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Mobile TV gets legs

New study shows massive growth

Mobile TV subscribers will mushroom around the globe over the next five years, according to the latest study from London-based market analyst Datamonitor.

The number of mobile broadcast TV subs is predicted to grow from a mere 4.4 million today to an estimated 156 million by the end of 2012.

However, the author of “Opportunities in the Mobile Broadcast TV Market, 2006-2012” noted that while mobile broadcast TV is continually highlighted as the next big thing, considerable hurdles need to be overcome.

“There are about 4.4 million mobile broadcast TV subscribers globally and at that, split just between a handful of countries. This subscriber base will grow to 65.6 million in 2010 and more than double to an estimated 155.6 million by 2012 — a compound annual growth rate of 66,” said Chris Khouri, associate media and broadcasting analyst with Datamonitor and author of the study.

Khouri went on to say that consumer education, technological fragmentation and content adaptation will have to be addressed before mass adoption can take place.

Datamonitor expects the Asia-Pacific region to have 76 million subscribers by 2012. Europe will have the second largest sub base with an estimated 43 million by 2012, with a compound annual growth rate of 102% from 2006. This high growth rate is directly attributable to the predicted pan-European push for mobile broadcast TV between 2009 and 2012.

North America is expected to have a subscriber base of 36 million.

Pricing models for mobile broadcast TV vary by region, with some service providers opting for a free-to-air service. Most mobile operators, however, would be looking to charge $8-$12 per month for a mobile broadcast service. In most Western European and North American regions, subscription models are expected to be the dominant business model at first.

And as is already clear, mobile broadcast solutions won’t be a significant revenue generator until consumers see value in adopting the service.

Moreover, the move toward revenue-generating advertising models for mobile broadcast TV has an unquestionably long way to go. The catalyst for this shift is ensuring that both a return on initial investment has been met and that there is a large enough subscriber base to warrant the transition.

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