Faith in Mobile TV Looks Justified
I’m generally cynical when it comes to hearing about the promise of new satellite services and how a market is set to become hot at any second. It probably comes from years of hearing how services such as HDTV or broadband or commercial imagery or any other number of services were set to bring in buckets of revenue to the satellite industry.
None of these services can be considered failures, and all have found some level of success to date and could still grow. But at the same time, none of them have yet hit the growth predictions that many have touted.
Prior to the show, I was ready to place mobile TV in this group, especially following the July announcement that Japan’s Toshiba is pulling the plug on Mobile Broadcasting Corp., its mobile digital satellite broadcasting service, at the end of March. If satellite-based mobile TV services cannot thrive in Japan, it’s difficult to construct a scenario where the service could prosper.
But after a few days and countless conversations at IBC, my faith in the potential of the mobile TV market is not quite dead. Several satellite-related firms are pushing the technology envelope in the mobile TV arena, and their enthusiasm for the potential of the market is growing while also remaining grounded.
The one caveat may be that pure satellite broadcasters may still be left out of the market. Toshiba is turning off its service because the satellite-based pay service could not compete with free terrestrial offerings. The same scenario may apply in other regions of the globe. But that still leaves revenue opportunities for other satellite-related companies such as broadcast equipment manufacturers and content security firms.
It remains difficult to predict when the mobile TV market will take off, but the changing tastes of the modern, mobile consumer seems to provide a real market for the services.