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@ MWC: Jury Still Out On Mobile TV Strategy, Chance Of Success

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Another mobile TV conference panel, another opportunity to lament the low take-up of this technology with so much still-unfulfilled promise (also see yesterday’s stats and similar negativity from Mipcom).

BBC Worldwide mobile director Peter Mercier cited M:Metrics stats showing just a 1.2 percent UK take-up: “The hype you’ve seen at past 3GSMs about mobile TV is not warranted by the real growth. Mobile video itself is probably one of the least used applications on a device. The demographic is almost exclusively male – this is nowhere near a mass-market proposition and nowhere near simple for us as a broadcaster to find a compelling place in. Over the last year, the number of mobile TV standards has actually increased rather than decreased. Getting an advertiser to fund something that consumers are going to have to pay for themselves really isn’t realistic.”

Judging from a panel on the topic, most players still don’t see eye-to-eye on just what kind of “TV” customers want in their palm. HBO International SVP Stanley Fertig said: “Other than for live sports, linear doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense.” Sling Media’s man in Europe, Stuart Collingwood, disagreed, saying many subscribers watch full live mobile TV whilst in bed or in the living room while family members watch a different channel.

MTVN (NYSE: VIA) International content VP Gary Ellis wants to offer both long- and short-form: “We’re close to providing linear via mobile but also have the VOD on the same service – it has to be a bundled experience. The success of iTunes and people watching full-length on that device has given us more confidence to experiment with long-form content on mobile phones.” Said Mercier: “I don’t know if it’s short-form or long-form or linear channels versus VOD. The jury is still out.”