500 Channels on Your Mobile Phone?

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Mobile TVDespite a lack of strong evidence that people are willing to watch and — more importantly — pay for TV on their mobile phones it seems that every TV channel is gearing up to go mobile. “The Weather Channel’s mobile content experiment has ended. Now it’s a mobile content business…Next year ESPN will target avid sports fans with its branded cell phone service…NBC Universal is developing content specifically for mobile devices. Up until now, NBCU has focused on news and information from NBC, CNBC and MSNBC”…and so on…

What should be understood is that a “channel” on a mobile phone is not necessarily the same as a “channel” on a television set. It’s not necessarily an unending stream of content, in most cases it will simply be an aggregation of short video segments, which is probably the best way to go. The weather channel can offer forecasts for specific areas, Fox Sports can offer coverage of individual games, etc. This is a very good opportunity for TV stations which can offer content for a channel with very little extra investment. “Though the money is small in News Corp. terms, the margins are nice…It’s true business development in that it’s a new revenue stream that didn’t exist before.”

“For mobile content to work as a business, there will have to be a certain amount of original production,” said Burgess of NBC…”As much as 50% of NBC Mobile’s content is original.” There’s also talk of ads, which content producers are hesitant to include at the moment for fear of scaring off consumers, but which are inevitable in the future…

Related stories:
Korean Mobile TV Facing Trouble
Video-Phone Feeds Getting Into Mainstream Media
TV for Mobile Phones Set to Reach Masses

1 Comment

James Pearce

Hi Russ,

I'm aware of all the systems being set up around the world, I'm aware of the surveys (which don't count for that much considering how they can be manipulated), and I'm aware of the trials that have taken place. While there has been a positive response, especially in Germany, that's happened before only to have a technology fall on its face. There is evidence that TV on mobiles will be successful, but there's not strong evidence. I guess I was trying to say that it is likely there will be some successful mobile TV companies/channels, but there's no strong evidence it will be as big as the hype is suggesting.

Oh, and Rafat, I agree that broadcast TV will offer TV like channels, but they won't be the only channels. I suspect most "TV channels", by which I mean the media conglomerates that run them, will have mobile channels that offer a broadcast section as well as downloadable videos, or at least other ways to interact with the content providers.

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