Although the company has been hinting at this achievement since April, MobiTV is now officially saying it has four million subscribers. Despite the new heights reached by the Emeryville, CA-based company, its growth seems to be slowing somewhat. It reached three million subscribers last October, but took another 10 months to add that fourth million. It took nearly 30 months for the mobile TV provider to hit that first million after it got off the ground in 2003. The second million came 10 months later and the third million eight months after that. But this fourth million took at least 20 percent longer to reach than the previous million. And no word why the company was talking about reaching this mark many months ago. MobiTV has typically been a bellwether guide for the mobile TV market overall in the U.S. — one that hasn’t made any big splashes and might even be slowing down in growth.
MobiTV has brought in $130 million in venture capital and there have been whispers about an IPO, but nothing has materialized yet. MobiTV was the top-selling application for AT&T (NYSE: T) in the first quarter of the year, but the company’s facing increased pressure from newer players like Qualcomm’s (NSDQ: QCOM) MediaFLO USA. As more capable devices enter the market AT&T and Verizon (NYSE: VZ), both of which offer MediaFLO’s broadcast TV service, are starting to hedge more of their bets on MediaFLO when it comes to mobile TV. If MobiTV falls from the carriers’ on-deck graces or gets overlooked in the face of newer technology, it stands to lose much of the growth its achieved thus far. That said, there’s no evidence that MediaFLO is running away with all the prizes. The company declines to report subscriber numbers, but Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs hasn’t hid from the fact it’s taking longer to reach scale than they originally planned. MediaFLO has at least 200,000 subscribers, sources tell us, a small slice of the action MobiTV currently enjoys in much greater numbers. (Release)