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Challenges Forecasting the Mobile TV Niche

Mediaweek reports that the number of mobile phone owners who watch video on their phones -- currently a very small group of early adopters -- promises to ramp up quickly over the next several years, according to a new report from researcher eMarketer. Still, premium mobile video services will remain a niche market.

While video on mobile phones is enjoying healthy usage worldwide, only three million U.S. users will watch any sort of video on their phones in 2006, says the report. Paid services that deliver premium video clips or live TV have only been adopted by between 300,000 and 400,000 users.

But by 2009, 36 million users will be watching video on their phones, according to eMarketer. Yet while video gains in popularity, the number of users willing to subscribe to paid premiums services will remain less than 10 million.

Those uncertain growth projections present a challenge to marketers, who are trying to figure out just how big of a deal mobile video will be. Moreover, what are the likely profitable business models -- where a viable niche will be sustainable?

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