10/22/2009 3:40:00 PM
BBC ditches live mobile TV plan after 12 month trial
The BBC has ditched plans to set up syndicated deals with operators to deliver mobile TV, after a trial revealed low user interest.
The move raises questions about the commercial viability of mobile TV.
The 12 month trial was held by the BBC last year in partnership with Orange, Vodafone, T-Mobile, 3 and Sky. A subsequent BBC consultation document said the trial results ‘suggested that the level of demand for content delivered via 3G is uncertain and may, at least in the short to medium term, be relatively small’.
At its peak, only 580 users per day accessed the BBC’s TV channels during the trial.
Last week, the BBC confirmed that following the consultation, which closed last month, its plans for syndicated mobile TV were on hold.
A spokeswoman said: ‘The BBC is currently undertaking a strategic review, which includes the syndication of linear channels to mobile and other platforms. When we have completed this we will submit our proposed new strategy to the (BBC) Trust.’
The BBC insisted the trial’s poor results had not triggered the review. The spokeswoman said: ‘Poor take up of mobile TV in the trial is not linked to the BBC’s decision to review its strategy.’ Nor are BBC plans for mobile TV coverage of the 2012 Olympic Games impacted by the decision.
She added that the review ‘is a much wider exercise than just mobile’.
The spokeswoman said: ‘This is irrelevant in terms of the 3G consultation. BBC TV channels are already available on BBC iPlayer on mobile via 3G and Wi-Fi, whereas the consultation is on whether these channels are integrated ?into operators’ portals.’
Industry experts said the success of the BBC iPlayer could have undermined ?plans to syndicate BBC TV via operators.
Nitesh Patel, telecoms analyst at Strategy Analytics, said: ‘The iPlayer has been very successful for the BBC.
?It is powerful enough to drive viewers to the site without the need to partner with operators.’