Qualcomm announced this morning that its mobile video service, FLO TV, was teaming up with iPhone battery pack maker Mophie to develop a new add-on for the iPhone that will deliver live TV programming. The new product, which is expected out in the first half of this year, will stream video from FLO TV content partners like from ABC, Fox, NBC and others.
But there are a number of reasons to question the viability of the new product, and even the FLO TV service. For one thing, while the companies haven’t announced a price point for the new battery pack, it’s bound to cost more than the Mophie products currently on the market, which sell for about $80-$100. And that’s before paying for the service itself. FLO TV costs $15 a month, which may be a lot for a service that is coming late to a platform that already has a large — and growing — base of content providers developing their own applications and services to deliver video.
There are already iPhone apps that are making money off one-time fees sales and subscriptions for premium content, particularly around live sports content. After all, Major League Baseball proved in 2009 that it could make a sizeable amount of revenue by charging for an app and an additional video subscription service on top of that (LINK?). The NBA League Pass Mobile application, which sells for about $40, shows that people will pay for live content if it’s made available to them. There’s also reason to believe that even more content will become available via paid iPhone apps in 2010.
There’s also the chance that Apple could release a competitive service to FLO TV. The company has been rumored to be launching a subscription TV service tied to iTunes and its Apple TV product. While it may start as a service for connected TV devices, it’s likely that Apple would look to extend availability to streaming on the iPhone and iPod Touch.
FLO TV, meanwhile, is trying to extend its service to new devices. It is now available through a “Personal Television” device, as well as on select phones from Verizon and AT&T.