Deborah D. McAdams /
Local Content Considered Key to Mobile DTV Adoption
WASHINGTON and NEW YORK: Nine out of 10
cell-phone users would watch local news on their handhelds or a comparable
mobile device. The continual push behind mobile video will drive a 34 percent
increase in ad spending across mobile devices next year. Those are the
conclusions of a survey of cell phone users and an industry forecast on mobile
ad spending. Both are encouraging to an industry under pressure to give up radio
frequency real estate and make up for lost revenues.
The user survey finding substantial interest in local mobile content was commissioned
by the Open Mobile Video Coalition of TV broadcasters. The group has a vested
interest in the public appetite for local content on cell phones, given
broadcasting’s entry into mobile video rests on that particular. OMVC
commissioned Magid Media Labs to survey 1,000 adults.
Magid found that 88 percent of those responding to the survey “expressed
interest” in watching local news on cell phones, laptops, smartphones and
netbooks. Around 50 percent said they’d look into buying an ATSC M/H-capable
device--those that receive over-the-air, mobile DTV signals. People 18-to-29
registered twice the interest in watching local content on mobile devices
compared to their current consumption on conventional TVs.
“There is no current service that delivers robust
over-the-air local broadcast TV news and information to a portable device, but
we anticipate dozens of new products to be available along with new mobile DTV
signals that have already begun to roll out around the country,” said Brandon
Burgess, head of the OMVC.
ATSC M/H, the mobile DTV standard, became official in October. Compatible
devices are expected to debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in
January. Several service trials have been held in markets around the country,
but there have been no commercial deployments.
There are around 237 million cell-phone users in the United States.
Currently, around 15.7 million of them watch video on the devices, according to
Nielsen. Service providers--AT&T, Verizon, Sprint--already provide video
offerings on cell phones, though none offer the type of local news for which
broadcast TV stations are known. A coalition of broadcasters has formed the
“Pearl Project” to persuade cell service providers to incorporate ATSC M/H
reception into their phones, published reports indicate.
Mobile DTV is the broadcast industry’s latest prospect for new revenues, though
some in the industry are skeptical about its potential. There’s a bitrate
trade-off to transmit mobile DTV signals, e.g., it requires more bandwidth than
what is actually delivered to devices. That’s bandwidth taken away from the
primary signals, which remains the major money-maker. However, the numbers
coming down the pike for mobile ad spending are growing, presenting
broadcasters with the opportunity to make up for revenues lost in the collapse
of the automotive industry.
Borrell Associates estimates that mobile ad spending across the 210 TV markets
will increase by 34 percent between this year and next. This year’s estimate is
$2.59 billion; next year, mobile device ad spending is projected at $3.48
billion. Borrell’s estimate exceeds one proffered by BIA last March,
predicting a mobile ad take of $3.1 billion by 2013.
Either way, segment growth is expected. Borrell’s forecast includes a
market-by-market breakdown that suggests a geographic divergence in adoption of
Abilene-Sweetwater, Texas, market No. 165, is expected to see a 113 percent
growth in mobile media revenues, according to Borrell--from $2.57 million this
year to $5.48 million next year. By comparison, Austin, Texas, No. 49, is
expected to stay flat at around $13.8 million.
Glendive, Mont., the nation’s smallest designated market area at No. 210, is
projected to log the largest percentage growth mobile revenues at 430 percent
to $1.25 million.
Growth is projected for all top 10 markets, with Washington, D.C., No. 9,
leaping most with a 118 percent increase to nearly $210 million in mobile
revenues next year. No. 1 New York is tagged as the top grossing market next
year, with a projected $267.8 million in mobile revenues.
The full Borrell report is available at TVB.org.
(Image by Mark Preuschl)
More on mobile TV:
October 16, 2009: “Mobile DTV Standard
October 7, 2009: “Wireless Carriers Build
Mobile TV as Broadcasters Prepare for Launch”
October 7, 2009: “Qualcomm Rolls out
Handheld FLO TV”
September 3, 2009: “Gray Conducts
Successful Mobile DTV Tests”
August 26, 2009: “Free Analog Mobile TV
Bode Well for Digital Version”
June 29, 2009: “More on Mobile from
April 20, 2009: “NAB: Broadcasters
Target D.C. for Mobile TV Consumer Trials”
April 20, 2009: “City of Raleigh
Initiates First Public Mobile DTV Deployment”
March 20, 2009: “Mobile DTV Poised for
Rising Revenue Wave”
February 17, 2009: “MobiTV Tops 6 Million
January 12, 2009: “Mobile DTV to Launch
in 22 Markets Immediately”