Mobile TV ‘moment passed’
August 3, 2010
A study has found that disappointing adoption levels of existing mobile TV services, allied to competition both from streamed mobile services facilitated by the growing prevalence of WiFi and from mobile reception of free-to-air terrestrial networks, has lead to growing disillusionment within the industry.
The Juniper Research report found that the number of paying subscribers to networks based on standards such as DVB-H, DMB, CMMB and MediaFLO were not expected to exceed 10 million globally until 2013 at the earliest – by which time more than 180 million mobile customers will be subscribing to 3G/4G/WiFi enabled mobile TV services.
According to mobile TV report author Dr Windsor Holden, Qualcomm’s recent announcement that it is seeking to sell mobile TV subsidiary MediaFLO is understandable: “MediaFLO has been hamstrung by various factors, many of which have been outside its control. The delay in analogue switch off prevented it from gaining national coverage; its partners set the service price at too high a level which put off potential customers. When you factor in likely free to air competition over ATSC-M/H in the medium term, then clearly MediaFLO faces a difficult future in the US.”
However the Juniper Report argues that MediaFLO may have better long-term prospects in Asian markets such as Japan and Taiwan, and that its networks – and those of other mobile broadcast service providers – may be better served focusing on delivering a wide range of data services rather than as acting as pure mobile TV distributors. It also identifies a further revenue stream for mobile TV delivered to in-vehicle entertainment systems.