Thursday, July 9, 2009

Broadcast Mobile TV Is A Financial Disaster

This according to a quote in a rambling Reuters article yesterday about how video Apps and mobile VOD services for premium and user generated content are killing linear mobile TV broadcast initiatives like DVB-H and FLO TV. The situation is so dire that Strategy Analytics has lowered their 2010 WW Mobile TV market size estimate from $5.4bil 3yrs ago to $280mil today (yikes!). Let's face it, other than during the rare sports or news event, how many consumers want to pay to have their grandparents' linear TV on their phone? To make matters worse, apparently even the early broadcast & satellite initiatives in markets like Japan & So. Korea that ignited the irrational exuberance for mobile broadcast TV in the West, haven't proved to be very lucrative.

I think this article makes a bit too much on the App component of this crisis. Consumers are totally agnostic about how they get mobile video content (App, WAP, widget, whatever)... all they care about is having a huge selection of content and the ability to timeshift it, share it and interact with it. For product developers to be successful they will need to focus on creating very simple ways for consumers to get & play with the content they love. One developing initiative that I'm particularly bullish on for mobile is US cable companies' plans to offer their consumers cloud DVRs as part of their TV Anywhere strategies...this means that Comcast customers could catch up on their saved shows, from any of their subscribed channels, from any computer, connected TV or mobile device whenever & wherever they want (Sling without the box). I'd pay for that. What I'm not bullish on...and there was a whole section on this in the Reuters made for mobile content. I've been there and done that and there is no model I could ever find to make this financially viable in the longterm and, most importantly, the vast majority of this content is crap that no one wants to watch on any screen.

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