Indian mobile TV market to take off this year

The market for mobile TV services in India has the potential to reap $360 million this year, according to new report from Springboard Research.

The report, “Mobile TV in India: Understanding the Mobile Entertainment Needs of Indian Users,” states that in the first year of operation, mobile TV could reach a penetration level of 5-6 percent of the total mobile subscriber base in India, with estimates the country will see about 12 million mobile TV subscribers within the year.

As part of a survey of 1215 mobile users in six Indian cities for the report, it was found that 84 percent are interested in using a mobile TV service, provided it is commonly available and affordable. Of this percentage, close to 60 percent would prefer watching the same content that they receive on TV at home, with news, sports, music videos and game shows being the most popular types of content. A majority of those surveyed are willing to invest in a new handset to receive mobile TV.

Currently, the public broadcaster Doordarshan is the only company in India offering a mobile TV service. However, the report says that in recent months, there has been increased interest in mobile TV among various stakeholders, including technology providers, network equipment vendors and mobile service providers. Nokia, Spice Telecom, Qualcomm and Samsung are among those actively promoting the adoption of such a service in India.

In a statement, Ravi Shekhar Pandey, manager of syndicated research for Springboard, said mobile telephone operators would have an advantage over standalone mobile TV operators, because the former already have a base of users subscribing to their value-added services. However, success in the market for any type of provider will be dependent on the type of content offered and the cost of the service.

The report recommends that service providers offer an on-demand, pay-per-view option that does not tie a user to a monthly subscription for mobile TV. It also says mobile operators and broadcasters should cooperate closely to develop a profitable business model for mobile TV services in India.

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