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Mobile TV disappoints, but potential remains


Mobile TV disappoints, but potential remains


Would you watch a day’s cricket play, a football World Cup game, or regular drama programming from your phone? If you rarely or never do, you’re certainly not alone.

Smartphone users will whip out a YouTube clip in a second, but a new study from Ovum confirms mobile television hasn’t become the powerhouse many thought it would become.

Ovum claims that most attempts to deliver television services via mobile handsets have been unsuccessful, and this trend will continue in most markets.

“While viewing web video via mobile handsets has taken off in recent years, the delivery of TV services has promised much but delivered little,” says Ovum analyst Tim Renowden. “At best it has achieved incremental revenues to existing web services, at worst substantial investment write-downs.”

Marketing magazine spoke with our resident Mr Mobile, founder and chairman of Modapt, Joe Barber, about how far mobile television should have come but hasn’t

“Smart phones are delivering YouTube basically without a problem,” Barber tells Marketing magazine. “Mobile TV is just not there yet.”

“It comes back to original premise, people on mobile want to snack on information and download highlights video. Live TV on mobile isn’t that exciting. Eith the poor bandwith, people don’t watch live video for an hour on their mobile. It’s a snacking environment. Advertisers don’t yet understand how to play the forum, it hasn’t got there as a powerful advertising form. No one is going to go and download a 30 second TVC.”

Barber stills sees potential for mobile television, with closely contested sporting matches proving particularly popular to watch on mobile.

“Some of the stats that came out of the World Cup were impressive,” he tells Marketing magazine. “People were watching the last ten minutes of a big game. With the drawn AFL, people may have watched last five minutes too. Mobile is not conducive to the long game, the resolution is wrong, it’s got the small screen. Even when you go to mobile websites, there are a whole lot of behavioural differences. People are happy to watch three minutes of advertising on television, but with mobile, consumers aren’t going to be active for five minutes in total. Fundamentally, marketers haven’t yet worked out mobile is a very different environment for advertising.”

Barber says the task to make mobile TV really work for advertisers belongs to agencies.

“Advertisers aren’t getting creative enough or thinking enough,” he says, “there are not enough people with a grasp on the mobile technology yet to make it happen. It’s getting there but I think it’s slow, the agencies that are empowered to do it, don’t know how to do it properly yet.”

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