Television Asia Plus finds Asian viewers watching mobile TV; profitable business models still elusive

Asian countries with strong mobile TV markets, such as South Korea and Japan, are also younger markets with keen technology adopters, reports Television Asia Plus’ Christine Wong in story about what's being produced for, adapted for or working well on Asia’s small screens. But while a number of countries may be on the brink of deploying commercial mobile TV services, Wong finds that the advertising and subscription models necessary to make those services profitable are still on the drawing board.

Here are highlights from Wong's report:

  • Broadcast Australia anticipates that "mobile TV will be a strong proposition in many markets in Asia," according to Martin Farrimond, Broadcast Australia's GM of new platforms. During 2007 and 2008, Broadcast Australia ran a DVB-H trial through Singapore Digital and also is deploying mobile TV services in Sydney and Malaysia.
  • Irdeto is another player In the Asia/Pacific market. With more than 1.85 million S-DMB subscribers watching about an hour every day, Irdeto offers TU Media's premium content across 22 video channels and 15 audio channels.
  • ESPN STAR Sports offers a host of games including fantasy gaming and match predictors for BPL, cricket and F1. “These applications have become so successful that they are advertising entities in their own right,” said Charles Less, ESS senior VP of ad sales. “We are able to offer clients multiplatform opportunities to target viewers across a wide demographic … with new media applications that have a high level of interactivity."
  • Sony Pictures Television distributes content for various mobile and new media platforms, with personalization products and mobile games based on SPT blockbusters, movies and TV shows on mobile VOD as well as original multiplatform content. Examples include “Spider-Man” mobile games, movies and TV shows on SKT’s mobile VOD platform in South Korea and the original multiplatform series “Afterworld.”“Video content is a driver for smartphone adoption," said Rosemary Tan, Sony Pictures executive director of Asia mobile entertainment."Consumers are looking for content across platform and not just for mobile. This is why we are focusing on the creation of digital video content not just for mobile, but for multiple platforms.”
  • AETN All Asia Networks (AAAN) makes entire channels available on mobile, either on DVB-H services or 3G/GPRS services. AAAN currently has services available in Malaysia and the Philippines, with other Asian deals in the works, according to AETN All Asia Networks GM Louis Boswell.
  • Singapore-based StarHub TV currently offers eight live, mobile channels of news, sports and entertainment for about $1 a day, supplementing this lineup with clips and downloads from sources such as Disney, ESPN, E-City and VV Drama and Sensasi. "These days, we do see more and more handsets in the market with form factors for video streaming, such as high-speed Internet connectivity, larger screen and high-quality screen resolution,” said Chan Kin Hung, StarHub's head of personal solutions and advanced multimedia. Hung said that with a new medium, it’s important for operators to explore different business models, and StarHub’s experience in pay TV showed that some basic principles, such as price predictability and simplicity, still apply

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