At CTIA I asked almost everyone I met involved in mobile TV how many subscribers were required for the system to be successful, or profitable. Whether an absolute number or percentage of subscribers…no-one could give me an answer.
I also asked Mark Selby, Global VP, Multimedia Business Sales, Nokia, and although he couldn’t give me an answer either he did explain why it was so difficult to put a figure on it.
Basically there are many different business models for mobile TV — subscription, pay-per-view, basic and premium packages, extra stuff off the back of the broadcast — and carriers are likely to offer all of them.
One piece of info that was new to me was the expected lifetime of the networks. Rather than the three year time frame for return on investment of mobile networks, the broadcast technologies are based on a 20-30 year return on investment, possibly more like terrestrial TV. This is because mobile broadcast technologies are not replacing mobile technologies, so as mobile technologies get upgraded they just hook in with the broadcast technology.
()The full audio of the interview is for download here (4 mins, 0.6 MB).