Qualcomm CEO: Only 1 Million FLO TV Users - InformationWeek
10:06 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Threat Intelligence Overload?
Aug 23, 2017
A wide range of threat intelligence feeds and services have cropped up keep IT organizations up to ...Read More>>

Qualcomm CEO: Only 1 Million FLO TV Users

Speaking candidly during an interview, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs estimated that during its 3.5-year run, only about one million people signed up for FLO TV.

The basic concept behind FLO TV is cool: Use a separate network to deliver high-quality, live mobile television to phones. The reality, however, didn't work out as planned or hoped.

Qualcomm launched FLO TV way back in March of 2007 with just one handset available from Verizon Wireless in a very small number of markets. Over time, FLO TV became available on more handsets and in more markets, but the service never really caught on. Carriers stopped bringing FLO-enabled devices to market some time ago.

FLO also offered stand-alone mobile TV products, and pitched them to families looking to entertain kids while in the car. The devices themselves weren't bad, but the service always required an additional monthly fee.

Qualcomm and its partners have been shy about sharing FLO numbers until Jacobs appeared at an event Tuesday evening with former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein. When asked how many customers used its FLO services, Jacobs said about a million. When you consider the billions of dollars that Qualcomm paid for the spectrum, the towers, the network, and the content deals, it's no surprise that Qualcomm is calling it quits and looking to sell. (Jacobs told The Wall Street Journal that he expects to strike a deal regarding FLO in the next quarter or so.)

Jacobs said the company learned some key things during FLO's run. Chief among them is that people were more interested in events (concerts, sporting matches, etc.) and time shifting than they were in live TV. "Nobody turned on their phone at 4:30 to watch show X for half an hour," Jacobs said. "That was a total non-starter."

Cost was also probably an issue. The basic access plan for FLO TV started at $10 per month. I'd argue that the emergence of smartphones such as the iPhone and Android -- which are adept at playing back video content -- also helped reduce the appeal of FLO TV.

Jacobs still believes that mobile TV will become the norm. "It's just a question of how it's going to happen," he said.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
IT Strategies to Conquer the Cloud
Chances are your organization is adopting cloud computing in one way or another -- or in multiple ways. Understanding the skills you need and how cloud affects IT operations and networking will help you adapt.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll