Mobile TV opportunities are vanishing fast

The delivery of mobile TV has so far failed to make an impact despite the ever increasing use and sophistication of smartphones.

While linear television services sending content to mobile devices had been expected to become popular with the technological advancements seen in handsets over the past years, the market has actually seen very little in the way of revenue or customer take-up.

This has largely been attributed to a failure to develop a large scale ecosystem within which the market for mobile TV can thrive, according to an Ovum report.

“While viewing web video via mobile handsets has taken off in recent years, the delivery of TV services has promised much but delivered little,” said Ovum analyst and report author Tim Renowden.

“At best it has achieved incremental revenues to existing web services, at worst substantial investment write-downs.”

This is partly because TV networks appear unwilling to push ahead with content services due to high risks, meaning that customers are not being enticed toward subscriptions.

Ovum analysts believe that this is compounded with mobile network operators which are unwilling to subsidise handsets with the relevant mobile DTV technology, which means less availability through operators.

Of course mobile TV remains a potentially lucrative market should it eventually take hold, with possibilities that are seen with live TV streamed to devices, with mobile handsets potentially offering a rival to mainstream TV should take-up reach those far-off adequate levels.

This means companies reaping subscription revenues and raking in advertising money if challenges are met.

However, with failed mobile TV models seen in the UK and US such as Qualcomm’s MediaFlo network, it seems that changes will be needed if the successes seen in Asian areas such as Japan and South Korea, where terrestrial TV is delivered for free, are to be replicated.

Despite the potentially lucrative revenues for both mobile operators and television companies “the opportunity for successful deployment of mobile TV services, distinct from mobile web video, into markets in which a foothold has not already been secured is diminishing fast.”