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Reports paint conflicting picture of mobile TV prospects

Conflicting indicators emerged over the past few days about the willingness of consumers to view television content on mobile devices.

On Sept. 19, Juniper Research painted an optimistic picture with the release of a new report forecasting spending on mobile broadcast TV services to exceed $6.6 billion by 2012. The research firm said it expected about 120 million mobile users in 40 different countries to receive broadcast TV services by 2012. There currently are fewer than 12 million.

On Sept. 24, a Gartner study revealed that roughly 5 percent of Europeans are interested in watching TV on their cell phones in the next 12 months. The picture was somewhat better in Asia, where the research firm found willingness to do so among 20 percent of respondents.

While there is a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison between the two, with the Juniper numbers focusing on terrestrial broadcast to mobile devices and the Gartner findings looking at TV on cell phones, there’s enough similarity between the two consumer experiences to raise the question: which is it?

Many U.S. television networks have been distributing news and other content to cell phones for some time, and competitive mobile broadcast systems are battling it out in the market and at the ATSC.