the content industry over the past decade. It’s facing quite the challenging atmosphere, as there’s lots more competition than ever before, and new technologies let people get around the annoying aspects of the broadcast business model (i.e., intrusive advertising). Even more to the point, people view mobile phones as communications devices, not content devices. So, if there’s any interest in mobile video, we expected it would be more for communications than broadcast — and it appears that others are coming around to this view as well. Deloitte & Touche’s latest report suggests that mobile broadcast video has little compelling future, and the real opportunity is in helping people create their own content and then share and distribute that content to a wider audience. Would have been nice if they had told the mobile industry before they put up billions to build broadcast-only mobile networks.