At Mobile World Congress last week I had a chance to catch up with Charlie Nooney, the CEO of MobiTV, to talk about some of the fails we’ve seen in mobile TV services, why he thinks white-label services are the way forward, and how tablets can catapult mobile TV players into multi-screen video providers. (video after the jump)
Overall the company said it delivered 1.5 billion minutes of mobile video in 2010, growing 59 percent over the year before.
Within that, there is a direct relationship between screen size and how much a person seems to want to watch. During last year’s World Cup coverage, MobiTV said that viewers watching coverage on devices with five-inch screens watched an average of 118.2 average minutes of coverage; four-inch screen users watched 102.2 minutes; three-inch screen users, an average of 67.4 minutes; and two-inch screen users watched 61.1 minutes. MobiTV is hoping that its news tablet interface will follow this trend, and help it along in its ambition to become a gateway of sorts for all TV viewing.
Nooney says MobiTV will soon be announcing a deal with a major operator to deliver a cross-platform service covering not just mobile TV, but shifting, recording and playing back content on tablets, PCs, and the main living room TV.
MobiTV won’t be announcing these services as a standalone product of its own: Nooney says these days his company is only interested in being a white-label provider to mobile operators and other service providers/publishers these days — the company says it is integrated with all of the major mobile operators, all mobile platforms and major entertainment studios in the U.S. and has millions of users. It also is providing platform services to the new initiative across local affiliate stations, Mobile Content Venture.
But with high-profile, premium content services like YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG) and Hulu looking to do more on mobile (Hulu has yet to give an actual launch date for the Android Hulu Plus service Jason Kilar announced during the CES show in January), and faster networks opening up the floor to a number of other players like Bitbop, MobiTV will have a strong challenge ahead — perhaps even stronger than those early years when it was more or less the only mobile TV provider and was simply trying to convince the world that mobile TV was more than a gimmicky flash in the pan.