• 2010 was mobile video's weakest year to date in U.S.

    2010 was mobile video's weakest year to date in U.S.

    Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 13-05-2011

    Even while a device explosion took the market by storm, mobile video found itself languishing in 2010 in the US. Positive indicators do remain in the market, however.
    New research from SNL Kagan has revealed that while infrastructure vendors and other mobile video enablers had strong revenue growth in 2010, it was a different story for those trying to make money off of the service. That was largely due,the analysts said, to a shift in consumption models: proprietary "on-deck" video delivery spectacularly flamed out in some cases (Verizon VCast Video, MediaFLO), while apps-based video was still nascent.

    "And after Qualcomm’s decision to pull the plug on FLO TV, we learned that consumers were not willing to pay up to $30 a month for up to 20 channels of linear mobile TV," the report reads.
    Sports and children’s content scored well for mobile consumption, with ESPN, Disney and CBS coming in as the three leading mobile video content owners by U.S. revenue. But many programmers reported a revenue decline last year. All in all, 2010 was the slowest year of revenue growth on record for U.S. mobile video, SNL Kagan reported.

    Broadcasters still face the challenge of offering a compelling mobile service that excites an audience now accustomed to time shifting; SNL Kagan estimates nearly 80 percent of U.S. TV HHs will be PPV/VOD capable by the end of 2011. Furthermore, overall mobile video advertising has been a slow starter, accounting for less than one-tenth of total mobile video revenue in 2011.

    Even so, the outlook for the category remains solid, and the positive indicators in the market still outweigh the negatives. Nearly one third of all American wireless users are using video-friendly smartphones, and tablets have spread like wildfire; the iPad was in the hands of an estimated 6.4 million in the U.S. at year-end 2010.
    Meanwhile, cable MSOs and IPTV providers are "creeping in" with new TV Everywhere deals that bundle access to desktop and mobile VOD libraries for certain multichannel TV subscribers. Specifically, AT&T, Cablevision, Time Warner Cable and Verizon have leapt into the fray with iPad apps.

    Broadcasters themselves also have been prepping their own mobile offerings using ATSC-MH (Mobile DTV). Already, more than 70 U.S. TV stations are broadcasting free-to-air local affiliate content in mobile. Experts at U.S. mobile TV consortia OMVC and Mobile500 Alliance have outlined a few sweet spots including live local news and sports.