Since 2008's Almost Over, Now Looking To 2009 As The Year Of Mobile TV

from the its-that-time-again dept

Each of the last, oh, 4 or 5 years has been heralded as “the year of mobile TV,” despite plenty of questions over the real demand for a paid recreation of old-school broadcast television, a medium that’s falling out of favor as people look to DVRs and on-demand services. It’s already looking like 2009 won’t be any different, as Qualcomm is talking up the expansion plans for its MediaFLO network, saying it will be available in an additional 46 markets by the end of next year. The implication is that by having 108 active markets instead of 62, it’s primed to take off. But if the people in those 46 extra markets have roughly the same demand for the service as those in the existing markets, it’s hard to see a huge bump in growth. Indeed, as the original story notes, “MediaFLO hasn’t taken off as quickly as [Qualcomm] had hoped, and it’s unclear how many users the service has through its partnerships with Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

It adds, however, that among its user base, live events like the US Open golf tournament cause big spike in viewer numbers (again, though, that’s viewers — not subscribers). This is one area where mobile TV could hold some promise, as live events like sports or breaking news still call for a traditional broadcast model. But the subscription-based model remains a big barrier, particularly as consumers look to reign in their spending. There are lots of mobile services billed as being “just $5 or $10 a month,” but given tighter household purse strings, that “just $5” is going to hold back the growth of many of them.

Filed Under: ,
Companies: qualcomm

If you liked this post, you may also be interested in...
Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Since 2008's Almost Over, Now Looking To 2009 As The Year Of Mobile TV”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Video, Yes. TV, no.

You are all correct. Broadcast TV, other than live events, may someday be widely used, but only at a price near free. As comment #3 said, who wants to pay for an impersonal, poorly timed service on a tiny screen, when they already pay to get it at home, and when broadcast TV is free over the air anyway?

But the concept of mobile video, that is people watching moving pictures on their phones, is one that is only going to grow and grow. I have no doubt that in a few years, masses of people will be watching video content on their phones. The thing is, it will not be the “billed content” that the carriers and Qualcomm are hoping to sell. It will be video sideloaded (legal or pirate) to the device, or video streamed from their PVR (or cloud PVR), or some form of free online video like Youtube.

That’s a lot of video, and it will contribute to rising unlimited data plan sales for carriers. They should be happy with that.

BTW, to comment #1, I use my WinMo “brick” to watch video a fair bit. It’s Youtube content, which is short-form and often fits into a conversation, and it’s off of my Tivo through Slingbox. The Tivo content is stuff I would watch anyway, so I watch it while I’m waiting at the dentist office, then pause, then I pick it up where I left off on my home TV. Very personal, very efficient, basically free.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...