Is Mobile TV Currently Just A Big ‘Love In’?

Will BBC have a TV to go?The BBC needs to move fast to create suitable partnerships to be able to ride the new wave of ‘TV on the go’. That’s my conclusion after attending a recent IIC event last week (that’s the International Institute Of Communications to you). There I can reveal I was drawn into what felt very much like a mobile content ‘love fest’.

Representatives from a diverse group of media industries including MTV and BT were prophesizing mobile TV is the saviour of TV. Trials in Europe have indicated that across the continent viewers can’t get enough of TV on a tiny little display on their phones and this isn’t just the ‘bite sized’ mobile episodes that commentators had been predicting. It appears that mobile TV is able to actually increase the number of hours that viewers consume, which many thought had peaked.

With this new form of TV, it is said ‘you no longer need to be a couch potato, you can be a potato anywhere’ so expect many hours of work to be lost to must watch TV phenomena like ‘I’m a celebrity’ and ‘Big Brother’.

Channel 4 New Media has recently announced the launch of a mobile TV channel dedicated to Channel 4 content on mobile phones. Sky is planning a 19 channel launch in conjunction with Vodaphone and an ITV mobile service has been announced.

The mobile manufactures need to provide the right interface with an easy to navigate EPG and the content needs to be held securely on the device it’s downloaded to minimise the potential for sharing.

All the big players have a keen interest in the success, from the handset makers, the telcos and of course, the content owners who will expect to negotiate a premium for their programming. The players are going to have to effectively perform a ‘land-grab’ to make sure that an ‘ipod’ like solution does not steal their planned-for bonanza.

Where though does a Public Service Broadcaster fit into this increasingly monetized market? The BBC has been looking at DAB technology providing ultra local TV, but this is unlikely to the drive young affluent consumers who are the usual early adopters of new gizmos.

We are consistantly drawn back to the same conclusion with Mobile TV. This content may be offered; handset makers can produce the equipment; consumers may dabble with it if it costs them nothing.

The still unanswered question is, will the consumer put their collective hands in their collective pockets to pay for it?