500 Channels on Your Mobile Phone?

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…

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