Just a few months after predicting the adoption of mobile TV as a mainstream service by 2010, a new survey of mobile consumers by Gartner has found little consumer enthusiasm for the medium in Europe.

Earlier in the year Gartner predicted that mobile TV would provide an additional revenue stream for operators, with the market growing from 38m users in 2007 to 356m in 2010.

But a new survey by the same firm has found that only 5% of Europeans are likely to watch mobile TV in the next 12 months.

According to Gartner back in March:

"TV broadcasting will reach 133 million subscribers by 2010 - due in the main to the growing availability of broadcast-enabled phones - with Japan as the region leading the way followed by Western Europe."

The new Gartner study has found that there is widespread consumer apathy among European mobile users, so does the earlier research still stand up?

Well, Gartner called us to say that they're sticking by it, suggesting that operators will bundle mobile TV to force it into the mainstream, despite the disinterest among consumers. They might well be right about the bundling.

I remain unconvinced that mobile TV will provide any significant 'additional revenue streams' for operators. Ultimately this is all about usage, and if people don't want to use something they're unlikely to pay for it. Perhaps consumer sentiment will change, but for me the issues are more fundamental.

The main problem with mobile TV is the quality of the viewing experience offered on a tiny mobile screen, the bandwidth considerations, and the fact that most people simply don't have time to watch TV on mobile.

When using their phones, people want things in bitesized snippets, delivered quickly. And while that works with video online to some degree, anybody familiar with using YouTube Mobile via a handset will know that the payoff is a video the size of a postage stamp. It isn't the ideal platform for TV, and I can wait until I'm in front of my laptop before visiting YouTube (which, incidentally, I don't pay anything to use)

The best mobile apps appear to be needs-based, and it seems like most people just don't need mobile video. They prefer to watch their favourite TV shows on an expensive widescreen TV from the comfort of their favourite chair.

Makes sense, doesn't it? 

Related stories:
Mobile operators launch TV trial in the UK
BBC and Sky dominate mobile TV market 

Graham Charlton

Published 24 September, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (2)


Outdoors girl

I find the lack of interest in mobile TV unsurprising. One factor which would discourage me from using it not mentioned here is the short battery life of many of the most recent mobile phones - mine (won't mention the brand!) lasts around 24 hours, so would not cope well with the energy demands of TV.

almost 11 years ago



Mobile tv is not simply about tv on your cellphone, which admitedly would be tedious to watch for a long time.
Mobile tv IMO will be more succesful once it is available as an add on to your cable, satellite, broadcast, or internet tv subscription.
If you had the chance to "buy and walk" so to speak, then all the home entertainment that you pay monthly for could come with you anywhere to be accessed on mobile tv enabled devices for eg laptops, cellphones, and pda's.

If this happens then IMO mobiletv will be a winner as much of the doubt on the service at the present time is centered on the size of the phone screen.
Other devices with mobile tv portablity will eventually push mobile tv an anytime anywhere situation.

The idea of taking what I pay for at home with me wherever I go to watch on any screen will eventually make mobile tv a big hit.

almost 11 years ago

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