MEM 2006: The Dilemmas Of Charging For TV Content

From the session on understanding, packaging and marketing mobile TV: Peter Cowley, director of interactive media at Endemol, said it had served 10 million video streams in the past 18 months and had made good money from those. When the panel moved on to discuss an advertising-based free channel, he said that operators view mobiles as a retail platform for video but that’s not necessarily the right approach. He said that free content is logically a good way to encourage people to watch, although it wouldn’t work with a new brand. He questioned whether there would be enough eyeballs to sustain a free access channel supported by advertising.
MTV’s UK Angel Gambino, VP of commercial, strategy and digital media, said MTV’s top two mobile channels have no advertising and work on a paid-subscription model. But she added that there’s such a strong demand for MTV’s free content (possibly because under 18s can’t easily pay for stuff) that the network wants to work with advertisers to explore ad-funded channels.
Paul Goode, VP of development and senior analyst at M:Metrics, inevitably dipped into the firm’s latest stats: 2.6 per cent of whole mobile phone subscriber base – and 11 per cent of 3G user base – are downloading one or more video each month. Streaming is more niche: 0.6 per cent of the user base and 10 per cent of 3G subscribers. M:Metrics has also found that people are creating far more mobile content than they are consuming and particularly so in the UK where around 9.4 per cent of all mobile users have sent video to another phone and 6.2 per cent have uploaded video to the web. In comparison, 2.5 per cent have downloaded short video clips and 0.7 per cent have watched live on streaming video on their mobile. Interesting, then, that user-generated content was mentioned as a priority for both Endemol and MTV this afternoon.

This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.