Mobile Video Phones Hot, Pay TV on Handsets, Not

Infonetics_Mobile Sales of video-enabled mobile phones will surge over the next four years, Infonetics projects in new research. Unfortunately, providers of mobile pay TV services won’t enjoy the forthcoming salad days.

Infonetics predicts that 397 million video phones will sell worldwide in 2013, and the subsequent market created will be tens of billions of dollars. The number of mobile video subscribers is expected to grow nearly tenfold by the end of 2013 from 41 million worldwide in 2008, the research firm says. Live sports like soccer and cricket will be a big driver of mobile video adoption, Infonetics believes.

However, pay TV services won’t find an immediate payoff in all this growth. In his analyst note, Jeff Heynen, Infonetics directing analyst, Broadband and Video, writes:

“Though video-capable phones continue to become more widely available, subscriber uptake of pay TV services (not free-to-air video) continues to disappoint. A combination of poor macroeconomic conditions, subpar 3G network coverage for streamed video services, and pricing that puts mobile video services out of reach for many consumers is contributing to the lackluster growth of mobile video services around the world. While mobile video services are expected to eventually grow significantly, until operators combine broadcast, on-demand, and sideloading, revenue will remain a drop in the bucket of overall mobile service revenue.”

Mobile video has been getting a lot of attention recently. YouTube has said that mobile uploads are an “exponentially” growing part of its site.

If you’re interested in the future of the mobile web, be sure to attend GigaOM’s Mobilize Conference this month to hear speakers from Motorola, T-Mobile and Qualcomm, among others.

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