The Ongoing Blind Belief In Mobile Broadcast TV

from the it's-gonna-be-huge...-except-that-it's-not dept

For years the big research companies have been putting out report after report after report claiming that mobile broadcast TV is going to be a huge moneymaker. However, there seems to be almost no real evidence to support this. In the 80s there was an attempt at mobile TV that went nowhere. Yet, the studies keep coming. The latest is from Juniper Research predicting that mobile-broadcast TV services will be a $6.6 billion market by the year 2012, which is very soon for a market that there are still a ton of questions around. This isn’t to say that mobile video isn’t an interesting service, but it’s difficult to believe that the market for broadcast style TV is one that many people would ever pay for. There are many reasons why. First off, mobile users are quite often “on the go,” meaning that they don’t necessarily have the time or inclination to be watching broadcast TV programs. Instead, they’re more likely to want to do mobile specific things — short clip videos or videos that are more communication than content. Most importantly, however, it’s difficult to believe that there’s really money in mobile broadcast video because a combination of tools like TiVo and Slingbox mean that people aren’t going to have to pay to watch what they want, when they want, where they want. I can already get mobile broadcast TV on my phone today — thanks to a Slingbox and a smartphone with unlimited data. Why would I possibly pay more for it?

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Companies: juniper

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Comments on “The Ongoing Blind Belief In Mobile Broadcast TV”

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11 Comments
drbuzz0 says:

By "Mobile TV" you mean what?

I am assuming you mean some subscription-based service where a person will watch television content on mobile devices?

I’m not sure about the subscription part, but I have a handheld television (Obviously analog.. which is soon to die) which I have had for some time. No, I’m not one to be watching TV constantly on a 3 inch screen with analog noise.. (it works well with a good signal, but far out in the burbs it’s miserable)

but it has come in handy numerous times, especially in the past when I wanted to keep up on a big news report or baseball game away from home…

Now I have a slingbox which streams to my cellphone. I LOVE IT. LOVE IT. It’s not something I use a real lot, but on the occasions that I do, it’s freakin awesome.

HedonistJiver says:

Strange – I have the MobiTV service on my Sprint phone and I totally love it. I may not watch it every day, but handing cartoons to my kid in his carseat while we’re driving, or watching sports highlights while I’m in line or at lunch – I do that all the time. I thought this WAS already a medium-sized and growing market, so it’s strange to see the skepticism.

techspert says:

No one will buy mobile TV in Europe eh? So that’s why 500k 3 Italia customers signed up in less than 12 months. Virgin Mobile TV failed because it was badly marketed, launched with just one handset, offered just 4 channels, and the quality of service wasn’t great. There’s a decent latent market out there, people will use the service in dead time – when they’re commuting, in lunchbreaks – provided they’re offered good service quality and a decent selection of channels.

Anonymous Coward says:

What is really laughable about the movie industry today is years ago they fought the vhs/betamax technology with equal vigor. They shouted to anyone who would listen that the consumer with the ability to make their own copies of films would ‘destroy the industry’.

Flash forward to today. The home movie rental industry was created from that technology and studios stack up huge profits from those rentals. In other words, the studios fought this ‘infringement’ on their intellectual property right up until they figured out they could make money from it.

Elisa says:

I agree that people are likely to use TiVo like programs for their telephones but what I don’t understand is why some people seem to think that Television content won’t be interesting once it’s on phones.

  1. Is it because people think the screens are too small?
  2. Is it, as you suggested, because people don’t have time to watch hour-long programs while waiting in line?


My response to that is: screens will get bigger, TV programming will for a small screen and I rarely read a book from cover to cover in one reading, why shouldn’t I watch Friday Night Lights in segments while on the train?

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