Commentary

Mobile Video Growing, Not Exploding

mobile tv watcher

Mobile video is gaining ground and getting cheaper but still faces a bumpy road to wider option, according to new data from Nielsen. The mobile video audience has grown 70% in the last year to 15.3 million as of the second quarter. That's equal to about 7% of all U.S. mobile subscribers.

The user base is growing as the expense if falling--a subscriber with a data package that includes video now pays $5.73 a month, on average, compared to $8.32 a year ago. But most people are getting video via the mobile Web anyway rather than any special package.

On the down side, half (52%) of U.S. mobile users have phones that aren't video-capable. Among those watching mobile video, satisfaction with the overall experience has dropped from 74% to 65% despite general improvements in things like audio and image quality. And so far the audience seems to be made up most of fickle "testers" why try it for less than a year before tuning out.

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So mobile video is still being treated more as a novelty than another media option. Nic Covey, Nielsen's director of insights, calls mobile video today "a mixed bag" but a platform that has the pieces in place, including better devices, faster networks, dedicated programmers, and consumer interest, for growth.

If most people are watching video on the mobile Web, than an overall better mobile Web experience is the key to faster uptake. For video, that may not happen until the rollout of the wireless carriers' 4G networks over the next couple of years. The network upgrades coupled with growing use of smartphones and video-equipped feature phones, will help boost mobile video over time.

2 comments about "Mobile Video Growing, Not Exploding ".
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  1. Howie Goldfarb from Blue Star Strategic Marketing, September 25, 2009 at 5 p.m.

    When Mobile Net Surfing Tablets come out properly Mobile Video is going to explode. The small screens suck. They are great for news clips or the latest you tube sensation but people want big screens. End of story. When Apple's tablet comes out watch out. It will be a Saviour for print news since Laptops and PCs aren't really portable newspapers and we like portable newspapers. And the I Phone proved we do not need a keyboard. This will enable full HTML and Flash and will put phones back to mostly being phones and gadgets of convenience.

  2. Adrian Hall from Bytemobile, September 30, 2009 at 5:34 p.m.

    Mobile video is indeed exploding. However, from our experience with over 100 network operators around the world, we question whether this is due principally to users who are paying extra for “Mobile TV” service. Rather, it is due to laptop and iPhone users who are visiting YouTube and other video sites. Either way, the avid consumption of video and other data-intensive applications will further accelerate this growth. It has become critical for operators to strengthen their existing network infrastructure in order to stay competitive and profitable. By increasing network efficiency and capacity, and intelligently controlling service selection, operators can cost-effectively manage the effects of continued traffic growth within the footprint of their existing installation and scale their networks ahead of the data curve.

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