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Summary:

This week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona hasn’t just been about battling mobile operating systems and the latest chips for cell phones, it’s also about content. For the first time ever, the GSM Association threw a party at the event focused solely on mobile entertainment, “Mobile […]

This week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona hasn’t just been about battling mobile operating systems and the latest chips for cell phones, it’s also about content. For the first time ever, the GSM Association threw a party at the event focused solely on mobile entertainment, “Mobile Backstage.”

While there have been big announcements such as Nielsen talking about tracking online video, and the launch of mobile ad networks such as MMcast, the content news at Mobile World Congress is still a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing (what? too literary?). Mobile video has taken off in a few places such as South Korea and Japan, but for the most part, press releases outnumber the viewers.


M:Metrics calculates the percentage of mobile TV viewers as 5.3 percent of the European subscriber base and 4.5 percent of the U.S. subscriber base, with most of that comprised of families sending video to one another. Less than 1 percent watched carrier broadcast TV, and less than 2 percent watched video via a browser in the U.S. and Europe. Even a pro-mobile TV release from CNN and Ericsson point out that 44 percent of people are poised to use mobile TV, begging the question of how many people don’t care or already have it. Of those that do have it, a scant 24 percent tune in daily.

Standards wars in the U.S. and Europe have stymied efforts to deliver broadcast TV over mobile phones, as have the reluctance of carriers to open up their networks to such high-bandwidth traffic. Notably, however, Orange and T-Mobile said Tuesday that they plan to deploy a mobile video service, even after BT and Virgin Mobile’s efforts a year earlier had failed.

In the U.S., Qualcomm’s MediaFlo standard has pulled ahead of a rival DVB-H standard pushed by Modeo, but the service has so far only launched on a few Verizon handsets. Without a ton of handsets able to receive the signals, Verizon can’t widely market the service. But without a lot of demand, Verizon can’t really push for more MediaFlo-enabled handsets. AT&T is the only other carrier trying to sell a TV service right now, but its MedioFlo deployment, expected late last year, has stalled.

And let’s face it, watching mobile TV through a browser isn’t so hot, either. Sites such as YouTube Mobile can be watched on any phone that can access the Internet, but are limited in their content. Other players include startups like Treemo and TinyTube, as well as mywaves, which was declared the best mobile video service at the Mobile World Congress, beating out MTV and Sony Pictures.

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  1. YouTube Unveils Upcoming Features « NewTeeVee Thursday, February 14, 2008

    [...] be distributed across different platforms — from mobile phones to big-screen TVs (we’re not bullish on mobile video, but Panasonic already announced its YouTube-enabled TV at [...]

  2. Mobile Video – Still Blurry – GigaOM Thursday, February 14, 2008

    [...] places such as South Korea and Japan, but for the most part, press releases outnumber the viewers. NewTeeVee Reports Share/Send Sphere Print Previous [...]

  3. Few people have adopted mass market mobile video services due to a well know list of complaints such as programming issues (running content from a different medium as mobile content), bandwidth, size of the screens, clarity of content and cost structure.

    These are constraints that cause a negative user perception & user experience that people trying to watch the news, sporting events, etc. are unwilling to accept. You might watch a particular service once for the sake of fun, technology or boredom and you might forgot to unsubscribe for a month or two but that’s about it.

    There is one medium however in which all of these negatives are ignored and users will not only pay a premium price for the service but will also forgive (or forget to notice) all of the above issues — that’s adult oriented programming.

    How many guys will watch a scrambled cable signal looking for a little flesh to appear in the pixilated mist? Lots — and many more will purchase as well because female anatomy is interesting to the male population regardless of size, cost or framerate. Yet we can not speak it’s name for fear that the neighbor will know — when in fact he might just know of a better site you can go visit.

    You can spent a lifetime arguing about technology and chips when the bottom line is always just the simple fact that content is king and if your content is good enough, then you have already crossed the chasm and are sitting on the other side at the pool with a little umbrella in your drink.

    Rock On!
    Mo Shizzle, CE-Oh!
    thepinkmob.com
    youtube.com/user/thepinkmob

  4. Chronique Nouvelles Technos, sur La Première : Blogging The News Monday, February 18, 2008

    [...] MWC: Mobile Video Isn’t All That [...]

  5. tech-talk.biz » Blog Archive » Back from Barcelona World Mobility Congress Monday, February 18, 2008

    [...] to work as a broadcaster, making sure content is updated, and channels are conveniently packaged. Mobile operators will face competition from Internet sites, such as YouTube, already offering the service on the mobile, but with proper exclusivity [...]

  6. Tiny Pictures Raises $7.2M for Mobile Media « NewTeeVee Monday, February 25, 2008

    [...] none are very popular, there are quite a variety of approaches in the mobile video space. Versus its competitors, Tiny [...]

  7. SiRF Cuts Jobs, Wipes Out Mobile TV – GigaOM Tuesday, March 25, 2008

    [...] of the data has pointed to this, but still companies, such as Broadcom, which has pushed its mobile TV chips into [...]

  8. The BBC’s iPlayer Goes Mobile, Gets Naked – GigaOM Sunday, March 30, 2008

    [...] The post does a good job showing how multiple standards are a headache, but can be worked around. Rose also talks frankly about the problems of developing an application for the many flavors of mobile handsets. [...]

  9. Mobile Video News Streams Out of CTIA « NewTeeVee Tuesday, April 1, 2008

    [...] with all this content, the U.S. will start to get more than 4.5 percent of the mobile subscriber base to actually tune in to mobile [...]

  10. More Ways To Get Mobile TV « NewTeeVee Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    [...] you’d think U.S. consumers were demanding ways to watch TV on their mobile phones. But studies show, again and again, they’re not. But a few equipment vendors in the WiMax space are throwing [...]

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