Mobile TV Has Overcome Tech Challenges, Says ABI

As recently as 2001, mobile communications experts were saying that mobile television would take at least 20 years to arrive because of technical problems that would be hard to resolve.

Yet now, according to a new study from ABI Research, successful mobile video technologies are largely in place. As questions about business models, distribution, and content are resolved, the mobile TV industry will take off in earnest, the study predicts.

“Just a year ago, there was a lot of discussion in the industry about whether unicast or broadcast distribution models would prevail, and it seemed possible that unicasting would soon disappear,” says ABI Research director Michael Wolf.

He adds: “The new research suggests that while the major top-ranked channels will follow a broadcast model, unicasting is here to stay as a conduit for the ‘long tail’ of other content that consumers will desire.”

Unicasting also has the advantage of an unequalled intimacy between service providers, advertisers, and their captive audiences, Wolf believes. “Last year,” he notes, “everybody was saying ‘We’re only going to have two-minute, bite-sized morsels and mobisodes.’ Yet our latest research shows that people are actually watching mobile TV in their bedrooms, for 40 minutes at a time. So many content providers are now thinking about hour-long episodes of prime-time shows.”