FLO Forum Promoting Free Component To Mobile TV

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Mobile TV needs a free component to succeed, and FLO will be a part of that, according to Kamil Grajski, president of the FLO Forum, a not-for-profit association supporting the standardization of Qualcomm’s FLO technology. The opinions are similar to the ones shared in an interview with mocoNews last month with MediaFLO’s international division, which is looking for partners to roll out service.

He cites the experiences in South Korea (where free mobile TV has far more subscribers than subscription mobile TV) and Italy (where 3 now offers a free-to-air service). “The service is funded by interactive advertising. The operator is yet to comment on the success of the service, but it is fair to speculate that perhaps, as in the case of Italy, 3 saw an opportunity to drive consumer adoption rather than chase revenue through a more direct appeal to typical broadcast TV viewing habits” he writes in a piece for C21 Media. However, he fails to mention that the free South Korean services are quickly running out of cash. He seems to recognize the need to blend free-to-air with premium services — and using that to argue for the importance of capacity in a service, noting that “another key player in mobile broadcast technology in the EU delivers about half [the] number of channels” as MediaFLO. In the interview with mocoNews, MediaFLO’s international division told us it plans to form partnerships and be a technology provider in Europe instead of building the service themselves as they did in the U.S.

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Amitabh Kumar

A recent report from Arthur D. Little points out that the number of viewers of mobile TV today can be estimated at 40 million of which 18 million are in Korea and 17 million are in Japan. China has only 1.2 million while others are scattered in different countries. This shows how sharply the subscribers can vary and obviously this has a great deal to do with the business model.

Free Mobile TV is certainly a major attraction as users need to get used to it first before they commit to subscribe to any paid channels. This, of course is not to say that they will not pay for niche content.

but it gives room for thought when planning business models.


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