Mobile Pay TV Uptake to Double by 2013

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010 
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Good News: Mobile Pay TV Uptake to Double by 2013; Bad News: To Double from Just 1.6M to 3.3M Subscribers

New TDG Report Identifies Absence of Bundles, Pricey Subscriptions, Lack of Hardware as Primary Culprits in Mobile TV’s Lackluster Performance

FRISCO, TX — Despite growing awareness of Mobile TV services, operators have fallen short in their efforts to convince consumers of its worth. TDG’s latest report, The Possibilities and Challenges for Mobile TV, sheds light on this promising but troubled market space; identifying and exploring the challenges Mobile TV faces, as well as how best to address them.

According to Brian Platts, primary author of the report and contributing analyst for TDG, perhaps most alarming was “…how dramatically the initial euphoria surrounding Mobile TV has waned.” A telecommunications professional with a deep knowledge of the North American market, Platts noted that “not only are there far fewer mobile TV subscribers than one would think, but short-term prospects do not look much brighter.”

In terms of the factors contributing to poor demand, Platts points first to high subscription prices and poor value perception. “Consumers fail to see the value of Mobile TV in general, or they fail to see sufficient value at these prices. Either way, it is keeping them on the sideline.”

To overcome this barrier, Platts argues PayTV operators should bundle Mobile TV services with their current video offerings; creating a legitimate multi-screen TV service at a single “bundled” price. Such multi-screen bundled-service positioning make even more sense when one considers that the operators preferred for Mobile TV service happen to be the very cable or satellite TV operators with which many already have a relationship.

Another demand inhibitor is the fact that very few handsets feature native support for Over-the-Air (OTA) broadcast Mobile TV. As Platts notes, “OEMs already pack these devices with a wide range of features, including support for multiple wireless networks, leaving very little physical or economic room to add a mobile TV receiver. As long as demand for Mobile TV remains soft, OEMs will forgo such support on all but their most expensive units.”

The bottom line? Despite these limitations, TDG expects Mobile PayTV subscriptions will double over the next three years, from 1.6 million today to 3.3 million in 2013. “Yes, there is a growing market for Mobile TV,” says Platts. “But demand for Mobile TV is dependent on extending or expanding the fixed TV relationship, and as such is tied to the shift toward integrated multi-screen TV services in general. That’s the future of TV.”