Viability of Mobile TV questioned

Mobile TV is a long way from being viable anywhere in the world, said Michael Keferi, director of the global trends research company CScout Japan, at the Asia Television Forum conference in Singapore.

According to a report on the ABU website, Keferi said that the One Seg mobile services launched in Japan in 2005 were targeting 2011 for a working business model, but there were doubts that the target could be achieved even though there were 35 million mobile handsets with One Seg capabilities in the market. “One Seg is the world’s largest field trial”, Keferi said.

“It is an infrastructure experiment, but nobody is yet sure what content or applications will result in One Seg achieving viability.” He said that in the West broadcasters and telcos were “freaking out” looking for a mobile TV business model, but that may have to evolve from experimentation of the type that was taking place in Japan. Keferi suggested that broadcast mobile services could serve as teasers for paid streamed content.

The words of Keferi come as no surprise, as mobile operators in Europe are experiencing more than just teething problems with the first commercial roll-outs of mobile TV. In Germany, the licence holder Mobile 3.0 was forced to hand back its licence; in France broadcasters and operators are arguing about the business model and in The Netherlands, KPN is giving away its Mobiele TV service for free to top-tier subscribers.