Mobile TV Advertising? Why Not Just Watch The Road Instead?

Mobile TV users might want to ask: Give me the directions to this TV show -- and make it a short-cut, if you will.

The idea that mobile advertising will be the savior for most flagging businesses, including local TV stations and their flagging local TV newscasts, might be a more difficult road to travel.

Current click-through rates on mobile phones are only half that of click-through rates on the Internet: 0.48% to the Internet's 0.83%, according to a recent study.

This might be not such good news for advertising-supported video providers for cell phone users. My guess is users are generally in a hurry while being mobile, whether asking directions or watching "The Office."

Mobile is great. Local TV newscasts giving viewers key news and information on the go seems like a perfect match. But there are things missing from this formula -- namely, attention span and engagement.



If you think video watchers on traditional TV and laptops get distracted, how preoccupied do you think mobile users are while on the move -- in cars, walking to meetings, or just trying to watch their daughter's ballet class at the same time?

Now click-through rates have little to do with traditional 10-second, 15-second, or even 30-second TV commercials where much mobile video advertising will no doubt reside in the near future: ads that, just like on the Internet, you can't fast-forward.

But when commercials air, user's full attention can always turn to a car about to make a sudden stop -- or that tendu your daughter is doing.

Of course, you can always just throw the phone down or put it in your pocket and wait until the commercial ends. Then listen for the sound queue of your local TV anchor yakking on about the traffic jam you are already in.

You'll be happy when you can go home and watch TV without distraction. Maybe you'll even slow down your DVR and watch a commercial for the new iPhone.

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