10/21/2009 3:33:00 PM
Mobile TV is on the up
Several significant barriers that previously prevented mobile TV from truly taking off have been knocked down of late. Network speeds have improved, unlimited data tariffs are commonplace and, perhaps most importantly, the iPhone has educated consumers on the landscape-changing potential offered by mobile phones.
Which UK operators have taken the most interest in mobile TV?
3 and Orange are generally the most active players in mobile TV in the UK. 3 has been the most visible in terms of trying to improve customer awareness of late, and recently rolled out a large marketing campaign pushing a £5 per month Sky Sports package. Orange UK has adopted a quieter marketing approach over the last 18 months, having previously outlined ambitious plans for Orange TV. However, the operator says it has been steadily increasing its mobile TV customer base, claiming to have ‘tens of thousands’ of UK subscribers. Vodafone, T-Mobile and O2 also have active propositions of both live TV streaming, and TV on demand, but did not reveal usership figures.
What are the main drivers of mobile TV?
Mobile spoke to some operators that have largely come to the conclusion that sport is the most effective driver of mobile TV. Similarly, Sky used sport as a battering ram to drive dish sales in the early 1990s, which helped it become the mass market proposition it is today. Operators also reported that news channels have proved popular on mobile TV, as well as
‘flavour of the month’ TV shows such as The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.
Have European countries made a success of mobile TV?
France is the big success story in Europe, where millions of consumers are using mobile TV every month. Orange France is using football as a driver, by offering exclusive matches live only on mobile TV. Orange also claims that a mobile TV iPhone app that it released in April this year, which offers users quicker and simpler access, has also proved a highly successful tool in driving usage.
What are the main remaining barriers to mass market take-up?
The main barrier to UK consumers is cost. In the UK, all consumers already pay TV licence fees, and in many cases Sky subscriptions too, so it’s a big ask to get consumers paying another £5-8 per month, or more. Operators have
yet to find a profitable bundled proposition that takes these strains into consideration.