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Multiplatform is a mixed bag

Would you view more content if it was higher quality and available on more platforms?

At IBC 2008, AmberFin conducted an attendee survey asking respondents a series of questions about viewing video content over non-traditional platforms. One objective was to look deeper into conditions and interests that might drive viewers to use newer platforms to consume programs and content.

First, the survey showed there was indeed an interest in being able to access content across multiple, including mobile, platforms. Mentioned distribution channels included broadband, IPTV and cell phones. About 60 percent felt that the broadcast industry has improved its knowledge multiple delivery platforms in the past year. Even so, 70 percent of respondents said that content owners could still be distributing their content more effectively across these platforms. For most TV stations, that could mean digital multichannel and mobile broadcasting.

When respondents were asked which platforms they felt were being used effectively by the industry, 27 percent named broadband content viewed on a PC, while 15 percent of respondents named IPTV. I can only assume no one mentioned mobile phones.

Perhaps not surprising, given that the respondents were video professionals, the overall quality of content was identified as a key factor affecting the adoption of newer delivery platforms.

Broadband-sourced content generated a balance of responses. While two thirds said they had viewed content over the Internet, the quality of that experience varied widely. About as many respondents said experts saying they had experienced poor or average quality (52 percent) as those who had experienced good quality (48 percent).

About half of the survey respondents said the broadcast industry could use mobile phones and handheld devices more effectively. Does this mean the other half think that broadcasters are already using these mobile PDA and cell phones devices effectively? I hope not because there is a lot of opportunity in the mobile space and stations need to seize upon it.

Finally, the survey revealed that users would watch more content if the quality was better. For example:

• 57 percent would watch more IPTV

• 59 percent would watch more content on their PC via broadband

• 44 percent would watch more content on their mobile phone

• 34 percent would watch more content on their iPod touch or other small screen device.

So, does this mean that quality is the key issue when viewing video on a mobile device? I submit the answer is both yes and no.

Quality is certainly a prime factor, but so is content. I’m not watching Gilligan’s Island, even if it’s presented in wonderful, HD on my cell phone. First, give me choice, and then give me quality.

Tell me what you think.