Thursday, June 29, 2006

Oz Mobile TV Results

Sydney, NSW Australia

Broadcast Australia is reporting the results of the recent Sydney Mobile TV "movemedia" trial of 16 television services on mobile handsets (DVB-H). The handset used was the Nokia 7710 (priced in the local marketplace at A$700 and up).

The survey, importantly showed two facts. 1. A high level of consumer interest in a future commercial Mobile TV service in Australia. 2. A significant majority of trial participants expressed an interest to subscribe to such a commercial service, if one were to be offered.

Other highlighted findings:

*The mobility of Mobile TV, to watch TV anytime, anywhere appealed to 80 per cent of trial participants, notably when hanging around, travelling, at home or commuting.

*With people rushing around on business days, total TV viewing increased during those periods. Highest viewing was in the morning and lunchtime.

*Peak viewing of the traditional TV channels on a Mobile handset peaked in the mornings, lunchtime and evenings, with an afternoon peak on Sundays.

*The more intensive users were non-Pay TV subscribers and commuters.

*Sports channels were the most popular among viewers during their lunch breaks and Sport was also popular on Saturday evenings.

*Overall the most popular content was general entertainment, news and documentaries.

*The content provided met trial participant expectations

*Trial participants thought the Mobile TV trial a success but would like to be able to download and record programs to watch later.

*Participants chose to access TV on their Telstra mobile handset for an average of 25 minutes per viewing session, with 1 to 2 sessions per day.

*Overall, Australian usage behaviour showed very similar results to those obtained from overseas market research.

The digital broadcasting on the move trial was conducted by partners, Broadcast Australia Group and Telstra using 375 trial participants from across a range of demographics.

The Mobile TV trial offered: Channel V, (Fox) E!, (Fox) Fox Football, (Fox) Fox Sports News, (Fox) Nickelodeon, (Fox) Sky News, (Fox) Sky News Business, (Fox) The History Channel,(Fox) The Lifestyle Channel (Fox) The Weather Channel, (Fox) ABC2, SBS, Channel Nine, CNN, Sky Racing Boomerang

Backgrounder *The Mobile TV Trial commenced July 2005.

*The service is being transmitted on channel 29 From the Broadcast Australia transmitter at Gore Hill, NSW for reception by DVB-H (digital video broadcasting - handheld) technology. Trial participants used the Nokia 7710 3G mobile phone. The specially adapted handset receives 16 broadcast video streams while the telephone utilises the Telstra GSM and GPRS mobile networks.

I believe the reference to movemedia is in fact the streaming technology used for the Mobile TV delivery. What a pity this announcement from Broadcast Australia was so lacking in depth and explanation. Issuing press announcements for major corporations is a business not to be taken simplistically. Could this be a packaged announcement that in reality is mutton dressed up as lamb?

[As a post script, I am really not clear from this survey what message Broadcast Australia is trying to put across. The 7710 handsets are already in the Sydney marketplace. Clearly it is not the most popular of the Nokia range because of its high price and the fact it is a multimedia handset with more of a multimedia look and feel than a phone. Is it that Broadcast Australia and Telstra are just confirming what they already know? That Mobile TV will, if offered, be a good product and will be attractive to today's "geek" market. The problem as I see it will be the cost of content. Similar services using 3G, I note in other Asia cities such as TV station news programming is not yet cost-effective in many consumer's minds. This movemedia survey asked questions in principle. Were participants asked about the cost factor? At the end of the day, will it be so urgent to watch a program on the move or wait until reaching the office or home? The timing of the introduction of Mobile TV is therefore critical. Should the Australian economy begin to falter under higher interest rates and consumers respond with tighter belts, Mobile TV may then move from a must have, to an optional spend. - Ed]

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