The companies behind Mobile 3.0, publishing houses Burda and Holtzbrinck together with South African media company Naspers, are reportedly about to end their plans to launch a DVB-H network in Germany. The consortium won the license to provide the service in January this year and started test transmissions on June 1, with 9 TV channels and 3 radio stations. However, after the carriers failed to win the mobile TV license they were apparently reluctant to carry handsets supporting the DVB-H network, and decided to release handsets which receive DVB-T transmissions free of charge — which naturally put a dent into Mobile 3.0’s plans of a 5-10 euro subscription model, reports Rapid TV News quoting German newspaper Bild. The big issue now is how the companies will exit without losing face, who will pick up the several million euro bill of investment to date, and what will happen to the license.
This isn’t really surprising… back in May Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) said that it wouldn’t be selling any handset with a mobile TV service customers would have to pay for, because there was the risk they would spend less on other services. The lesson seems to be that if you want to offer a mobile service, you need to have the carriers on side (did that really need to be taught?). In this case, the third-party mobile TV provider model doesn’t seem to have worked… Although it isn’t doing too bad in Italy and the US. The key is making the benefit to the operators very clear, most easily through a slice of the revenue.