Mobile media gap widening

Developed Asian markets such as Japan and Korea have stormed ahead of Europe and North America in mass uptake of mobile multimedia, according to a TNS‚ Global Telecoms Insights (GTI) study. Investments in infrastructure, improving network speeds, a focus on innovation and affordable flat-rate data plans have made the Developed Asia region the world’s most advanced in mobile technology adoption.
The number of consumers using mobile TV features in Japan and Korea has more than doubled in the last year, rising from 14 per cent to 32 per cent. Similar rapid growth is observed in Hong Kong (18 per cent to 32 per cent). Contrastingly, mobile TV growth in Europe was considerably slower over the past year, rising from six per cent to just eight per cent. While the UK is ahead of the European average, rising to 13 per cent from six per cent last year, mobile TV penetration still far lags behind developed Asia. In the US, although the number of mobile TV users has doubled in the last year, mobile TV uptake remains relatively low at 11 per cent.
The growth of mobile TV has had such an impact on Asia’s consumers that it is now a critical driver in determining which handsets they want to purchase. In Korea mobile TV functions are now the single biggest driver of device choice in that market, considered important by 33 per cent of Korean consumers in the device that they choose to purchase, well ahead of MP3 and camera. Desire for mobile TV is also beginning to emerge in developing Asian markets: 25 per cent of users in Thailand and 22 per cent in Vietnam say that being able to access mobile TV is a key driver of purchase. Yet looking at Western markets, in the US and the UK only two per cent and five per cent of users prioritise mobile TV when purchasing handsets.
Stephen Yap, Group Director at TNS Technology, commented: "A number of reasons underpin the significantly higher adoption of advanced mobile technologies in Asia. Technology tends to be more aspirational for Asian consumers, who tend to be earlier adopters as a result. Early and significant investment in mobile infrastructure by industry players, and in some cases governments, have led to network capabilities that today surpass those of Europe and North America. Moreover, relatively affordable, flat-rate data plans are better established in Asia, while in Europe and the US flat-rate plans are still priced relatively highly and incremental charging for data consumption is still commonplace."