Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Friday, August 15, 2008

Video on a Mobile Phone Not Popular in US

While nearly one-third of U.S. households have a video-capable mobile phone, service providers are struggling to find an audience for their mobile video services, according to a market study by Parks Associates.

The latest report by the market research firm found a majority of consumers with a video-capable mobile phone have never used the video features.

For example, 56 percent have never watched a video clip using a mobile phone. These low usage rates are discouraging for operators hoping to boost revenues through new TV and video services.

"Buy before you try is always a tough sell," said John Barrett, Director of Research, Parks Associates.

"Most subscribers must pay additional money to watch video and mobile TV services, even once they have purchased an appropriate phone. This circumstance presents an obvious chicken-and-egg obstacle to adoption. Many consumers are hesitant to pay for a new, unfamiliar service, but they will remain unfamiliar with the service until they or someone they know uses it."

And there's the problem, apparently there's minimal interest. The report predicts operators may overcome this challenge by offering more programming at no cost.

"A free taste would go a long way in making the consumer case for mobile TV," he said. "Mobile TV services have taken off in Japan and South Korea, where service is offered free of charge. In Italy, where additional fees have been the norm, usage has been limited. It's in everyone's interest to offer some free programming."