MOBILE TV CHARGES WILL CHANGE COMMERCIAL MEDIA LANDSCAPE
London, November 1, 2004 - A leading article by Eugene Lacey, editor of the newly launched Mobile Voice and Data Pricing magazine, challenges the popular notion that television is the killer application that will turn consumers on to next generation phones, but suggests that charging for mobile TV will shift relationships in the content value chain and ultimately change the commercial media landscape. Published by BroadGroup's mobile data practice, Mobile Voice and Data Pricing provides reliable intelligence on pricing changes in the sector and analyses key issues and their impact in marketing mobile services. The article points out that the current trials are crucial, since it is vital to know what consumers will pay for. A key question is why pay for content on a mobile device that you can watch for free at home? And, will the convenience of being able to view popular shows on the train, tempt enough people to sustain a commercially viable offering? Pointing to recent research in the US which found that the majority of users surveyed were not interested in watching TV from mobile phones, the article suggests that re-selling free to air TV content as a pay-to-view product for mobile devices may have limited appeal. However, pay to view is only one way of monetising TV content. The article suggests that Operators could strike deals with sponsors or advertisers to offer top shows for free. Major brands are already heavily involved in TV sponsorship, and will enter bidding wars for the top shows. From the broadcaster point of view, phone viewing offers a number of advantages. The brand is extended to a new platform, access to valuable content is widened, and the commercial proposition that broadcasters can offer advertisers is enhanced. In the long term, Operators may negotiate directly with independent television content producers, film studios, sports organisations, and licence the content directly to be premiered exclusively on their service. But if a strong case can be made for access to publicly funded content, the commercial media landscape will look very different. Interactive television based on a 3G network may also solve the problem of the up-channel bottleneck - opening up a new world of creative and commercial opportunities.