"Vodafone participated in a pilot in Berlin with DVB-H and is evaluating the trial and is
working on a business model for mobile TV. In Germany, T-Mobile is looking at the possibilty of offering mobile TV services. In the Netherlands, Digitenne is starting a DVB-H trial with LG in the Q4 of 2005. None of the major mobile operators know how they plan to make the service pay, as the
service is still in its trial phase. A flat fee might be a
logical way of charging for mobile TV. The survey in which Nokia participated showed 82% of
those questioned were willing to pay an average of €12.50 a month on
top of their current phone bill for the service. Commercialization of
mobile broadcast networks may be premature. There's a risk that broadcast services may cannibalize spending on existing cellular
network-based media services. For the broadcasters, the potential business model is
clearer. Mobile TV may offer a new revenue stream as audience shares
fragment amid the increasing number and variety of TV channels. For example, SBS Broadcasting is testing mobile
TV with Nokia in Finland using its music channel The Voice TV. They are aiming at a young audience aged between 12 and 24."
In my view DVB-H or DMB will rule over streaming TV services using UMTS. The data costs for the mobile operator and thus end user are currently too high, especially for mobile TV content that takes more than 5 minutes. From the end user, mobile TV might make sense in specific circumstances, especially during key cultural and mass market events like finals of entertainment programs like Idols or key series like Desperate HouseWives, Friends and 24; football (EC and Worldcup); key political events. Other popular content might be: a dedicated musicvideo channel, a funny movies channel, a Generation Content biography-based moviechannel (think shortened-movies like Tarnation and ED-TV/Truman Show), a channel for mobile filmfestival award winners (Berlin, ZOIE, Sundance, Rotterdam) and a weather channel...all targeted at the mobile end user with a short(er) time-span. To boost mobile TV usage I believe mobile TV content should - besides stimulating interactivity and social sharing - be offering special pre-releases, exclusive content and other privileges which might be cross-medially consumed (offline, Web). For example, let's assume there is mobile TV content like the classic youth game 'I see, I see, what you don't see and the color is...shape is....etc.', this might stimulate mobile TV usage in a very hands-on way as the end users will be encouraged to interact with the TV program in real time with their own photographed solutions to the stated question of the program while conversating with friends in a bottom-up FlashMob fashion. This is mobile 'triple play' in practice! I believe this concept is the real way going forward.
Looking at the handset manufacturers, the South Korean (LG and Samsung) and Japanese vendors (NEC, Sharp, Sanyo) together with European vendor Nokia seem to have an edge in this field. Somehow, the pilots from Siemens and Sony-Ericsson seem to be delayed which might translate into a small competitive disadvantage due to the rapid developments/improvements in the mobile TV space (e.g. battery life enhancement, TV tuner optimisation). For example, company ItoM has a nice silicon solution to extend the mobile TV viewing period to around 3 hours instead of just 1 hour. Business Week also recently elaborated on the battle between the handset vendors in the 3G phase of the mobile market with an interesting article.