@ Mobile Content World: Geek TV Case Study — USG Not Important, Exclusive Is

Kristan Rivers, general manager of Player X China, gave a case study of Geek TV — a streaming TV/video service — at Mobile Content World Australasia 2007. He argued that mobile video is not being driven by brands but rather content that is made for mobile from the start, and said that on 3UK Geek TV is the second most used video stream, coming behind ITN which has Big Brother…but it beats big brands like MTV, FHM and so on. “People buying this content are the people buying FHM,” said Rivers. “It’s not highbrow stuff.”

Usage stats: Rivers gave some figures for mobile video usage in Europe (I’m not sure where he got them from). The average viewing time per session is 3.1 minutes in Holland, 2.8 minutes in Switzerland, 3.2 minutes in the UK. The total monthly viewing time is 23 minutes in Germany and 28 minutes in the UK, which isn’t going to cause concern to regular TV broadcasters — Rivers said that this service is complementary to fixed TV, it doesn’t replace it.

User Generated Content not important: Geek TV is a one-hour looped streaming channel which changes every week — Player X figures that if people are only watching an average of 7 minutes a week there’s no point putting up too much programming. The stream includes links so if the viewer sees something they like they can click through to video-on-demand clips and buy them — In fact, Player X initially wanted the stream to be offered free as a marketing channel for the video-on-demand stuff, but all the carriers insisted it be charged for. The channel had 25 percent user-generated content, but Player X is lowering that to 20 percent. The content they got wasn’t very good, and it wasn’t driving the channel as much as they thought it would. Rivers cited usage research on sites like YouTube and Wikipedia showing that one percent of users uploaded content, 10 percent commented and 90 percent were happy to just watch. A more popular features is the interactive feature, which lets people send shoutouts and so on. Rivers emphasized that user-generated content doesn’t drive mobile TV usage, community participation does.

Exclusivity is necessary: Rivers said that the stream was 60 percent premium made-for-mobile content “If it’s not exclusive they’ll go to the web,” he said. This view was supported by Jack Ford, managing director of Sony Pictures Television, during the MobiFest video showcase. This was where four potential mobile video producers pitched their ideas to a panel, with the winner getting the series produced — pretty interesting to see the pitching process and hear what the panel thought was important. One of the pitches included user-generated content, and Ford questioned how the team would ensure the content was exclusive and not posted on YouTube, for example. He said it was very important to Sony that the content was exclusive, because otherwise people would just watch it on the web.