Monday, July 6, 2009

Turning Japanese...Adult Content Chokes The Pipe

A double entendre peppered article from Bloomberg this morning highlights network capacity issues that Japanese mobile operators are facing with "unlimited" data plans, on their notoriously virile 3G networks, due to downloads of adult video content. NTT DoCoMo and KDDI have already imposed limits on some of their heaviest users and Softbank is now considering a similar move. One of the biggest issues is that adult content usage is really spikey...with capacity being taxed most greatly in the wee hours of the night (so many troubling images). The article claims that Japanese adult sites are seeing about 1,000 new subscribers a day, paying as much as $100 each to sign up. It's not entirely surprising that this situation is developing first in Japan, where they've had good data-ready 3G networks since 2001, where they have great handsets and where most people use their mobile phones (as a opposed to computers) as their primary access to the internet.'s not that the Japanese are any randier than the rest of us, they're simply early adopters (thought leaders, if you will) of a category of mobile content that Juniper estimates is currently worth $2.5bil WW and that will double in value to 5bil by 2013.

The most troubling aspect of this story (and there a few) is that it demonstrates the weaknesses of so-called advanced mobile networks WW. Frankly, it's become glaringly obvious that 3G networks are not yet ready for primetime (or latenight) when it comes to streaming video. The proliferation of data caps, lack of support for video calling and examples like the iPhone's delayed support of tethering, slow-boating of video-streaming Apps and resistance to Flash speak volumes about the continued frailty of these networks. As consumers rapidly get more comfortable with web-browsing on their phones (like in Japan) and come to expect that they're favorite video sites from the fixed-line internet (e.g. YouTube, Hulu, etc.) will work, this issue will become a bigger customer service concern for the carriers...and a more painful lost revenue opportunity for site owners, publishers & content owners. Let's hope that while the mobile operators trumpet the virtues of & spend billions on their WiMax and LTE 4G networks that they don't totally neglect the capacity issues of their 3G networks and sour a generation on the potential of mobile video. Oh yeah, and note to the more prudish mobile networks and hardware manufacturers out there...the history of other media (i.e. cable, VHS, internet, etc.) suggests that you should get comfortable with adult video content leading adoption of video services on 3G, 4G or the extent that's what you want.

1 comment:

  1. Mobile providers must evolve the way Internet providers have as porn is here to stay on the mobile device.