We’ve seen the future of TV, says Sony, and it’s both digital and mobile.
Such is the scale of the business opportunity presented by mobile television that Todd Miller, managing director Asia for Sony Pictures Television Intl., told an audience in Hong Kong on Tuesday that “wireless is the new China.”
Addressing the Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum, Miller said mobile handsets — a portable fashion statement for millions — combined with the ability to make on-demand purchases are a killer application.
Miller said consumption patterns in South Korea, where digital mobile broadcast (DMB) has been in use for several months, are encouraging and that subscribers watch for an average 16 minutes per day.
“Viewing patterns will mirror traditional TV, but peak periods will be different, reflecting peak commuting times. Viewing longform content is already common in Italy and Korea,” he said, calling South Korea’s DMB “the most successful portable television I’ve ever seen.”
He predicted that DMB and third-generation mobile platforms will co-exist, the first for linear-branded channels, the latter for video-on-demand. Miller described mobile TV as a “complementary extension of existing TV” delivery methods and added that copyright owners, with their brand strength and marketing clout, have the potential to do better than outfits making made-for-mobile content.
Miller said Sony is scouring its movie library for content it can repurpose as clips and shorts for mobile and broadband platforms. It has already identified 9,000 minutes of branded content that will be made available in Asia.
TV division claims to be the first to license studio library to South Korea’s DMB platforms. Unit says it will soon make available its AXN and Animax channels to mobile TV operators.
“Original (made-for-mobile) content such as mobisodes may not be the model. I can’t think of anywhere that they work,” Miller added.
He was later backed up by Ken Lo, VP of business development Asia, who argued that the only thing working in favor of straight-to-mobile content is that it’s likely to be in the right format. In favor of repurposed branded content are quality storytellers and helmers, talent and celebrities, superior production values and better marketing.
“The proof is to be found in Korea, where DMB subscribers are willing to pay twice the price of their basic cable subscription for only 11 channels,” Lo said.