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Commentary

Mobile TV More Popular Than First Thought?

New data suggests that there is indeed some interest in mobile TV services. According to Research and Markets, between 60% and 85% of people who had experienced video on a handset said something to the effect of, "When can I buy one?" The biggest reason behind peoples' interest? Boredom.
New data suggests that there is indeed some interest in mobile TV services. According to Research and Markets, between 60% and 85% of people who had experienced video on a handset said something to the effect of, "When can I buy one?" The biggest reason behind peoples' interest? Boredom.Yep. Boredom. I guess the respondents to this collection of surveys have nothing to do. I honestly wish I had time to be bored every once in a while. Alas, I don't. Does that mean I am not a potential customer of mobile TV services? Well, not right now, anyway - especially since that service isn't available where I live. I guess I don't fall into the 13% to 15% of U.S. customers who think mobile TV has a future...yet. I need more convincing. But that's not true of many others.

In 80% of the trials surveyed by Research and Markets (including services in Finland, England, France, Italy, Korea and Japan), boredom ranked as the biggest driver to adopting mobile TV services. People said that watching chunks of video, what I call mobile snacking, at different times throughout the day would relieve boredom.

Mobile TV services effectively time shift prime time to whenever viewers want to, or have the ability to, watch their programming. Will the morning and evening rush hours on the train/bus become the new prime time? I know how tedious commuting via mass transit can be. I can see the appeal to mass transit commuters, but most Americans drive to work.

What's even more interesting, not only are people bored, but they are also willing to pay. Another study in Finland demonstrated that 41% of participants would pay $12 a month for mobile TV and 58% thought mobile TV services would be popular. That's a majority, folks.

A majority doesn't seem to be adopting the services, though. Research and Markets says only 3 million out of 48 million mobile customers in South Korea have subscribed to mobile TV. Network operator 3 Italia has seen about 5% adoption of mobile TV services in the 6 months that it has been offered. Verizon Wireless has not released any stats on the success of its V CAST mobile TV services after the first 2 months of operation, but I highly doubt its more than a few percentage points given the limited availability of the service.