Mobile TV's clouded picture

27 Oct 2006
00:00

When big content players get in the same room these days, the conversation turns quickly enough to mobile TV.

That was the case at the CASBAA convention last week. No surprise; the mobile media opportunity is likely a bigger one for content players than for carriers.

For mobile carriers, it's been easy to be swayed by both the broad appeal and numbers of TV. Television is the most popular product on planet Earth, even more popular (and affordable) than a mobile phone.

Yet after a year or more of rising expectations it was good to hear a measured attitude to mobile TV from the CASBAA podium.

The problem is it is shrouded in far too many unknowns: the standard, the business model, the handset, battery life, spectrum availability, backhaul cost and pricing.

Before it can be regarded as a reliable means of resuscitating flagging ARPUs, carriers and content provider need to settle these.

Thomas Decieux, director multimedia at mobile TV platform provider SpeedCast, notes that 3 UK's World Cup video clips generated a lot of traffic. But the firm also lost a bit of money because, sadly, they were free.

But it's not just about mobile TV. Operators really need to drive it in the context of their own mobile content strategies.

Flat-rate

And honestly, if there's one issue that is really going to deter usage it is pricing.

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