Approximately 40 million users watch mobile TV based on broadcast networks, in addition to those watching mobile TV streams via 3G networks – but this is well below initial projections and only about 1% of all mobile phone users. Even the business models in markets with sizeable numbers of broadcast mobile TV subscribers – such as Japan with 18 million, South Korea with 17 million or Italy with well over 1 million – have not yet become viable commercial success stories. However, mobile operators remain interested in promoting the service as it can support customer acquisition and retention, and can be used to promote high value “flat-rate packages”.
Arthur D. Little’s new report, “Mobile TV – Tuning in or switching off?” investigates the status of broadcast mobile TV uptake worldwide and identifies actions that key players need to take to improve the prospects of broadcast mobile TV businesses.
The consultancy proposes four ways to improve mobile TV business models:
Regulators need to support the set-up and potential success of emerging mobile TV businesses; benchmarks show that national telecommunication and media authorities play a fundamental role in supporting or hindering the success of broadcast mobile TV.
All key players need to work on lowering the costs of delivering broadcast mobile TV services; the profit potential from broadcast mobile TV services for mobile operators is low. In an exemplary country market, mobile operators can only generate E1 profit per mobile TV subscriber – under the condition that a critical mass of 10% of all mobile phone users in the market subscribe to broadcast mobile TV services at a monthly fee of E6. Therefore, any plans for new broadcast mobile TV businesses must ask the question: “How to bring down the three key cost drivers: network roll-out outs, incremental handset subsidies and content costs?”
The industry needs to improve the service and price attractiveness of broadcast mobile TV to end-users; the price, usability and attractiveness of broadcast mobile TV services need to be continuously improved, for example, by providing improved outdoor and indoor network coverage and improving the TV channel bouquet.