Once Again: People Just Aren't That Interested In Mobile TV

from the no,-really,-we-swear dept

For years and years we've wondered why various companies were spending billions on building mobile TV systems that simply mimic traditional broadcast TV to mobile phones. In an age of time shifting and place shifting there's little reason for a mobile broadcast TV system that's separate from your other ways of accessing television. People don't want to have to buy into a whole different (expensive) mobile subscription service when they already have a cable subscription at home which they can save via their TiVo. And, if they really want to access it on the go, they can just pick up a Slingbox and not have to pay for an entirely separate subscription. But that hasn't stopped billions from being poured into various mobile TV systems, even though pretty much every test shows very little interest in paying for mobile TV.

Of course, sometimes when we talk about this, people tell us that the experiences in Asia -- specifically Korea and Japan -- show that there really is a market for fee-based mobile broadcast TV. Turns out that's not true. A new study in Korea points out that the highly touted mobile broadcast system there gets very, very little usage. In the meantime, Toshiba is backing off plans to offer a fee-based mobile TV subscription service in Japan. So much for those "success" stories.

What's really stunning about this is that it wasn't hard to predict that this would happen years ago, before billions were wasted on such systems. None of this means that video alone isn't an interesting space in the mobile market, but it has to be allowing users to access what video they want -- not taking us back in time to an old live broadcast system, and adding yet another subscription fee for the privilege.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 7:50pm

    That's basically it, they think that it's making soooo much money in Japan, when it's not. If it were a uniform and free standard with commercials, it might make sense... and dollars too...

     

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    wasnt me!, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 8:31pm

    whats the added bonus?

    any body wants to watch a movie on a 3" screen? free or not I know i don't.

     

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  3.  
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    Joe C., Aug 12th, 2008 @ 8:50pm

    As if we need another distraction while driving

    First we were playing with cell phones while behind the wheel. Then we were texting instead of paying attention to the road. You just know there's some moron out there who just has to do both and watch TV while weaving around on the highway.

     

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    wasnt me!, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 9:31pm

    Re: As if we need another distraction while driving

    here ull like this article then:

    AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine state police say a Kentucky motorist had an excuse when she was stopped because she watching a TV show while driving on I-95.

    Spokesman Steve McCausland says the motorist told a trooper that she was tired and was watching the “Gilmore Girls” on her laptop computer to stay awake.

    Trooper Tim Marks was stationed at the Gardiner toll plaza making sure drivers were were wearing seat belts when he saw the motorist pass through with her laptop open over the Fourth of July weekend.

    The motorist, who was not identified, did not receive a citation for her actions. Maine law prohibits motorists from watching television while driving, but the statute is vague when it comes to other electronic components like a computer.

    http://www.funnymos.com/category/dumbass-detected

     

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  5.  
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    OKVol (profile), Aug 13th, 2008 @ 6:02am

    Just another case of self-deception

    Yes, it has some success in Japan. The cell phone industry in the US is so desperate for growth that they bought into their own marketing hype and thought this was the future. It ain't. Now they are going to have to look elsewhere for money. I wonder if that is why some are jacking up texting rates, which are ridiculous to start with...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 7:06am

    hopefully the days of slamming an inferior product onto a cell phone, then charging a monthly premium for it are coming to an end.

    No, I don't want to spend $5.99 a month for streaming tv, plus $8.99 a month for crappy GPS service, plus $9.99 a month for a music service, plus $4.99 a month for traffic updates, plus $40 a month for my cell plan, plus $40 a month for my data plan.

    Of course the next battlefront is the capping and usage restrictions on cell data. Eventually the market will figure things out. Of course by then some other better technology will come along and the fight will begin anew.

     

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  7.  
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    Lee, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 7:14am

    I have a 46" flat screen LCD with 7.1 surround and HD receiver. Why would I want to watch *anything* on, as want me! pointed out, a 3" screen with stereo headphones!!

     

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    chris (profile), Aug 13th, 2008 @ 7:16am

    other countries don't drive

    TV and other video on mobiles are great in europe and asia because people ride more trains and buses there.

    in the US, everyone drives, and the police will beat you with sticks if you even think about a phone while you are within 50 feet of a car.

     

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  9.  
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    Martin Owen, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 7:55am

    The US is not the only market

    Accenture identified this earlier this year in their report Televison in Transition 2008. However the report also shows that although there is a reluctance to consume content on the phone (pre-iPhone) in the "north" the south - with Mexico and Brasil in the lead- have less reluctance. There are 100 million mobile phones in Brasil. Africa was not included in the study - and there is little competition form tv sets or other screens in Africa. There are 340 million phones there.

    However, I was on an expert panel on "Killer Apps for the Mobile Phone" at the broadcaster's IBC in Amseterdam in 2005- and I made the point then that A G Bell already had the killer app for the mobile phone. To get leverage on video on the mobile phone you need to build on that personal communicative capacity. Even in multi-screened US there is potential - maybe your kids are not as phone savvy as Europeans?

     

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  10.  
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    DavidB, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 10:07am

     

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